Costa Rica Medical Tourism: Interview with Dr. Jim Dudl (Part 2)
- by crv.staff
- 1:09 PM UTC
In our previous post, we began an interview with Dr. Jim Dudl, the Consultant for Diabetes for the 600,000 diabetic members at Kaiser Permanente national. Dr. Dudl also serves as the Chief Medical Officer for La Joya Perfecta. He talked about the Joint Commission International that review hospitals, both in the US and in Costa Rica.
Q. Well, lets talk about that specifically because the impression, first picture that a lot of people get in their minds when they think a hospital outside the US, in a third world country is not one of a very high quality hospital, that you might find in, say Beverly Hills, CA. What is your aesthetic impression of the hospital when you were down visiting?
A: Well, I have been in a lot of hospitals in the US. And these, the lesser of the two, was above average. Everything was clean, everything was organized, was orderly, procedures were being carried out in a systematic fashion. It was very impressive. And the better of the two hospitals is brand new. When you walk in, it is probably newer than 90% hospitals of the US hospitals. All the equipment is new, everything in the place is new, and it is as pretty as you could ever ask for.
Q: Would it be fair to say that it is as nice as the nicest hospitals in the US?
A: The second one was as nice but much nicer than most of them but the first one was above average compared to the US.
Q: So, talk a little bit about, during your trip, what services did you ask about and what were some of the outcomes of your visit?
A: Well, we talked to them about what people usually use in the way of their services and it starts with Plastic surgery. There are a lot of people who are born with a defect that they do not like and wished to have that changed. I was impressed that they have the full range of plastic procedures that I think anyone would normally be interested in having done in the way of face lifts, body shaping of one type or another, etc. But it goes beyond that.
The second thing we talked about was the bariatric surgery or stomach surgery for people that are obese. That is a well-known benefit that is not often covered by health insurance in the US. They offer the full range of bariatric procedures, from the Banded to the Roux-en-Y to several others, and again their outcomes are excellent. One important aspect of course, with that kind of surgery is that afterwards you get advice on how to eat and exercise differently and of course, that’s the kind of thing that over a month or more we could provide at La Joya Perfecta, as a follow up, since most people do not stay in the hospital after the first few days.
Q: We talked about bariatric surgery, plastic surgery. What other kinds of procedures are people traveling all the way to Costa Rica to receive?
A: Orthopedic procedures like knee and hip replacements. They are often not covered, they can be very expensive.
Q: When you say they (orthopedic procedures) are often not covered, you mean by insurance in the US?
A: That’s right. They are not always covered by the insurance in the US. And they can certainly be a $20,000 item. And the last piece we haven’t talked about, but is very important to most people, is often these procedures are about half price compared to that of the US. And that given the safety, the quality and the service, makes this a very attractive package.
The last thing I didn’t talk about yet because it is not an in-patient procedure, is dental. But dental now, with dental implants costing about $1000 a piece, etc, can also be a reason to have a trip down there totally free and get your dental procedures done. We toured a lab and office that was every bit as good or better that what I have seen in the US. Also they do their own dental enamel work right on site so they can have the whole procedure turned around in 24 to 48 hrs, something in excess of what we usually see in the US.
In the next portion of our interview with Dr. Dudl, we’ll ask him about how he would counsel a US patient considering visiting Costa Rica for medical procedures.
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