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«Guide to Medical Care in Mexico by Monica Rix Paxson EMERGENCY PHONE NUMERS ARE AT THE END OF THIS GUIDE Table of Contents Who This Guide is For How ...»

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3rd Edition

The English Speaker’s

Guide to Medical Care

in Mexico

by Monica Rix Paxson



Table of Contents

Who This Guide is For

How This Guide Will Help

The History of Medicine in Mexico

How to Find the Best Medical Practitioners Mexico

The International Nature of Medicine

Expect Differences

More Hands-On Care

Less “Machine Medicine”

Why Are Medical Costs So Low?

You are the Keeper of the Records

The Mexican Health Care System

A Marriage of Public & Private Institutions

A Commitment to Continuous Improvement

Outlining the Public System

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS)

The Red Cross in Mexico

Board Certification & Medical Specialties

A Good Source of Medical Referrals

Medical Specialties

Chiropractics & Homeopathy in Mexico

Embassies & Consulates In Mexico

Getting Referrals & Help from Embassies & Consulates

Consulates are Outside of Mexico City

US, Canadian & UK Consulates in Mexico

The US Embassy Physician List

The Canadian Embassy Physician List

Private Hospitals in Mexico

International Accreditation of Hospitals

JCI Accredited Hospitals in Mexico

Private Hospitals, Location by State & City

Transplant Services

Medical Training in Mexico

Dentistry in Mexico

Pharmacies & Medicines in Mexico

The Quality of Mexican-Manufactured Pharmaceuticals

Advertising & Self Medication

Which Type of Pharmacy Do You Need?

If You Travel to Mexico for Low-Cost Medicines

Expat Groups for Medical Referrals & Social Networking

There Are Times You May Really Need Expat Friends

Social Isolation and Alcoholism

If You Are Hospitalized

All-of Mexico Websites with Social Networking

International Websites with Social Networking

Groups By City or Region

Groups By Nationality or Language

Paying for Health Care in Mexico

Your Health Insurance from Home

Other Medical Insurance Options

Traveler’s Insurance

International Health Insurance

Mexican Health Insurance

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS)

Medicare & Medicaid

Private Clinic Programs & Discount Medical Memberships

Funding Elective Surgery

Medical Evacuation Insurance

The Insurance Grid

Assisted Living & Nursing Home Care

End of Life Issues

Foreign Medical Program for Disabled US Veterans

Medical Tourism

Cost Comparisons, USA & Mexico

Where to Go

Transplantation of Organs, Tissues & Cells

Experimental & Non-Approved Treatments

Fertility Treatments

Fertility Treatment Centers (by State & City)

International Health Support

International Medical Referrals

La Leche League

Advice for Travelers

If You Become Ill While Traveling

Food and Water Safety

Bacterial Contamination

Viral Contamination

Protozoal Contamination

Toxins Causing Food Poisoning

Seafood Poisoning

Disease Risks in Mexico


Chagas’ Disease

Other Diseases of Interest to Travelers


Vaccinations for Mexico

Helpful & Potentially Lifesaving Language Tips

Urgent! You Must Learn This!

Giving Directions

Communicating In Spanish (for the English Speaker)

Important Nouns

Key Verbs

Body Parts

Medical Symptoms

Some Other Useful Language Tools

Coping with Alcoholism in Mexico

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) Meetings in Mexico

Watching for Hidden Alcohol in Mexico

The Dark Side of Mexican Medical Care

Payouts from Hospitals

Churning for Increased Billing

Overly Expensive, Outdated or Unnecessary Surgery

High Rates of Caesarean-Section (C-section) Births

Popular Travel Destinations With Marginal Care

Your Regular Medical Insurance Won’t Be Taken

Safety is Not First in Mexico

There are Mobility Issues

Feeling Pressure to Accept Bad Alternatives

Medical History Form

Complaints About Medical Care in Mexico

Placing Phone Calls To & Inside Mexico


About the Author

Emergency Phone Numbers

Who This Guide is For

The Guide to Medical Care in Mexico is written in English primarily for English speakers who are traveling or living in Mexico. Thus many of the specific topics and references given are those that would be of interest to people in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It is designed to help those whose knowledge of the Spanish language may be limited or non-existent and who may be new to the country and culture of Mexico.

Most readers will fall into one of seven categories, each with specific interests and concerns. This guide

is designed to help you if you fall into one of these categories:

You are a Traveler You are interested in having quick, easy access to information. Perhaps you have specific health concerns and unanswered health and safety questions: Will you be able to find emergency treatment?

Will it be safe to travel with a chronic condition you have? Will your health insurance from home cover medical treatment? What kind of vaccines or preventative measures do you need to take to be safe in Mexico?

You are a Retiree You are planning to or have retired and are considering making your home in Mexico full time or at least part of the year as a snowbird. You want to make sure you can find adequate, affordable medical care. You need to take care of yourself and possibly family members. You need to have all of your medical needs addressed from routine checkups to major surgery. You need to carefully consider endof-life issues such as live-in help and assisted living.

You are a Businessperson Your work requires that you visit Mexico and you need to know how to get any emergency or routine care you may need far from home. Perhaps you are considering starting, expanding or investing in a new business in Mexico. You need to know that your family and employees will be able to access good quality treatment where you are planning to do business. You may also need to know that medical treatment, insurance and other costs will not be a barrier to doing business in Mexico.

You are Critically Ill You are seeking alternative forms of treatment. Perhaps you have been given a terminal diagnosis or have tried all the available recommended treatments in your own country. You may be looking for places that offer experimental or alternative treatments that aren’t available at home.

