Public Hospitals

The three main public hospitals in San Jose are Calderon Guardia, Mexico and San Juan de Dios. There are hundreds of EBAIS clinics all over the country that will take people in using your insurance if an injury or illness is not as serious. Patients can use almost any public health care facility for free if they are covered under the CAJA (social security system). The CAJA works with over 29 hospitals and up to 250 clinics.

Many people who are used to medical care in North America will find the public hospitals to be quite shocking. The actual hospital and facilities are older and more run down. For many it gives the impression that one is walking into a World War II medical movie scene with people running everywhere.

Even though the hospitals may not look so attractive or organized, these public facilities are where the best doctors in the country work and the hospitals usually have more inventory of the best equipment in the country more so than in most private clinics. Not only that but they perform some of the most complex and new wave surgeries that private hospitals do not. Additionally, certain facilities they have the top cardiac, burn unit, and trauma specialists in the country.

In public facilities, they have strict visitation rules and hours and patients are usually in a room with at least 4 other people. The waiting rooms are often crowded and there are long lines everywhere. Public facilities are not the most comfortable and are certainly do not offer a lot of privacy.

When going to a public facility it is best to keep in mind that the service is free so one may have to deal with less privacy, longer wait times, and a hectic environment. It is also important to note here that if someone is having a procedure preformed in any private hospital and things get out of hand or complicated the patient will be immediately sent to one of the public hospitals. This is because they usually have the best doctors in the country working at them who work with specialized cases.

The Children's Hospital - Hospital de los Niños is a public run facility. It is also a truly incredible establishment and has been noted as having the best service for children under 12 years old and babies with life threatening diseases or illnesses. This is a 250 bed hospital for children only. It has private rooms with baths, telephones and space for an extra bed in each room. The equipment operating rooms, and its pediatric specialists are some of the best and most experienced in Central America, many of them have advanced degrees from North America or Europe. This is one of the best, most organized public hospitals in the country and they deal with hundreds of cases each month.

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