The Health Care System

Colombia has a health care system with a social orientation. I have recently begun to use it under the health insurance from work. So far my impression is positive. I am soon going to have some fairly minor surgery and went for an interview with the surgeon this morning.

He was friendly and interested in medical services I may need beyond the matter at hand. I had taken a test for prostate cancer several weeks ago and had not heard back. He took the time to look it up in the system and told me it came out clean. He also spent about a half hour discussing my health in general and the procedures for the surgery. I came away with the impression that he was interested in my health and did not feel pressure to rush me out the door.

We talked a little about the level of medical services in Medellin. These are generally considered to be among the best in South America. When he was a resident the problems with Pablo Escobar began. This of course led to many grave medical emergencies. He said it was like working on the front lines of a war. His professors and supervising doctors said Ok, get in there and save these lives. He got a lot of experience with really difficult surgeries very early in his career.

He also said that he gets paid about $US 50.00 for the work he will do on me. This is mind boggling when compared to the US system. In general doctors salaries are much lower that in the US. Many are trained and this probably helps to keep down costs. My total cost should be $US 20.00 co pay. The waiting period with be between 20 and 30 days to schedule the surgery.

All-in-all my impression remains favorable. I will report on my impressions and experiences as I continue living here in Medellin.


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