Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'alpha clinic'.
Found 1 result
It all started a few days ago when Keith took me to task on this forum for commenting about what was said in a Tuesday Talk without providing full reporting about what had gone on for those who couldn't attend. I agreed with Keith's comments, so I decided to video the talk this Tuesday by Dr. Digna Diaz of the Alpha Clinic here in Boquete. Being a person who seldom needs medical help, I barely knew that the clinic existed, right across from Mailboxes Etc. So I did video the presentation, which was excellent and informative, and Wednesday morning uploaded it to YouTube for all to see, thank you Keith. After that I ambled downtown to do some errands and stopped off at Mailboxes. As I prepared to cross the street to return to my car. I stepped up not quite all the way onto the pavement, my heel rocked back, I heard a loud POP and found I was hustling across the street with one leg working and the other about as useful as a stick. Instantly I realized that the Alpha Clinic was only ten meters away, so I hobbled in their door and collapsed in a chair. As I knew from just having watched their presentation, the Clinic operates on appointments and is not an emergency room. None of the principal doctors had yet arrived for their 4PM appointments. However, the receptionist was very accommodating and within five minutes an on-call internist appeared and diagnosed my injury. Fortunately it was not as serious as I feared, the nurse gave me a painkiller shot and in less than 20 minutes we were done. All for the princely sum of $25. Later examination by a senior orthopedic surgeon friend who happened to be in Boquete for a dinner party confirmed both the diagnosis and the quality of the doctor who attended to me. Leaving the clinic, Dr. Sue and Dr. Diaz had arrived along with a gaggle of mothers and children. I couldn't help noticing the friendly and personal doctor-patient relationships that were expressed. Two of the people in the waiting room had been to the Tuesday Talk and were there to sign up. Which brings us to the topic of improved primary clinical care in Boquete. Had my injury been only a little more severe, I would have been schlepping down to David for a visit to an emergency room for an ultrasound, at huge cost in time, frustration and money. Why don't we have this basic equipment in Boquete? Medical providers frequently use pre-paid medical plans as a way to raise money to improve facilities and services. In the last two weeks, we have had two plans presented to us - one from the Panamanian-serving hospital Cooperativo in David and this Tuesday, the Alpha Clinic in Boquete. It is not my purpose to do a complete comparison, but having seen both presentations, one huge item jumps out. The Cooperativo plan provides discounts on some covered procedures. However, the math doesn't add up. If you purchase the plan direct from the hospital for $120 and receive a 30% discount, it means that you have to spend $400 at the hospital - on covered procedures - before you begin receiving ANY discount - you have to "pay off" your initial payment. For jubilados, the scenario is much worse. Dr. Wong is undoubtably a wonderful and sincere doctor, but this is a structural problem with their plan. With the Alpha Clinic plan in Boquete, you pay $200, but that includes three free email consults with each of the principal doctors at the clinic along with other discounts. In short, the doctors are investing their own time and effort to match your financial investment. If you have chronic medical problems, or had a serious procedure at the hospital and need local followup, this could be worth the price of admission alone. They also provide discounts to Rodny Direct members even if you are not in a plan. As the expat population in Boquete grows and ages, there is great need for a fully-equipped primary care clinic in town. If you watch the Alpha Clinic presentation, you will see that they have such a plan for growth and are evolving it to better meet the needs of the expat community. I was very impressed with both their forward-thinking professionalism and the friendly atmosphere of the clinic. In Coronado, Rodny's sister helpline, the Panama Helpline, partnered with the local Rotary Club to deploy defibrillators. Maybe it's time for some of our forward thinking expat community leaders to begin working on how we might "invest" in equipping a first-rate clinic that would benefit everyone in town and in the end save us all a great deal more money than simplistic discounts and more ambulances. Thanks Keith, without your prodding and an unplanned slip in front of Mailboxes, I wouldn't be writing any of this today - from my bed with my leg up... Best wishes to all for a great Christmas. Mark