Healthcare should always be at the forefront of our minds, regardless of where we choose to live and for those of us who make our homes abroad, the decision comes with many considerations and challenges.
Healthcare is a major concern for many and the good news is that the public healthcare system in Colombia is available to any resident holding a cedula, the bad news is that it’s not that great.
Many ex-pats opt to buy private health insurance or ‘medicina prepagada’ but often the most convenient route is to just pay out of pocket, what they call ‘particular’. The process to get a general appointment involves a lot of waiting, repetitiveness and is overall pretty inefficient. If you don’t speak Spanish there is an added level of difficulty because while there are many bilingual doctors available, in order to see them you must go through a scheduler or a secretary who likely is not bilingual.
In an attempt to make the process easier, consider the following options.
Clinica de La Costa is a privately owned healthcare facility located at Cra 50 #80-90 with physicians in internal medicine and almost every specialty you can think of. There are many doctors available with varying levels of English as well as a very select few who can communicate in Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, and German.
The hospital is in the process of organizing a special service with a bilingual (native English) coordinator for those needing routine (non-urgent) medical attention with an English speaking physician.
You can send a WhatsApp message in English that includes your name, your contact information, date of birth, the reason for needing an appointment, and any specific preferences, and then simply prepay the consult fee and within 24 hrs an appointment will be arranged for you.
You can find the WhatsApp info as well as a list of departments offering English speakers in our directory here:
Some tips for using this service:
Ø If you have a specific issue and you can get your previous medical records it’s worth it.
Ø If you can send a photo of your ID it’s easier.
Ø Be clear in all your preferences to avoid a lot of back and forth. For example, if you prefer a female doctor or a Tuesday afternoon, be clear. You can check out the hospital at http://clinicadelacosta.co/ to see if your specialty is offered.