Monday, March 4, 2013

What does EBAIS mean?

EBAIS is a Costa Rican acronym for Equipo Básico de Atención Integral en Salud. I apologize if that's still gibberish to you. It's basically a rural clinic in Costa Rica that has basic outpatient healthcare services. They are run by the government as medical outposts for people who have a difficult time getting to a larger city for a full-on medical facility. Services that are even more "básicos" can be found in extremely rural, isolated areas where local clinics are makeshift facilities at the town hall (salón comunal) where a nurse may visit once every two weeks (or cada quince as they say in Costa Rica). 

Of course, in Costa Rica everyone is covered for healthcare services under their Social Security system, or Seguro Social as it's called. It's rather impressive that they can operate a nationalized healthcare system with the level of access that they offer. Even the most remote of areas will have basic services, and can travel to a larger town to be seen for more acute or complex matters. Still, private clinics and hospitals exist for those who are able and willing to pay. Some of the more upscale facilities will have more up-to-date equipment, but I don't care to make any blanket qualitative statements about the quality of care in private vs. public facilities. I simply can't make any judgement calls. 

Costa Ricans, who tend to be a rather proud lot, are especially proud of their Seguro Social. Its universal nature serves as a source of pride for Costa Rican nationals, many of whom are aware that even in the United States there is not such a system (at least not a universal one, as not everyone is covered under Medicare or Medicaid). 

***As a side note, the United States has, of course, passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare"), which will cover everyone in some shape or form. Also, the ACA has some more proactive population health measures like the licensing of accountable care organizations (ACOs) that re-align incentives at the point of care and the administrative level to focus on quality improvements and cost reductions, respectively.***


Anonymous said...

I am a medical student wishing to go on my elective in Costa Rica, anyone know contact details for any of these rura clinics?

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