My husband and I and our two children (7 and 5) are hoping to move to Chile within the next 2 years. We honeymooned there, fell in love with the culture, and are excited about moving. My husband is double-boarded in both anesthesiology and interventional pain management. We are seeking information about the health care system (we know that it's two tiered), and how one would pursue becoming licensed to practice medicine in Chile. Yesterday, we emailed the Chilean "society of anesthesiologsts" hooping that they would be able to provide us information. We found on the Ministry of Health's website an announcement in August that the Health Ministry intends to hire 500 specialist physicians for the Health System. My husband would prefer to be in private practice, but in America FMG's are often required to work in medically underserved areas or VA hospitals. Often visas are tied to this. Does anyone know if the Chilean government has this same requirement?
Any other impressions of the healthcare system in Chile would be greatly appreciated. For example, from what you have experienced do physicians have autonymy in their practice? Are patients generally pleased with the care they receive? Do physicians appear satisfied with their work?
Our reasons for leaving the US include some that I have seen appear on this website before-how many dollars can the treasury print before they are worthless? what will happen when the entitlements have to be scaled back?? For us we also have additional concerns relating to healthcare. One concern is the move to a socialized system in which folks who move outside the sytem are punished (HIllarycare) and the lack of torte reform - I could go on ad nauseum.
We are traveling to Chile in January. We hope to have some of these initial questions answered such that while we are there we may work on beginning the process of licensure.
Thank you for your help,
What are "FMGs"?
My husband has had serious medical events both in the US and here, and in both countries we have been fortunate to have wonderful medical care and we were very pleased with our doctors. Here in Chile though, we found it surprising that physicians actually took phone calls, called us back, and were available on weekends to answer concerns. The doctors we have met here seemed more at ease and personable (less hands-off clinical) than US doctors. Even in Santiago we got the sense of the "old-time" family doctor, rather than the rigid five-tier process of telling four different people your medical history and filling out forms before seeing the doctor. We now live in a somewhat isolated rural area in the south. Our doctors here at the small hospital come from Santiago and stay for six months to a year, apparently doing "service". They seem happy, interested, and eager...make house calls, hold clinics for screenings and during the recent volcano did double duty passing out masks and treating patients 24-7. As health care "consumers", we've been surprised and happy with the quality of service, and even without health insurance, have been able to afford both the care and the prescriptions.
Our small hospital here is a wooden building, heated by wood stoves, with a small <SPAM WORD> and three small wards, maternity room and two small basic emergency rooms. Equipment is basic, and serious cases are sent to Esquel, Argentina, or flown up to Puerto Montt...A Stitch and Go facility I suppose. I did notice that they work on preventative medicine more here now...introducing information on high blood pressure, diabetes, healthier diets and alternative medicine is incorporated also.
I hope someone else here will be able to give you a synopsis of the health care system from the professional side. I would note that Chile is very progressive in new technology (in Santiago) and is the first country south of the US to use implanted medical devices for treatment of epilepsy (VNS by Cyberonics). That's pretty forward thinking!
I am thrilled to hear of your successes in the private health care system. Practicing medicine in America given the encumbrances of the insurance and legal sytems leaves a lot to be desired. My husband and I are anticipating that his income will not be what it is in the US, and we are fine with that. What we desire is that his job satisfaction would increase dramatically. To be able to work in a private system without dealing with droves of insurance paperwork etc. would be nirvana for him. He gets so frustrated that most of his time now is spent filling out forms rather than interacting with patients. Ideally, he would love to be in private practice and then be able to offer a pain clinic for indigent patients a couple of days per week. This may amount to working part time in the public health system. We don't know if doctors have the freedom to move between the two systems at will, but it appears so.
To change topics (if that is alright)...
We are spending 2-3 Days in Santiago when we arrive in January. Could anyone recommend museums that would be appropriate for my children? (7 and 5) We would all love to learn more Chilean history, art history etc.
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I do think docs here are more personable for sure. Carlos learned that in medical school and it stayed with him all the years he practiced in the States. I am a midwife and all my 'babies' saw him for care (he is a peds doc) and all my families loved him. I truly think he got that from his education/training here.
I will ask him the questions you posed and see what he says. Good luck.
Do you think medical licensure is contingent on Chris's knowledge of Spanish? In America, we have this requirement also.
Last week we emailed the "Chilean Society of Anesthesiologists" requesting information, but we haven't heard back from them.
If there are any other avenues anyone can recommend, we would be thrilled to hear it.
thank you again,