La Sistema de Salud de Costa Rica (Brief summary!)

Hola todos! I am here to provide you with a quick look into the healthcare system of Costa Rica. I am still new to the country and am still learning more about the healthcare system so I am in no way an expert! But, from what I can gather from the first two weeks of classes where we are learning about the healthcare system, it is a universal healthcare system that allows its citizens to have private health insurance if they want. There is a ministry of health which dictates health policy of the entire country.  Then it breaks down into national hospitals, then regional hospitals, then health areas, EBAIS’S and EVP visit posts. The national hospitals handle the more specialized cases and emergencies, and the regional hospitals handle less specialities and less dire emergencies, and so on and so forth until the EVP visit posts. An EBAIS stands for Equipo básico atención integral en salud, or Basic Comprehensive Health Care Team. On these teams, there is a doctor, a nurse, a medical record assistant and an ATAP (Medical Technician). An EBAIS is an office in the community which normally services about 3000-5000 members of the community. They also visit houses in the community that may not have access to come into the EBAIS offices for physicals or treatment as frequently as they should. There are about 1000 EBAIS in the country, but you must go to the one you are assigned. They basically conduct health censuses to understand the health of each member of the house and recommend treatment, distribute vaccines, or recommend certain tests or scans be run. It mostly functions in the primary part of healthcare meaning it focuses on prevention, promotion, and education. The regional hospitals handle more secondary care like health centers, OBGYN, Small surgeries and pediatrics. And tertiary care like all specialities and dire emergencies are handled at national hospitals. Wait also real quick, my group and I have finally received our lab coats, so here is a quick picture of us outside the hospital before our Clinical Rotations! What a fantastic experience!

My friends and I in the Clinical Rotations program!

Health insurance is guaranteed by the government, as it was added to the constitution in the 1940. The CCSS (Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (Social Security basically but kind of different)) was formed and it is the largest insurer/ healthcare provider. They provide access to all the public health areas for the residents of Costa Rica. This care is good, but the waiting can be very long for basic needs like checkups or certain scans, but I’m not 100% sure about that. However, if a citizen wants to use private healthcare, the government will not help them fund it. At the same time, they will more likely to be seen as frequently as needed for illnesses, so it kind of is similar to the American Healthcare system.  That’s a very brief summary of the healthcare system, but as I learn new things I will put them in future blogs to update y’all! I like this healthcare system as only like 10% of Costa Ricans don’t have access to healthcare compared to the United States which is like, 20%. If we adapted our healthcare system similarly, I think would become an unstoppable force in more aspects! Adios!

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