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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

The Hospitals and Health Care in Panama

Have you ever had to find a doctor or visit an E.R. while traveling? Last on the list of places we recommend you visit when traveling to Panama is the emergency room or the hospital but knowing where they are, what to expect, and where to go is important information to have and even more important - confidence in.

Part of what makes travel so exciting is its unpredictability. Nobody wants flights to get cancelled or political unrest to happen or…a Pandemic to hit when traveling but we all know, it happens and a wise man (my husband) once told me: “A true test of character is not how well you do when things are going great, it’s how you do when things are going wrong.”

We are all about adventurous experiences for our guests during their stay with us so knowing how to care for their misadventures meant we had to learn how the health care system works before we moved here and, one of the reasons we did.

Of 167 countries ranked, Panama health systems rank 57th. That’s pretty good being in the top 35% of the world health systems. The interior of the country has a wide range of medical care facilities from the most basic clinics to large hospitals as well but the best care facilities are in Panama City.

There are a few different types of medical facilities in Panama: Social Security - which is funded by both employers and employees with major hospitals and small clinics throughout the country. Ministry of Health - who provides low cost health care to the population not covered by Social Security. And private sector health care which offers the highest level of quality care, privacy, and comfort with world class facilities in Panama City.

When traveling in Panama, if you find that you need care in the interior of the country, the small clinics can usually handle some basic health concerns though the public facilities face funding, staffing, and equipment challenges. For more comprehensive care, we recommend the city hospitals where many of the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff speak English making it easy for foreigners to confidently receive quality care in their most vulnerable moments.

Having lived here for several years, Ryan and I have personally experienced the medical care facilities here from basic local clinics to quality private care in the city where Ryan had a major surgery. We can with confidence, say we are quite pleased with the level of care.

Global health insurance is widely accepted here in Panama and it allows for flexibility of traveling to other countries for care if needed. Pretty cool! We hope everyones travels don't lead them to a hospital but if it does, we always recommend travel insurance to our guests for those unpredictable moments while adventuring in Panama.

On our travel page is a recommendation of a reputable travel company as well as a ton of other helpful travel information too. Though we hope you never have to visit these facilities, now you know a bit more about what you can expect and hopefully it helps you feel more confident in choosing Panama as an awesome country to visit or live!

Your Friends in Morrillo,

Cari and Ryan Mackey

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

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