Today we visited CIMA hospital in San Jose. This is the high end private hospital in Costa Rica. Costa Rica used national public health care system called CCSS. Compare to all the other health care facilities we see in Costa Rica, this hospital is a big contrast. Since most of the public health care facilities are free to public, the waiting time is a lot longer and service level is not as good in the public sectors.
CIMA hospital is one of the 3 private hospitals in Costa Rica. It’s established in 2000. It’s operated by International Hospital Corporation, headquartered in Dallas. It has other medical facilities located in Brazil and Mexico.
The CIMA CEO Arden Bennett, having 30-years experience in health care, gave us a brief introduction on CIMA today. Through the video, presentation and Q&A session, we learned a lot about CIMA and health care conditions in Costa Rica. Below is some new information we learned today.
- CIMA is a general hospital with a lot of specialists, who are good at surgical areas
- CIMA started to focus on the quality of service for 6 years
- CIMA still uses mostly manual record, though it would like to go to electronic records in the future
- The nurse salary in CIMA is only about $1000/month, which is a lot lower than US, but is quite decent in Costa Rica
- CIMA is undergoing remodeling, thus to gain more competitive advantages over other two private hospitals in Costa Rica
- CIMA received about 30% of foreign patients
- CIMA’s cost is about 30% cheaper than US
- CIMA receives similar profit margin as US hospitals
- 30% of CIMA’s revenue is paid by insurance, while another 70% is paid by patient directly
- CIMA has 100 patient beds
- CIMA is governed by Costa Rica ministry of health as well
CEO Arden also informed us about the CIMA’s future direction and focus listed as below.
- Further improve technology, such as buying more advanced equipments
- To work on more complex patient and surgeries
- To establish a new hospital in Liberia, where the other international airport locates
- Maintain both local and international growth
- Encourage more finance on the surgery to make it more affordable
After the informative session with the CEO, we did a hospital tour. The tour is a very intuitive and helped us to better understand the different levels in Costa Rica’s health care system. The overall impression we had on CIMA during the tour is very nice. CIMA is conveniently located in a valley, which has Marriot next to it and very close to a nice shopping plaza. The view for certain CIMA rooms are very nice and it might be easier for patients’ family to find parking space. We also saw the patient room, which seems to be as friendly as those in US hospitals. In contrast, people in public hospital might have to share beds due to the supply and demand imbalance. CIMA maintained a good practice of keep patient’s record private as well. And CIMA has a lot of advanced medical equipment as well.
Overall, CIMA is a very impressive hospital and it’s similar to US hospitals. From the visit, we gained a better understanding of how private hospital plays a role in Costa Rica’s health system.