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by Martin Rice
Author of “At home in Costa Rica.”: ISBN: 1413460283

Just got a really rude awakening that I thought I might share with you, given the fact that there's been quite a bit of discussion about medical care here lately.

Robin and I went to the States for two weeks over Christmas. While there, I had to go to the emergency room in Knoxville, TN where we were visiting family. The hospital, Baptist Hospital, West, is a brand new (1 1/2 years) super impressive place. They took great care of me in the emergency room -- all the speedy intense care you would expect with chest pains. The reason it was a bit more scary than it might have been is that just three months ago I had an angioplasty here at CIMA.

After they saw that I was doing OK and all the signs were on the money, they said that I had to have a stress test. The kind of stress test I get is a chemical one in the Department of Nuclear Medicine. I had one at CIMA before the angioplasty. It's this that tells them whether you need to have the angioplasty done. Here comes the first cost comparison: The doctor said that based on the results of the stress test, they'd decide whether I'd need another angioplasty. I told him that if all possible I'd prefer to go back to CR to have it done because there it cost me about $13,000 in total and I figured in the States it'd be about $25,000. He laughed and said "more like $40,000 or $50,000!" Now THAT almost gave me a heart attack.

At any rate, the results of the stress test were great and I didn't need anything else at all. When the doctor told me that, he said that I'd be able to leave right then. At this point I had spent a night at the hospital and about a total of 24 hours.

That same stress test at CIMA cost me $750. There was also some compleblood work done which was another $150. I did it on an out-patient basis, but I know that a nice room at CIMA, with a sitting room attached is about $150 per night. No emergency care, but, again from experience there, I'd estimate that what I had done at the ER in the States would have been about $1,000 to $1,500. So a total of about $2,550.00. What was the bill at the hospital in the United States? $8,000! One night in the hospital and no operation or any other kind of invasive procedure. Is that sick or what? Talk about a broken system. So when people talk about the high cost of private medicine here and at hospitals such as CIMA, remember all is relative, extremely relative.

Anyway, I'm doing just great now and feel fine.

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Acknowledgments

Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus. These are the only retirement tours that are:

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* All tours are led personally by Christopher Howard, the author of 17 editions of the #1 perennial bestseller "New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica — the official guide to relocation." Christopher has lived in Costa Rica for34 years and is Costa Rican citizen. Absolutely nobody has his proven expertise, connections or time-tested credibility.

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