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Iván Eskildsen of Cubitá Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Rendering of the polyclinic in Chitre Panama where Dr. Ramirez will be practicing – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best infrastructure for healthcare in the country of Panama is in Panama City. They have very high quality clinics and hospitals.
 
Once you leave Panama City, there are also good quality hospitals where you can go. There are also some clinics, which are very close to the city center.
 
In Chitré, where I live, we have a few private clinics and there is a public hospital that was built a few years ago. They have state of the art technology and a very good hospital infrastructure. If you live in Chitré, and say, for example, you had a heart attack or a stroke, there is an emergency number similar to 911 in the US that you could call and they respond to emergencies very quickly. We have hospitals very close by.
 
One of the interesting things about Chitré is that it is a smaller city, so there are no traffic jams that could cause you delay in case you have an emergency. We have very experienced doctors here in Chitré and overall, I feel safe with the health standards here in Chitré. They offer First World healthcare and they can attend to most health issues that you may have.
 
If you have anything more serious or complicated, you could also definitely go to a specialist in Panama City, which is about 35 minutes away by plane or around 3 hours away by car.
 
(Rendering of the future polyclinic in Chitre, Panama, pictured.)
Melissa Darnay of Choose Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
outside of Panama City, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe medical centers in and near Panama City are exceptional. The further you get from a large city or town in the country of Panama, the further it will be to the nearest medical facility. That’s the same anywhere, whether you live in the US, in Europe, or in Panama.
 
I live on the beach about 15 minutes outside of Panama City. Earlier this week, I had chest pain and numbness in my left arm and I was really convinced I was having a heart attack. I went to a little medical clinic about 15 minutes away, which would be similar to an urgent care clinic in the US, where I was seen within 30 seconds.
 
Within an hour, I had been completely tested, checked out, including my oxygen level, pulse, and blood pressure (not just blood pressure and pulse) and even had an EKG done. It turned out I had a pinched nerve from a car accident, a little fender-bender, and it was nothing. They saw me, treated me, provided competent medical care, spoke English, and the entire bill was US $60, out of pocket, with no insurance.
 
I was very happy to know that if I ever do need that type of medical care or if I have a friend who has a heart attack, that type of care is available.
 
(Sunset on the Playa Bonita beach, fifteen minutes outside of Panama City, Panama, pictured.)
MANUEL GRANADOS  of MEDICAL SERVICE PANAMA, S.A. (MS PANAMA, S.A.) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Hospital Chiriqui, David Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe hospitals in Panama are state-of-the-art and keep the same standards as in the US. Most of the hospitals here are also certified by the Joint Commission, which is the international association that makes all the hospitals keep the same standards or levels. The hospitals here in Panama provide the same quality as in North America, but cheaper.
 
One of the comments that I always hear from my clients is that they always are surprised by how they are treated by the doctors in the hospitals here. My clients say they never expected the kind of care they received.  Here in Panama, the care is more personal. My clients even get calls from the doctors.  You don’t get that kind of service in the United States.
 
(Logo for Hospital Chiriqui in David, Panama near Boquete, pictured.)
Bill Hamilton of Bill Hamilton – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The medical centers and hospitals in Panama City are good. There’s Johns Hopkins, where the physicians are American-trained. Most of them, I think, are trained in Miami. There are some misconceptions about the healthcare here in Panama, which I think is unfair, because even the local doctors in the countryside are excellent.
 
I’ll give you an example. My wife Mieke got knocked over by the dog and she broke the main bone in her wrist and had two fractures. We took her to the Social Security hospital in Agua Dulce.  (The Social Security hospitals are the public hospitals run by the government of Panama and are generally not thought of as well as the many private hospitals in the country.)  They took her in, kept her overnight, operated the next morning to put in three pins in her wrist. Then two days later, she got out with a cast, and did not suffer pain. She went back fifteen days later and they took the pins out. She has another appointment next month. Everything cost a grand sum of $107.
 
There’s one very important thing that I have to remind people. The main reason people are frightened to go to public hospitals is because they haven’t learned the language. Hospital staff don’t speak English there, so you have got to be pretty good in Spanish or have an interpreter. We lived in Spain for so long that we got used to it. We always go to the public hospital because it has the finest treatment you will ever see and better treatment than private treatment sometimes. The people are lovely, and the hospital has wonderful, nice and friendly people. The process may be a little bit slow, and you have to be patient, but they get the job done properly.
 
