The most impressive feature I noted today was the environment of the health care facilities – especially the Hospital National de Niños. Upon exiting the bus, I was greeted by the strangest harmony of smiles and stern security. When we passed through the front door, I felt the Costan Rican stigma of compassion and positivity. From that point, I was sold – that this was one of the premier health care facilities in the world. As we continued the tour, I contemplated the effects of the open-air setting, ambitions staff (headed by r. Orland Urraz) and positive ecosystem on patient care and – more specifically recovery/ rehabilitation. I firmly believe (through first and second hand experience) that recovery depends both on time/ treatment and appropriate mindset. Though the individual has limited effect on time and treatment, the self has the ability to influence his/ her attitude and ambition. This desire to improve is better facilitated in a warm, inspiring surrounding within a strong supporting foundation from loved ones. The fact that this establishment has managed to implement all of the aspects allowed me to believe the prestige with ease. With the addition of fresh air and ample natural lighting, it is no surprise how successfully this hospital has become. I believe that if the American health care system could adopt some of the features of this facility (in the right circumstances) our patient care and recovery would see moderate improvements.
The most significant thing that I learned a lot about today was the second location we visited. The Women’s Hospital was really incredible because it had many sectors and programs in place to increase the quality of life of both the Costa Rican mothers and their newborns. Firstly, similar to Japan, Costa Rican health providers encourage their patients who are new mothers to stay together with their newborns. This includes the mother sleeping with the baby to make sure the baby is secure overnight. Secondly, the hospital has established a milk bank to ensure that the newborns receive proper nourishment. Thirdly, the hospital has a breastfeeding clinic. These clinics prove to be the most important because they are educational programs for new mothers specifically set up so that they can feed their newborns safely and effectively. These factors together heavily attribute to Costa Rica’s low infant mortality rate and mother mortality rate. Furthermore, birth control is provided for free keeping the Costa Rican teen pregnancy rate low as well; however, because of a strong sense of religion abortion is not administered.
What interested me most about today was the emphasis that Costa Rica puts on primary care. With prevention and primary care categorized as the first level of care, many people do not need to use the second or third level of care, which are the general and special hospital services. I find it interesting that healthcare workers of the first level go to homes to educate and ensure that people are taking care of their health. Citizens in this country pay 9% income tax in order to receive these kinds of services. I am surprised that an idea such as this was implemented because this is a relatively high income tax and approaching people at their homes would be a potential privacy issue in the U.S.
One issue in the U.S. is that a small percentage of people use the most costly healthcare services, specifically, a portion of Medicare patients. One question that I have is if Costa Rica had the same issue especially since much of their healthcare services is for preventive care. I also expect uncompensated care to be an issue because 14.5% of people are uninsured, as we learned at the Ministry of Public Health. I’m interested in learning the financial issues of this healthcare system.
Our 2014 group of 15 students arrived and we are looking forward to visiting two hospitals today and meeting with an administrator at the Ministry of Health.
HPA 401, Comparative Health Systems, will again offer an embedded program to Costa Rica in 2015. The dates for travel are Sunday, Nov. 29th – Sunday, Dec. 6th 2015. If you wish to participate in this trip please enroll in HPA 401 as soon as possible.
On this trip, students will learn how health care is delivered in Costa Rica. Students will have a chance to meet with policy makers, physicians and other providers of care, as well as administrators in an effort to learn how Costa Rica is able to achieve impressive health outcomes. The Learning Objective for this embedded program is for students to analyze the information obtained on the trip and effectively present it back to the class upon return to the United States. Applications for the 2015 trip are now being accepted. Please deposit them in Celeste Newcomb’s mail box in the Keller Building.
Welcome to the 2014 HPA 401 Embedded Program to Costa Rica web site. On this trip, students will learn how health care is delivered in Costa Rica. Students will have a chance to meet with policy makers, physicians and other providers of care, as well as administrators in an effort to learn how Costa Rica is able to achieve impressive health outcomes. The Learning Objective for this embedded program is for students to analyze the information obtained on the trip and effectively present it back to the class upon return to the United States. Applications for the trip are now being accepted. Please deposit them in Celeste Newcomb’s mail box in the Keller Building. As of Sept 1, 2014 we still have room to accommodate a few more students. We have added a one credit version of this course to allow more students to go on the trip. If you are interested in going on the trip, but not in the class please contact Celeste Newcomb at email@example.com.