**Due to some unforeseen changes in my itinerary, I can only provide just a brief overview of some of the facilities in Panama City, which falls far short of my usual.**
Centro Medico Paitillo (CMP)
Balboa Ave. and 53rd Street
Founded in 1975, CMP has grown to become the largest private facility, though Punta Pacifica appears to rapidly approaching on their heels. They have several well-established international health insurance programs and the hallways were well populated with English-speaking visitors and patients. The hospital has community outreach and health promotion classes as well as a 64 slice CT scanner, MRI and other diagnostic capabilities.
Website is attractive, and well-designed with English and Spanish versions.
Clinica Hospital San Fernando
Via Espana Las Sabanas
There are two facilities for Hospital San Fernando; a Panama City facility and another facility in Coronado. The Panama city facility is one of two Panamanian facilities accredited by Joint Commission International. This is a private facility designed to entice foreign visitors and upwardly mobile Panamanians.
Website with English language version that includes price quotes for International travelers. Website is well-designed and easy to navigate.
I have not visited or viewed this facility
Hospital Punta Pacifica
Boulevard Pacífica y Vía Punta Darién
Ciudad de Panamá
Webpage with English and Spanish versions, and has been designed for international travellers. However, the overall quality of the website is poor. Information has been poorly laid out and is often mischaracterized. For example, visitors to the site who are seeking information about individual physicians are transferred to a poorly typed resume-style pdf. Physician specialties are mislabeled; with cardiologists listed as surgeons, which may cause confusion for potential patients.
Hospital Punta Pacifica was accredited by Joint Commission International in September of 2011. Hospital Punta Pacifica’s main claim to fame, as it were, is that it is John Hopkins International branded facility. As such, it is aggressively marketed as a medical tourism destination.
It is located in downtown Panama City, just a kilometer from the CMP (Centro Medico Paitilla).
Hospital Santo Tomas
Calle 34 Este y Avenida Balboa
Hospital San Tomas is the oldest public hospital in Panama. Originally started as a small facility for impoverished women in September of 1702, the hospital has grown over the last 300 years to become the largest hospital in the country. The hospital now offers multiple service lines including surgical specialties such as thoracic surgery, plastic surgery and general surgery, among others. The campus includes separate facilities (Maternity hospital, children’s hospital), a blood bank and Cancer center.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Panama – one of the international arms of the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance company, and just one of the many insurances accepted at most Panamanian facilities.
What’s this about free insurance for tourists to Panama?
In one of their more effective (and dramatic) public relations gestures, the Panamanian government widely advertises “Free medical insurance for the visitors”. This catastrophic policy covers all visitors during the first thirty days of their stay for accidents and injuries (up to $7000.00) that may occur during a stay in Panama. Visitors just need to show their passports on arrival to one of the participating medical facilities.
The policy also covers up to $500.00 of dental expenses, and economy class air tickets for return home for family members (in case of a death of a tourist) and repatriation of the deceased. (This may sound like a grisly benefit but from previous discussions with tourists in various locations – this can be quite costly.)
*Just so you know – it doesn’t cover chronic conditions or pregnancy, so visitors can’t come here and expect to have free care for non-emergent problems (ie, elective hip replacement and the like.)