I was quoted $600 a month for medical insurance for my age. There’s no way I could afford that for myself and Mieke, so we just go to the public hospital and pay out of pocket.  Why would I pay $600 for insurance monthly when I can have all this done for US $107 without insurance?
 
My Agua Dulce experience and my general experiences in going to the Social Security hospitals in Panama is equivalent to what I experienced in Spain.
Gonzalo de la Guardia of Panasurance – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Clinica Hospital San Fernando, Panama City, Panana – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Panama City, there are about four or five private hospitals which are well within a 20 minute drive away from each other. Some of them even have connections with US institutions, as is the case of the Punta Pacifica Hospital and the San Fernando Hospital. Punta Pacifica is related to Johns Hopkins and San Fernando is related to Cleveland Clinic in the US. All of the hospitals in Panama City are good and all of their facilities are well maintained.
 
The hospitals here in Panama City are very comparable to the hospitals in Seattle, Washington where I used to live, unless there is a very special circumstance. For example, if you have a very rare case of cancer for which there are not as many good specialists in Panama, in my opinion, you would be better off going to a US facility where doctors attend to those diseases several times a month, and therefore, they are more experienced dealing with that cancer.
 
So for certain sensitive and unusual cases of cancers, etc., a hospital like the Anderson Hospital in Texas would be more suitable because of the expertise they have for handling those specific diseases. But 95% of  the other medical conditions, you would better get treatment  in Panama because of the access to the doctors and the care at the hospitals here.
 
If you are outside Panama City, you will find fewer hospitals. There is a hospital in David, which is the provincial capital of Panama, and you will find some hospitals in other big towns. If you are in Penonomé and you have a serious condition, you can have primary or emergency care over there, but my suggestion is for you to get an ambulance and go to Panama City.
 
(Clinica Hospital San Fernando, Panama City, Panana, pictured. )
Terry Bradford of Origen Real Estate Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Hospital in Panama Centro Medico Paitilla – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are medical clinics all over Panama City. I used to go to a clinic in the Amador Causeway when we were still residing there. One time I needed prescription and we went there. It cost me only US $11 to see the doctor. Then we went to the pharmacy next door to buy the medicines. It did not take me over an hour to do all that.

Medical clinics and hospitals are pretty close by, and they are very, very good.

Sieg Pedde of Helix Courier Limited – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I believe that the medical centers, hospitals and health clinics in Panama are at par with Canada, where I come from. I know some people who have had some rather serious medical procedures done in Panama, specifically in the city of David and they were very happy about the services they received. The hospitals in Panama have a lot of same equipment that is also available in North America at a much lower cost.
 
In Panama’s hospitals, you can either pay as you go or you can get medical insurance which is much cheaper than anything you’ll likely ever get in the United States, especially now with the introduction of the ObamaCare.
 
When we talk about the delivery of medical care, it’s much faster in Panama than in Canada. Because we have socialized medicine in Canada, a lot of procedures in Canada take months and even a year or two before you can get a procedure done. Based on my own experience, I waited in an emergency department at a local hospital in Canada for 7-8 hours just to get some sort of attention. If you are in Panama, that will not happen for sure.
Roger J. Pentecost of Boquete Valley of Flowers Condos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
My wife was recently diagnosed with a very seriousPaitilla Medical Center Hospital Panama City Panama operating room – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living illness.  We live in Boquete, so we could have had the surgery done in David (the next closest large city to Boquete).  However, we chose instead to go to Hospital Paitilla, in Panama City, where we could use the services of Dr. Fabrega, who was head of his specialty of surgery for 16 years at Sloan Kettering in the US, and looked upon as a world expert.  (There are three or four other good hospitals in Panama City as well.)
 
The level of hygiene and privacy in the hospital in Paitilla amazed me at how good it was.  I can happily report that my wife had very successful surgery and treatments at Hospital Paitilla from a band of world trained and recognized top medical specialists who all spent large chunks of their career in many cases in the US, or in some of the other leading countries in their specialties.
 
