Two of the leading hospitals in Panama are expected to undergo their JCI accreditation site visits in the next 30 days. In August, 2011, Clinica Hospital San Fernando is scheduled for a field visit of JCI accreditation team. And in September, it is the turn of Hospital Punta Pacifica (affiliated with Johns Hopkins International Medicine).
These hospitals are on track to becoming the first JCI accredited hospitals in Panama, says Shai Gold, CEO of International Triage, LLC, and a leading authority on hospitals in Latin America.
International Triage, LLC is recommended by Traveling4Health as a trusted company for medical tourism and cross-border healthcare. The company received favorable patient-generated reviews for its service on our site.
Gold is the exclusive provider of medical tourism services for EscapeArtist.com and is recognized by his peers for his experience in generating and managing demand for international medical services. He is the former founding V.P. for International medical services at The University of Miami Jackson Memorial Medical Center, where his efforts resulted in some 3,000 cases and over $150 million dollars in revenue from international medical services in a four-year period.
Gold also coauthored, with Traveling4Health, the definitive consumer guide to Medical Tourism “How To Plan A Successful Medical Tourism Trip” , a publication recommended by Escapeartist.
In a phone interview, Gold spoke about being so impressed with the medical sector of Panama that he established a branch office in the Punta Pacifica Medical Professional Medical Building adjacent to the Punta Pacifica Hospital.
“It was an easy decision,” said Gold, “Panama City is located a short flight away (140 minutes) from Miami, and it has great air connections to other major cities in the USA and the Caribbean. Panama has a tradition of good medical education, clinical excellence and modern facilities. It is a stable and safe destination where the US dollar is the official currency and where English is widely spoken due over a century of close economic and political ties with the USA. In other words, they not only speak English, they understand American!”
“International-Triage is the only international TPA with local medical management and customer service staff. Our local office consists of three physician care-managers and a patient service coordinator. We teamed up with leading local physicians and with the dominant hotel company in Panama,” Gold said.
“We are not a medical tourism agency, or a facilitator per-say,” explained Gold, “We are a professional-grade solution and service platform for insurance companies and self-insured groups. As such, individual patients can benefit tremendously from our resources and gain peace-of-mind.”
The Best Hospitals in Panama
The Medical Sector of Panama is led by three flagship hospital facilities, Clinica Hospital San Fernando, the 1st private hospital in Panama (est. 1947), Centro Medico Paitilla, pronounced Pai-Tee-Ya, (est. 1970) and Hospital Punta Pacifica (est. 2006). All three of these hospitals have clinical centers of excellence and unique characteristics that ensure high standards of care and an optimal patient experience.
“These hospitals can compete favorably with any good community hospital in the USA” says Gold. “We credential the doctors and hospitals who are in our network and focus on attracting the top doctors with the best reputation”
Clinica Hospital San Fernando
Clinica Hospital San Fernando is a family-owned hospital. As Panama’s first private hospital (est. 1947), it has a great tradition of excellence and commitment to compassionate care. The hospital is well known for its state of-the-art inpatient pharmacy, as well as for its diagnostic imaging, orthopedic, vascular surgery, general surgery and critical care programs. It is currently undergoing an expansion and modernization plan. The CEO is Elisa de Lewis, (her grandparents established the hospital). They are scheduled for JCI accreditation visit in August, 2011. The hospital offers, scheduled and emergency medical services in a broad range of specialties.
Hospital Punta Pacifica
Hospital Punta Pacifica is only the 2nd hospital in Latin America to have withstood the rigorous criteria for affiliation with Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, MD). Johns Hopkins Hospital is considered the cradle of modern academic healthcare and has been voted as the best hospital in the USA for 20 years by US News and World Report’s Best Hospitals Survey. It is an ultra modern “boutique” hospital that opened its doors in 2005. The hospital is scheduled to undergo its JCI accreditation visit in September 2011.
The hospital has a large group of professional physicians and is a center of excellence for minimally invasive cardiac surgery, general surgery, neuro-surgery, urology procedures, reproductive OB (fertility treatment) and ophthalmology. It also has an exceptional outpatient rehabilitation program and reputable allergy and immunology experts. The hospital offers, scheduled and emergency medical services in a broad range of specialties.
