in Costa Rica
The 3 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 very 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 country wide.
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 you're walking into a World War II 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.
Public hospitals have strict visitation rules, and patients are usually placed in a room with up to 4 other patients. 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, but the quality of care is still excellent. So when going to a public facility, keep in mind that the service is free, excepting the inconvenience and lack of privacy as 'the way it is'.
Here's something to keep in mind. When a private hospital or clinic encounters a medical problem or procedure they feel they are not geared for, that patient is immediately referred to the public hospital… NOT the other way around. This is because the private hospitals have the best doctors in the country and excel at most all specialized cases. So try no to judge that book by it's cover.