In Panama City, the hospitals were very well equipped.  A medical colleague of my son’s, who went through medical school with him and is also a surgeon in Vancouver, British Columbia, said that my wife would not have been treated any better in Vancouver, and that, in Panama, she was treated far quicker than she would have been in Canada.  My wife got treatment “next day”.  In Panama, my wife got all her tests done as absolutely quickly as they could be done.
 
My wife had a private room where I could have slept as well.
 
You can’t believe the modern equipment and techniques they have in Panama City and how fast and efficient the service is.
Shai Gold of International-Triage Medical Networks – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Medical treatment in Panama is good.  However one should keep the following in mind:
 
1. Rural hospitals and clinics in Panama have very limited capabilities.
 
2. The capital region around Panama City has an abundance of specialists and excellent facilities.  At the same time, NOT all hospitals and doctors are "created equally".  Some are excellent, some are average and some hospitals are to be avoided.  For example, our network includes some 200 of the top doctors and the following hospitals: Punta Pacifica, Centro Medico Paitilla, Hospital-Clinica San Fernando, Cuatro Altos Hospital in Colon; and my favorite for critical care cases: Santo Tomas Hospital.   
 
3.  Cancer care in Panama is VERY GOOD and quite affordable in the private sector.  Most Panamanian cancer patients get advanced cancer treatment at the National Oncology Institute.
 
4. It is important to note that many doctors in Panama City who are in private practice work the morning shift at public hospitals.  This ensures that professional skills are attained and maintained through volume practice in the public sector.   
 
5. While 911 service has made big advances in recent years, if you live in Panama-City, I recommend having a subscription to a private ambulance service.  SEMM is the largest company.  For US $10 per month one gets priority ambulance service, at no additional charge, PLUS added value services such as home doc visit and administration of IV and injectable medications.  Our network is very pleased with SEMM.
 
6. As an example of the quality of care in Panama, our provider network in Panama has demonstrated CONSISTENTLY good outcomes, on-par with the best hospitals in Miami.  This includes complex cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, cancer treatment, orthopedic surgery, urologic surgery, medical intensive care and burn critical care.  Newly available treatment capabilities include stem cell therapy; PET scan, non-invasive radio-surgery, 256 slice CT.  
 
Enjoy Panama and MAY YOU NEVER need my services.
 
 
Marla Diaz of United Country Panama Coastal Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Patient in a hospital in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI have first hand experience with the medical centers and hospitals here in Panama and I have only positive things to say about them.
 
I was living in Panama less than 6 months when an accident had me in need of an emergency back surgery.  Being an American I knew very little Spanish and was really worried about my ability to communicate my needs in this critical situation.  I was so surprised that every one of my doctors spoke great English.  I would say that about 50% of the nurses spoke English, but there always seemed to be a nurse on duty eho did speak English when my Spanish fell short.
 
The hospitals had state of the art equipment.  I felt very well taken care of and had an extremely positive experience in a very stressful situation.  There are several large hospitals to choose from in Panama.  Some are close together and others are spread out.  There is also a new state of the art clinic in Coronado that offers office days with specialist doctors eho travel from the Panama City once a week.
Roberto Diaz of United Country Panama Coastal Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The medical centers, hospitals and health clinics in Panama are good and close.  When I moved my family to Panama three years ago, my wife, who has had chronic back issues for several years, had an accident.  Her back condition quickly deteriorated and it became so severe that she lost feeling in her legs.  We saw several doctors for different opinions, exactly like you would anywhere. Then we were recommended a neurosurgeon in Punta Paitilla Hospital named Carlos Briceno S. and he was amazing!  He didn't have any appointments available but when he heard of my wife's symptoms through his secretary he called us back and asked us to come in.  
 
He gave her at least an hour of his time to make sure he heard everything that my wife had to say about what she had been through. In all my 26 years of living abroad in the US, Spain, Sweden and Venezuela, I have never encountered a doctor who listened the way this doctor did.  He gave my wife some options and we opted for surgery.  My wife did not speak a lick of Spanish and she was very concerned about having a major back surgery, the removal of a bulging disc from her column, abroad.  The experience was amazing. Everyone was very competent.  The operating rooms at Punta Paitilla were busy and so we went to the hospital associated with John Hopkin's in the US.  
 
