HealthCare Resources Blog


Consultations — How and How Much?

Posted in HealthCare Resources,How To's & Advice by Pam on May 24, 2010
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How much does a consult with a physician or specialist cost here? What happens when I see him or her?

The average cost for a physician consult in our area is between 400 and 900 pesos, depending on the specialty if you are seen in his private office. If you see him in an emergency room (on an emergency basis) the cost goes up. (That being said, sometimes physicians out of convenience for the patient will do a consult in a local emergency room, regular charge.) By the way, if he tells you to meet him at a restaurant or a bar, see someone else! (This has been known to happen!). A house or hotel call will run a minimum of 1,000 pesos. But it might be worth it. You might just feel too sick to leave your room. Physicians like to be paid in cash. Many do not accept credit cards for consults. Don’t plan on flipping out your insurance card to the receptionist when it is time to pay because they will just stare at you blankly.

Start the consult by writing out your name on a piece of paper. That’s simple enough! “Why should I do that?” you say. Because mumbling your name that sounds like Greek to the physician will only begin the process on the wrong foot. Note: This is very important if you are going for a diagnostic study or being admitted to the hospital. Correct name spelling around here is hard to find in the medical world. I spend many hours searching through computers with receptionists at various hospitals, diagnostic centers and clinics for a simple Jane Smith. “She’s never been here!” is the normal response. “Keep looking” I say firmly. Eventually it is found and spelled Jhune Smmit or some other garbled version.

When it’s time to sit down and speak with the doctor, have your list of current medications, chief complaints and allergies in hand. “I have sort of a stomach ache” you say to the doctor. Gee, that is a pretty broad statement. Better to say “I have had a stomach ache in the lower right side of my abdomen, sort of a sharp pain off and on for a few days. I feel nausea at times. No diarrhea or vomiting and no fever.” The more details you are able provide the better. Speak clearly and slowly (not like you are speaking to a five year old) but if you go too fast, remember that English is your physician’s second language. Would you want him to answer you in rapid fire Spanish? If you have had previous labwork or diagnostic studies related to this current complaint, be sure and bring those with you. Don’t try to guess what your liver enzymes were four months ago. As well, your current medicines taken are important. “I take a little yellow pill and a big white one every day” doesn’t cut the cake.

Do not leave until you are clear on your diagnosis, treatment and-or any diagnostic examinations order. Look at your check list of questions you took with you to make sure each one has been checked off! It is amazing the number of times I call or email a patient after sending them to a physician and ask how things went, were they satisfied and I am told “Well, he was nice.” I say, “Did you understand everything he told you?” and the answer is “sort of, er, not really”. Incredible!

If the physician orders some type of diagnostic study such as an MRI or CAT scan, get your facts. Ask him: What does this test measure? Why do I need it? What could happen if I don’t have it? Are there any alternatives to the test?

The internet and Google are fabulous tools but seem, at times, to be overworked. If you are given a diagnosis, by all means do some research but sometimes the patient can get what I call, “internet overdose”. Stick with a few top-rated websites related to your particular malady. I have developed a good base of patient education materials that I am more than happy to share with you as well.

Second opinions are ok! If the first physician becomes offended that you are seeking a second opinion, that’s his problem, not yours. Do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable with the entire situation.

As always, I cannot stress enough the importance of establishing yourself with a local private physician. Best to meet your new physician when there is nothing seriously wrong. Get one now!

Welcome to our column ASK HEALTHCARE RESOURCES PUERTO VALLARTA in the PVMirror dedicated to answering your personal questions on keeping you happy and healthy in Banderas Bay. Answering your questions is Pamela Thompson, a 17-year resident of Puerto Vallarta, 10 of them in HealthCare. Pamela now leads HealthCare Resources Puerto Vallarta, a local healthcare resource network. Her years of experience and expertise are available to you by e-mailing your questions to pamela@healthcareresourcespv.com
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5 Responses to 'Consultations — How and How Much?'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Consultations — How and How Much?'.

  1. Robert Brittingham said,

    Wonderful Pam. It’s time you added Blogging to your repertoire. I’ll be a faithful follower

  2. Gary GReen said,

    Great job with the blog Pam. Always useful information.

  3. Tim Longpre said,

    Great Job Pam and wonderful informaiton.

  4. Stephen Davis said,

    Great Blog Pam! Super impressed!

  5. chickie alter said,

    I always enjoy reading the information you offer to the community. We “ex pats” are so lucky to have you advising us.


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