I have always found it amazing what many foreigners think Costa Rica is really like. The views on health care have also entertained me and I am hoping that this little article will shed some light on the medical care in this country.
When I found out that my husband and I were expecting, I was overjoyed. I had no qualms of having a child here and looking forward to being a new mom. Of course, I had no expectations – since I had no children, so everything was a new experience.
Even though we live closer to Liberia than San Jose, I decided to have our child at Hospital CIMA San Jose, since my parents happen to live in the Central Valley and we wanted to be closer to them at that time. CIMA has a great reputation and has many bilingual doctors and nurses, so I figured it was a perfect fit.
CIMA is also affiliated with Baylor Medical Center in the USA. It’s as modern as a US hospital… but you are treated better! CIMA is located in Escazu, a popular area for ex-pats, and a more suburban area that San Jose central.
The hospital is currently expanding (as a new wing is under construction). My OB/GYN happens to have her offices in CIMA (Dra. Sae-Hui Kim Park, (506) 2208-1210. CIMA, 2nd Floor, Consultario #10), which made it very convenient for us. I actually also worked from my hospital bed (I know what you are thinking here…) because there was a free WIFI connection at the hospital.
I had medical insurance in Costa Rica, but had to pay cash for the birth since I had a pre-existing condition clause. Even having to pay cash, having a child here was very affordable. Our out-of-pocket expenses were about $2,500.
That covered two days in the hospital, in a suite, all the doctors and hospital fees, plus daily ‘room service’. The doctors fees were $1,200 and the hospital fees were $600. The additional charges were for room charges, extra night, and other miscellaneous items.
The attention from the nurses and doctors was top notch. Everyone was so friendly and truly had your best interests at heart. Our day went something like this:
- December 27th 2007 at 7am: Check in to hospital at registration desk at (you can pre-register beforehand to save time). I was required to put down a $1,500 deposit with a credit card or cash. If your bills are below the $1,500 deposit, you will be credited that when you check out of the hospital.
- 8am: Personal escort (nurse) up to room on the 2nd floor (maternity area). Tour of area, room instructions.
- 9am: Induction with a pitocin drip (this was scheduled per my doctor’s advice). I was monitored every hour until 5 PM. I was making no progress, so…
- 5pm: Water was artificially ruptured by my doctor. That’s when the real pain began!
- 10pm: Pain relief arrived in the operating room via a spinal block. The doctors had tried twice, unsuccessfully, to get an epidural catheter in my back.
- 2:25am: December 28th 2007, the birth of our son, Kian Zachary Clower, who weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs 4 oz, 20.5 inches long.
We checked out on December 29th 2007 and stayed in San Jose for an additional ten days until we headed back to the beach where we reside.
All in all, I can definitely give two thumbs up to Hospital CIMA if you plan on having a child in this country. Both, my husband and I, found the hospital to be very accommodating and very helpful for first time parents!
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