My wife is now feeling much better!
 
I think it is also worth mentioning that the same operation in North America would have cost us 10 times as much in co-payments with any insurance company.  Our co-payments here were very manageable.
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Medical service in Panamá
 
A great 30 days free medical plan is offered to visitors upon their  arrival. Panamá is the only country in the world with this service, courtesy of the Tourism Authority.  It covers everything from in-house / hotel calls, to hospital emergency coverage, should it be needed, with bilingual professionals.  The brochure should be requested upon arrival at the airport.
 
As for residents, there are two different medical services: state and private.  
 
State Medical Services
 
State Medical Services are divided into two parts:  The general Public Health and the Social Security.
  • Public Health is available to everyone, including visitors.  The main hospital for public health in Panamá City is Santo Tomas (St. Thomas), which has one of the best trauma centers in the region.  Of course, it does not offer the the same types of facilities or have the same types of well groomed-buildings as private hospitals, but it is a great hospital, with ridiculously low prices, but the waiting time is much longer than it is in private hospitals, unless there is a real emergency.   Most doctors are the same as in private practice, and Santo Tomas is a medical school hospital.  Services at Santo Tomas are available to locals and visitors.
  • The Social Security is reserved for Panamanians, either working or retirees, and their service is sometimes delayed, because thousands of people are seeking it. Social Security includes medical, hospital and medications, all free of charge. It´s socialized medicine.  This an additional service to private industry workers, who also enjoy private insurance.
Private Practice Medical Services
 
Private practice medical service in Panamá has thousands of MD´s and all kinds of specialists, hospitals and different clinics, in any imaginable field.  The wait for an appointment in a private practice takes exactly the same time as in any other country; from one to 7 days, and prices for an office visit varies from $25 to $175.  The cost for treatments and surgeries is much less than in G-8 countries.
 
[Editor’s note: According to a press release August 1, 2014, the Panama Authority of Tourism stated that no charge tourist insurance coverage is no longer being offered.]
GISELLE SOCARRAZ of Real Estate Chiriqui – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The same rules apply in Panama as anywhere else: cities tend to have more access to more medical resources than rural area.
 
Speaking for Chiriqui, we have a incredible variety of hospitals, clinics, and specialists.
 
This includes the world renowned Mae Lewis Medical Center, which is home to several of the best doctors in all of Central America (one of which makes some of the best Guacamole Dip in all of Central America).
 
In any  major city, you can't go more than a few kilometers without tripping over a medical center.
Anne Gordon de Barrigón of Whale Watching Panama/Emberá Village Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The Medical centers, hospitals and health clinics are generally quite good.  There are some exceptions.  A good general rule is the more remote the health clinic or hospital, the less well equipped, experienced and knowledgeable they are.  In and around Panama city there are some excellent private hospitals, such as Hospital Nacional, Paitilla and Punta Pacifica are all great. Most of the doctors speak English and many were educated in the US, Europe or abroad.  Note:  the majority of nurses, therapists, technicians and receptionists do not speak English.   The cost in these hospitals is generally 1/3 to 1/2 of what you will pay in the US.   
 
I personally, had the misfortune to become very ill and in a coma and went to Hospital Nacional and they were excellent.  In fact my sister, who is a Dr. in the US told me that the doctors in Panama did everything exactly the same that would have been done in the US.  The huge difference is the level of genuine care from the doctors, nurses and therapists.  My doctor was in my room 4-5 times a day for 15-30 minutes at a time 7 days a week!  I have found the medical staff genuinely care about you as a patient here.  It is not uncommon for your doctor to give you his personal cell phone number!
 
There are also many private clinics that are quite good and quite inexpensive.  A routine check on something can cost as low as $15-20!
 
There is a socialized medical system here in Panama that mainly the poor population uses and it is not as good and often very long waits to be seen.  Not because of less qualified staff, but because of not enough staff to handle the numbers of patients.  In fact, all new doctors in Panama are required to work for the public health care system for a few years before they may enter private practice.

There are some very good clinics and hospitals outside of the city, such as the clinic in Coronado and the hospital in David.
 

If you're interested in How Good Are The Hospitals in other places, look here...

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