Lulu had a small sore spot on top of her ear that was likely caused by too much sun before she got religious about the sunscreen. Some fellow cruisers recommended Dr. Tuschman here in La Paz. We went to his office without an appointment yesterday morning. He wasn't in yet but a phone call by his receptionist affirmed that we should return in about an hour, which we did. Like all doctors, he wasn't super punctual but we only waited an extra 20 minutes or so. We've waited longer than that in the States when we DID have an appointment. The office and examining rooms were super clean. Lulu showed Dr. T the spot that concerned her. He asked a few historical questions (when did it start? has it grown? any known allergies? etc.) First, since it was so small, he suggested removing it now rather than waiting to see if it was going to get bigger. Then he told her the options: freeze it off, burn it off, cut it off (micro-surgery). She asked the pros and cons of each and the prices.
Freeze it off: might have to come back later for a second freeze. 800 pesos
Burn it off: will leave a small scar. 700 pesos
Micro-surgery: will leave the smallest scar of the three options. 1500 pesos
All three prices included the consultation.
Armed with such practical knowledge, she opted to have it burned off. He administered a local anesthetic and then, seconds later he was done. He put a teensy little band aid on and we were out of there. Paid the receptionist on the way out and we were done.
Compare this to the same thing stateside where insurance companies rule:
-We didn't fill out ANY paperwork. In spite of this being the first visit, we didn't have to fill out a bunch of medical history and insurance forms. Anything the doctor needed to know, he just asked. The question of HOW we would pay was never even brought up.
-Everything was done in one visit: consult and procedure. My experience in the states is that there would be at least 3 visits if we were a first time patient: consultation, procedure, follow-up. Each would have cost whatever the base rate is for an office visit and then any work that was done would be heaped on top.
-And finally, 700 pesos is about $56.00. Take a look at your last insurance statements for some simple procedure and compare.
We're happy to report that our first encounter with the Mexican health care system was everything we were led to believe it would be.