Excellent medical care is definitely one of Panama’s biggest draws for expatriates of all ages, but it is of paramount importance for those looking to retire in Panama. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that Panama’s success as a tourist destination grows exponentially with its advances in medicine, and I hear time and time again how reassuring it is for prospective homeowners to know they will have a high level of care available to them during the time they spend in Panama.
Medical tourism is also fairly popular in Panama, with procedures costing only ¼ of what they would in the US. For example, you can get an MRI for around $500 and a face lift for around $1,700 (hopefully not in the same day).
With all of the talk about health care I thought it might be helpful to do a review of medical facilities available in Panama for those who’d like to know what the options are.
As you’d expect, the majority of Panama’s most renowned hospitals are concentrated in Panama City, where the highly-touted Johns Hopkins medical facility has been an attractive resource for retirees and expats.
The increases in development of Panama’s interior are spurring hospitals to follow suit and make their own additions. Hospital Chiriqui and Mae Lewis Hospital in David have recently undergone renovations and improvements. In 2005 alone, Hospital Chiriqui nearly doubled its staff.
Punta Paitilla Hospital
Mae Lewis Hospital
As a general rule of thumb, if an area has a growing population and vital tourism industry, you’ll find a reliable medical center near by. Destinations that are off-the-beaten-path – like Bocas del Toro and San Blas – have smaller clinics and hospitals, but these areas may not offer accessible, adequate care for those with intensive medical needs. Many people from these areas travel to Panama City and David for their doctor’s appointments.