Joe’s Stay at Clinica San Antonio, Portoviejo

Last week Joe was complaining of severe pain in his chest that started out as heartburn but became unbearable by Sunday morning. He had not slept for three nights and nothing he took made a difference so we decided to go to Clinica San Antonio. Our dear friend Eva accompanied us and we were seen by the ER doctor and then admitted. It is like we both were admitted because when you go to a hospital in Ecuador you need to bring someone there to help you. I was given a list of medications to buy downstairs in the pharmacy and a nurse came in to set up an IV and give Joe several shots. I was amazed at the size of the room, in the US they would use this as a semi-private room. There was even a bed for me.

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We had never been admitted to a hospital outside of the US and there are many differences. First you must bring all your personal items with you as nothing is supplied. Bring PJ’s, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, brush, washcloth, changes of clothes for a few days and reading material plus any medications you are taking. I asked Eva what Joe needed to bring but completely forgot about anything for me. Whoever is acting as your assistant during your stay needs whatever personal belongings they would use for several days as well. The assistant is the one who goes to the pharmacy to get needed medications and supplies, helps the patient with personal needs like using a urinal etc. The hospital as well as the pharmacy accepted my VISA card to pay for Joe’s stay but the doctors only took cash so be prepared.

It was a very pleasant experience for a hospital stay. We both felt comfortable with the doctor in the ER, the nurse staff on the floor were professional and lovely to deal with. They even did an introduction when the second shift came on duty and the nurse leaving gave an overview of Joe’s situation and his medications to the three nurses coming on duty. Joe’s gastroenterologist’s office was located one floor down from his hospital room, and his endoscopy was fast and painless. Out like a light. All in all it was one of our better experiences with hospitals.

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$80 a day for the room, 24 hour ER Doctor and nursing staff and meals, I can’t say anymore than that!!!!

Bottom line Joe has Barrett’s Esophagus, severe inflamed esophagus from GERD and a hiatal hernia. With a change of medication for his GERD and a complete change of diet he is now pain free and healing. We will need to deal with the hiatal hernia with an operation but not right now.

Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and the Expat

Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) goes into effect January 1, 2014.

How will it affect Expats living in Ecuador or elsewhere outside of the US? And more specifically, how will Obamacare affect those who live here full-time but use an address in the states as your residence address for banking, tax returns and social security?

From what I have read it can affect us in our pocketbooks.

If the US government has not been informed that we are living abroad then we will be considered living in the US and we’ll be required to participate in the new health care program, not usable in Ecuador. Or pay a fine.

We have read that 15,000 to 20,000 new enforcement agents will be hired for the IRS to enforce this new law.

Anyone who is interested in researching this further can go online Expat and Obamacare.  One more question would be if you have Medicare or other insurance, does that fulfill your requirements even if you show a US residence address?