Centro Medico Paitilla
Established in 1970, Centro Medico Paitilla (CMP), is a family owned medical center proudly managed by Vilma Moreno de Arias (whose father established the hospital). It is an excellent quality, very busy, general hospital in the heart of Panama City. “CMP is a top choice hospital for tertiary care,” says Gold, “They have excellent diagnostic imaging, good cancer treatment program (radiation, general surgery and chemo) and solid cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, ENT and internal medicine programs.” As with the other two facilities, the hospital offers service to foreign patients.
The only hospital in our network that is not located in the capital city, Hospital Colon is in the City of Colon which is midway through the Panama Canal. It is a shining example for quality of care and medical excellence with a primary goal of serving local patients and catering to cruise ship passengers with medical emergencies. Most recently, the hospital made history by successfully delivering a beautiful set of quadruplets. The hospital offers various medical and surgical services.
Read about the Best Doctors In Panama
Key Reasons That Make Panama a Top Destination
- High quality medical services.
- Proximity to the USA.
- Americanized business culture.
- Same currency and language affinity
Panama City is located within 140 minutes of commercial airline flight from Miami. Our local network includes the top three leading hospitals in Panama-City, the TOP hospital in the Canal Zone (Hospital Colon) and the country’s best physicians and surgeons. As you know, we strongly object to the term “Medical Tourism”. Interestingly enough, the term has negative connotations for Panama’s top hospitals. Our mutual dislike for this term was actually a leading factor in establishing a commonality of purpose during the preliminary discussions with our hospital partners in Panama.
Panama – Top Destination for Medical Vacation: Read Panama Medical Vacation
Quality Medical Care in Panama
To better understand the exceptional quality of healthcare options in Panama, one should be reminded that not so long ago, Panama was home to very large number of American expatriates who worked in the Panama Canal Zone Administration and the US military bases.
These tens of thousands of Americans created a market for American quality healthcare services and American style customer service. As ownership of the Panama Canal reverted from the USA to Panama, the Americans went home, but left a legacy that consists of a US dollar economy, wide proliferation of American English language skills, well developed urban infrastructure and good quality healthcare.
Safe Medical Tourism in Panama
“The robust healthcare sector with well-schooled physicians, good outcomes, modern hospitals, exceptionally low rate of hospital acquired infections, low crime and good local partners were the decisive factors in the decision to open a local branch office,” said Gold.
“I was impressed with the progressive management of these facilities and the large number of English speaking physicians who had trained abroad,” Gold said, “and I am satisfied that the medical sector of Panama offers comprehensive healthcare solutions.”
“Comprehensive solutions consist of primary, a full range of specialists with high quality practice environment, state of the art diagnostic radiology and pathology services and safe hospitals.” said Gold.
The bottom line is that Panama is a safe medical destination and International Triage is positioned as a FRIENDLY GATE KEEPER to the BEST DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS.
The insurer and the patient benefit from having in-country service by a professional third-party administrator (TPA) that manages the financial interface with the hospital, the course of care and provides exceptional customer service. International Triage, Panama provides consistency, familiarity and peace of mind to a rather challenging process.
International Triage of Panama consists of a resident full time medical director and a full time medical operations manager/ hospitalist.
“Through a collaborative partnership with the Bern Hotel Group, our patients and their families can choose from a wide variety of leading international hotel brands, or rent a condo with maid service on a long term basis. Our Patient and family Hospitality Center is scheduled to open in October at the Crown Plaza Hotel,” said Gold.
How to Schedule your trip with International Triage (IT)
To get information about scheduling a procedure, contact IT to initiate a phone call and consultation for free. For your own peace of mind, get information you need before you go: Ask about a 2nd medical opinion, or get helping planning your medical tourism trip.
Watch for the next installation of the Panama Medical Tourism Series, where we will feature a round-table discussion with the CEO’s of these three top hospitals.
About the author: Ilene Little is CEO of Traveling4Health.com. She is a reporter in the medical tourism business, and she does all of the content for the EscapeArtist Medical Tourism Blog.