You Need Affordable Medical Options Typically you are looking for lower-cost treatment or elective surgeries. You may be seeking long-term care for a family member or fertility treatments to expand your family. Perhaps you are uninsured or underinsured and there is a standard procedure that you desperately need. Perhaps you want to have a cosmetic or other surgery that your current health insurance won’t pay for and you are seeking lowercost alternatives. You may be seeking affordable live-in care or a resident facility for an aging parent and your home country doesn’t offer acceptable options at a price you can afford.

You are an Expat or Moving to Mexico You are moving to Mexico or maybe you already live there but you don’t have a doctor or need to find help from someone who speaks English. In either case you haven’t found the kind of medical care you need yet and you aren’t sure what’s available, how to pay for it or how to go about finding specialized treatment or affordable medical insurance options.

You are a Disabled US Veteran Your disability has been certified by the Veteran’s Administration, but you are finding that your quality of life is sub-standard in the US. You cannot afford decent housing or you are having trouble finding good affordable help. You are interested in knowing more about a little-known government program that will pay your medical costs in Mexico and might you consider life in Mexico if you could receive all the benefits you are entitled to, have full coverage for your medical expenses and improve the quality of your life. [See Foreign Medical Program for Disabled US Veterans]

How This Guide Will Help

The Guide to Medical Care in Mexico is designed to give you the best possible experience of medical care in Mexico. Wherever you are, this guide will help you to make more informed decisions — appropriate to your needs, your circumstances and your financial resources. It is intended to be both reassuring and realistic.

For example, without a doubt Mexico has many well-trained physicians including many specialists, many large, modern, spacious, well-equipped, sparkling-clean hospitals and high-quality, easily accessible pharmaceuticals. And, remarkably, all of this is available at comparatively low medicals costs.

This doesn’t mean that there also aren’t instances of unqualified physicians, inadequate facilities, etc., in Mexico. But if you are armed with an understanding of how things work in general (and specific information whenever possible), you will better know the range of options available to you.

Finding the Care You Need This guide focuses on how you can get the care you need but it does not contain an evaluation of individual medical practitioners. After all, Mexico is a large country with thousands of cities, pueblos and colonias and a population in the many millions. Its highly developed medical system has thousands of institutions and health care providers and information changes all the time. New doctors are trained, they move, they retire, etc.

Overall, the medical system in Mexico has approximately 20,000 primary care facilities and 4,000 hospitals. And while there many approaches to finding good care, there is no single comprehensive evaluation that takes into consideration the myriad of options available in Mexico.

This guide will focus on the resources you will always have available to help you. In fact, this guide offers dozens of approaches to finding good medical care. To help you spot the ways to find care, look for the orange dots: l༆ So, whether you are a traveler, doing business in Mexico, considering Mexico as a place to retire or a long-time resident who has expatriated from the USA, Canada, Europe or elsewhere, you should find this guide to be a helpful companion.

Whether you are a fluent speaker of Spanish, or know nothing more than “hola” and “gracias,” this publication could potentially help you communicate effectively with others and find the care you need, even in a crisis. And because many readers are considering Mexico as a permanent full- or part-time home, you need to know that your health needs can be met at every stage of life.

The History of Medicine in Mexico

Mexico has a long history of medicine. When the Spaniards arrived in 1521 there was already a flourishing tradition of healing arts including cures, herbs, minerals, baths, animals, etc. Illustrations of many of these plants and practices appear in pre-Columbian documents. In one, 272 plant varieties with curative powers are illustrated, in another, there are 142 healing herbs, and yet another provides 73 more. Perhaps even more remarkable is how many of these medicinal plants were effective and are still used in traditional indigenous medical practice today.

Many people are surprised to learn that both the first medical school and the first hospital in North America were founded in Mexico City nearly 500 years ago. Like Mexico today, early Mexicans had many hospitals. Modern medicine is not only practiced in Mexico, in some senses, in the Western Hemisphere, it started there and the tradition just continues.

How to Find the Best Medical Practitioners Mexico

The International Nature of Medicine Finding and evaluating medical practitioners in Mexico is not much different than it would be in your home country. In fact, the world of medicine is increasingly international and medical careers are highly mobile. For example, many hospitals in the USA are staffed primarily by foreign-trained doctors. Both doctors born in the US and foreign born have been trained all over the world. And many of the physicians and dentists practicing in Mexico have received at least part of their training in the USA, Canada or Europe.

Conversely, Mexico has many respected medical schools that attract students from world over. [See Medical Schools in Mexico] Many of these students chose Mexico as a place for training both because of the quality of the education, the affordability, weather, beaches, etc. In other words, doctors train in Mexico for many of the same reasons people consider Mexico an excellent place to live. So, Mexico not only trains its own physicians, you may be surprised to discover that your current physician in the US, Canada or the United Kingdom received their training, or some part of it, in Mexico.

–  –  –

Monica Rix Paxson is an award-winning writer interested in science, health and the environment.

She is the author of several books, including Amazon.com’s best-selling planetary science book Dead Mars, Dying Earth and the “how to” entitled The Fabulous Money Making Garage Sale Kit. Monica has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, CBS This Morning, the BBC and has been a guest on the popular Coast to Coast radio program. Her work has been featured in numerous articles in magazines and newspapers.

Monica has worked on book-related projects with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Dead Mars, Dying Earth, written with co-author, plasma physicist and NASA contractor John E. Brandenburg, PhD, was a Benjamin Franklin Award winner. She has also developed classroom science projects for several textbook publishers.

Monica received a commendation for “Best Science” web site from The National Science Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Microsoft Corp for site she produced about global warming.

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