Best 5 Hospitals In Panama City, Panama
Panama City, Panama attracts a huge number of expats and digital nomads for many different reasons. Easy access to amenities you’d find back home –at a fraction of the cost is one of them. Health is a key point to take into consideration when exploring your global options. More and more retirees are moving to Panama and the excellent healthcare is a top reason. This city provides world-class health care for both locals and foreigners.
Panama City is home to several health care facilities affiliated with reputable hospitals in the United States meaning that they are all within U.S. standards. You’ll find English-speaking doctors, well-trained staff, and personalized attention. It’s important to point out that the hospitals mentioned here are those of the private sector. While more expensive than the public facilities, they provide medical attention in a whole other league. Hospital Santo Tomás may be the biggest in the country, however, I wouldn’t recommend public hospitals in Panama as they lack equipment, medicine, and customer service all around.
Pacífica Salud Hospital Punta Pacifica:
This hospital is the newest in the country and considered to be the most technically advanced in all of Latin America. Due to its affiliation with John
Hopkins Medicine International, it is also a medical tourism hot spot. As far as pricing goes, Hospital Punta Pacifica is also the most expensive since it is gringo-catered, but well worth it. They treat more than 650 foreign patients annually and offer videoconferencing which allows authorized doctors around the world to watch surgeries, view and analyze patient data.
It was in this hospital that the first pediatric emergency room was opened in the private health sector and also where the first successful heart transplant in Panama’s history was performed. They’ve got over 350 medical specialists who are constantly kept updated with different medical advances through different continuous programs. Their services include maternity, operating room, neonatology, radiology, intensive care unit, medical emergencies, clinical lab and blood bank, preoperative clinic, and cardiovascular center.
Hospital Punta Pacifica is conveniently located in smack in the middle of the city in Boulevard Punta Pacifica, near Multiplaza Mall. Punta Pacifica is one of the 5 richest neighborhoods in Panama. The only issue with this hospital is the pricey parking lot and though their doctors speak English, some of the nurses and administration staff do not.
Johns Hopkins affiliated hospital in Panama City
Clínica Hospital San Fernando:
Not as conveniently located as Punta Pacifica, San Fernando stands in the very busy Via España, which means lots of traffic during rush hour. Definitely would not recommend going here if your medical urgency happens during rush hour, with the heavy traffic you’ll experience, you might as well go to a different facility. That being said, even though you have to pay for parking, it’s definitely a better experience than finding parking in Punta Pacifica.
This hospital has an international office specifically for non-Spanish-speaking expats but be prepared to try and put your Spanish to use with the rest of the staff. The building is clean and updated, very much like some in the States and as long as you try to communicate with them, they will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable.
San Fernando is affiliated with Miami Children’s Hospital, Baptist Health International of Miami, and Tulane University Health Services Center. Remaining true to its international standards, it was the first hospital in the country to receive a JCI (Joint Commission International) gold star rating. It was also the first private hospital in Panama.
Their services include the ER of course, outpatient, radiology, maternity, surgery, hemodialysis, blood bank, and more. Another thing to note is that there have been some complaints in the past about the ER not having the greatest attention but aside from that this hospital is fully recommended.
JCI gold rated health facility- San Fernando
This hospital is the go-to place for the whole pregnancy and giving birth process. It was originally a women’s clinic (49 years ago) and over the years has expanded into one of the top private facilities in the country. It is centrally located in Bella Vista (near Cinta Costera) and has English-speaking staff on deck. Hospital Nacional is known for their quality care, and they accept international health plans.
Again, international standard is not an issue with this hospital as it is run by the American Hospital Management Company which affiliates with the Kendall Medical Center in Florida and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Their services now span from maternity to radiology, ER in case you need to get stitched up, intensive care unit, genetics center, and anything else you could possibly need. The hospital is staffed with over 100 specialists, and they make sure each nurse is only in charge of 10 patients, making for top-notch attention.
I will say though, sometimes the waiting time can be dreadful. An appointment does not guarantee that your doctor will come in on time, but their waiting rooms are comfortable with a TV and vending machines available as well.
#1 choice for pregnant women in Panama
Centro Médico Paitilla
This hospital is known for its impressive oncology unit with equipment only operated by a group of specialists highly trained in the United States, Spain, Mexico, and Brazil. This hospital was also the first in Central America to have a specific mammography device that hugely helps in the early diagnostic of breast cancer.
Cancer care in Panama is very good and affordable in the private sector in comparison to other places. The public sector is not completely useless, most Panamanian cancer patients get advanced cancer treatment at the National Oncology Institute.
Like in the rest of the hospitals mentioned here, the doctors in Paitilla tend to have completed their residencies in North America and Europe, meaning the staff speaks English. It’s also affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic—the two hospitals have held joint annual conferences in Panama for the past eight years.
Being one of the oldest private hospitals in the country, they pride themselves on the attention they give to their patients. It’s not at all uncommon for doctors here to give their personal phone numbers to their patients should they need to contact them.
Centro Médico Paitilla will have a solution for your health concerns, and you can count on quality care. Some of their services include radiology, lab, cancer center, critical care unit for newborns and adults, as well as a cardiac catheterization unit, and more.
Like Hospital Nacional, you can find Centro Médico Paitilla on Avenida Balboa (Cinta Costera).
Home to an impressive oncology unit
The last private hospital on our list is Santa Fe. Located in Avenida Simon Bolivar, it is the closest hospital to the Canal. Because of this, it receives the most tourists, and cruise ship personnel seeking medical care, reinforcing Panama’s medical tourism status. To that end, the hospital has created health tourism packages that claim to provide the same quality care as American hospitals at a more affordable rate.
Founded in 1984, Hospital Santa Fe uses the latest technology, state-of-the-art equipment, and has many English speaking, American-trained doctors to treat their patients, but for me the best part hands-down is that parking here is free! Santa Fe creates individual health care plans that are specific to each patient. One thing to note about this hospital is that it also caters to elderly patients with affordable health plans. You can get here from the beaches of Coronado in a 1 hour drive. Once you get over the bridge you can visit the best beaches in Panama!
Even though it’s the closest hospital to the Canal, if you are not transiting through here, I would definitely recommend the other hospitals on this list prior to this one. It is located within close proximity to a dangerous neighborhood and in a kind of dirty area. But if you don’t mind these things, they’ve got pretty much everything you need at an affordable cost. An EKG for example will run you for only $35. CAT Scans, dermatologists, 24-hour emergency room, blood bank, and more services are also available here.
Closest hospital to the Panama Canal
What is the Best Hospital in Panama City?
By far the best hospital in Panama City is Punta Pacífica. They even had expats and digital nomads in mind when creating their website (it’s the only one on the list with an English version of the website). Again, it is more expensive than the other hospitals mentioned but what they lack for in cost, they make up for in great medical attention.
And while it’s sad that Panamanian’s don’t have an efficient public health care system, there are health care and insurance plans available to locals and foreigners from around $30 a month so should you need to go to one of these private facilities, prices will be slashed down a lot more. Besides the 5 hospitals in this list, Panama is home to many more health facilities that I would fully recommend, like the Panama Clinic for example where they took excellent care of a friend suffering from pneumonia. He was in there for almost 2 weeks and ended up only paying $1000. This goes to show that yes, there is excellent, high-standard health care available in Panama City, and for way less than what you’d pay back home.
Are you thinking about getting married in Panama? Check our guide to getting married in Panama as an expat.