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Healthcare in Mexico…my labwork

Dave at the mighty cascada near Cusarare...Yosemite dejavu

I am 60 now and regular lab work and checkups are recommended. Problem is I live in the US, we are not below the poverty level, and we are uninsurable. So since I regularly  take groups to Mexico, I decided to try getting this essential work done down there.

So one day I was at my dentists office (I will write later about this interesting and excellent  series of visits to get my teeth worked on). I asked Juan the dentist if he knew of a good physician, explaining that I needed a checkup. He smiled and looked up the number of Dr Ochoa, and I asked if he thought I could get in today. He called and in 20 minutes I was sitting in the office of the doctor.

His exam of me (as with all medical and dental care I have experienced in Mexico) was professional, complete, patient centered, and inexpensive- I should say inexpensive by US standards. He asked questions, listened, understood….a very good experience.

He ordered lab work which I got done a few weeks later when I was back in Mexico. The lab was a modest facility, and the waiting room was crowded when I arrived. Everyone greeted me with a “Buenos dias!” as I entered, and though the room was crowded, people were getting in and things were moving along.

As I waited I met several people including a gentleman who gave me his card. He was a rep/ facilitator for people who have a card which gives the poor and elderly free care. I discovered that he was there circulating in the room to be sure people’s questions were answered and that their needs were being met. I was amazed- like can you get a straight answer from Medicare in this country or get anything without a confusing long call and lots of menus to navigate? And what the Mexicans have is a rep in the waiting room of the clinic to be sure people’s needs are met.

So I get into the lab and there is no waiting. No waiting. This is just a small lab/clinic but instantly a nurse moves the various procedures along. A doctor appears and quickly expedites some heart related tests and questions. I am in and out of X-ray and before I know it I am back in the waiting room ready to pay my bill- which is a little under $200…$178 I think it was. (I paid for this sort of routine in the US several years ago- I believe it was app $1,200). As I wait in a short line to pay, the Mexicans signal me to the front- I only have a short transaction and gracious courtesy is usual to experience.

Tell me what is wrong with this Mexico system. Is this even close to what we experience in the US? Why, if we are going to have a for profit system going related to health care (I am beginning to see this as oxymoronic and immoral), why don’t they truly compete and why haven’t standard aspects of health practice been commoditized- why can’t it be done at Wal-Mart? Seems like it might be better and cheaper. 

I don’t really have a financial choice but to get regular check ups done in Mexico- and I don’t regret this in any way.

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