A medical center can be defined as a health care organization consisting of a hospital or clinic with or without other buildings in which health care, research, staff support, and ancillary services are provided. They are very similar to those found in the United States, especially the private centers such as CIMA, and the drastic increase in “medical tourism” in Costa Rica is proof in point.
The main difference is that those with the most advanced technology and expert staff are located virtually exclusively in and around San Jose. Rural areas and tourist towns almost always have some type of medical clinic, but they are only equipped to handle up to a certain level of medical care. More serious conditions are always outsourced to the capital of the province and those requiring urgent or critical care are almost always transported to a medical center in San Jose or the surrounding area.
The benefit to investing in a medical center in Costa Rica is simple – business is booming. Costa Rica is rapidly becoming the most popular destination in the Western Hemisphere to receive not only more affordable health care, but quality health care as well. Many of the physicians and other health care professionals here have been trained in American universities and either relocated here, or returned to their home country to practice their specialty. That being said, the government is very receptive to admitting qualified health care professionals from other countries to enhance and build medical tourism in Costa Rica. Certain fields in particular are highly sought after and being certified in these fields can greatly expedite the residency process.
The choices in Costa Rica with regards to the size of a medical center are vast. As previously mentioned, you can choose one of the larger and more complex medical centers in San Jose which would support a variety of functions, from standard in-patient care, to a walk-in clinic, to research and development. The regional provincial centers normally consist of only a hospital and perhaps a walk-in clinic and laboratory for processing samples, while the smallest towns and villages typically are only able to handle minor triage, basic lab tests, and out-patient care. The options are numerous and widespread.
The challenge in renting a medical center in Costa Rica may simply boil down to finding the property that suits all of your needs. Location is ideal for any type of health care facility as it needs to be centrally located and easily accessible to the majority of the local population. San Jose and the surrounding area have an excellent public transportation system as well as a well-developed infrastructure for private transport.
The rest of the country is another story all together. Getting from town to town can be very time-consuming and frustrating whether by public transport or private vehicle as the infrastructure outside the capital is not nearly as developed as in the capital. Virtually all roads are two-lane and many are not even paved, thus increasing travel time considerably.
Careful consideration should be taken when deciding on an appropriate location for a medical center outside the San Jose area. Smaller rural and tourist communities pose less of a challenge with regards to this aspect as most of the community lives within walking or biking distance, or at most, a very short bus ride. Smaller communities also afford you more choices as to location as the volume demands will be smaller, thus decreasing your real estate demands as well.
Another benefit to choosing a more remote location is that you could draw more volume from the surrounding area by providing services normally only found in or near San Jose. Since transportation is such a challenge, you could capitalize on ease of transport while offering superior services that are unmatched in your area. Also, by being located for example near a prime tourist area, you could entice “medical tourists” to come to your facility for their treatment or procedure and then ease their recovery with a stunning ocean or rain forest view. The potential is limitless.