While Colombia is known for having a world-class healthcare system, given that the World Health Organization ranked Colombia’s healthcare system as #22 out of 191 countries whose healthcare systems it ranked. There are no other Latin American countries whose healthcare system is ranked higher than Colombia’s healthcare system. Colombia’s healthcare system is ranked higher by the WHO than wealthier and more industrialized countries such as Germany (#25), Canada (#30), Australia (#32), and the United States (#37).
Given that the costs for receiving medical and dental care here in Colombia are frequently much lower compared to other countries, the amount of people coming to Colombia to take advantage of the world-class doctors, facilities and affordable prices is increasing. It is not uncommon for people to come to Colombia for dental care, eye surgery, plastic surgery, and other procedures because you can receive high quality care and treatment at a more economical price point. With the increase in medical tourism in Colombia, hospitals in Medellín are offering services for to support foreign patients who are receiving treatment in Medellín. In fact, eight of the nine hospitals on this list have international patient services to support foreign and English speaking patients.
In 2018, Colombia was recognized as having 23 of the best hospitals in Latin America out of the 58 Latin American hospitals ranked by Revista América Economía. The best hospitals in Colombia can be found in larger urban areas, particularly in Medellín and Bogotá. Anecdotally, I know people whose family have traveled from other cities in Colombia to Medellín to receive treatment here in Medellín because the hospitals here are some of the best in Colombia and in Latin America. The only other city in Colombia with a larger number of highly ranked hospitals in Colombia and in Latin America, is the capital, Bogotá.
If we are taking all of this information into consideration, it should be no surprise that Medellín, in particular has become a popular medical tourism destination, given that you can receive high quality medical and dental care here in Medellín for a fraction of the price. In this article, I will be discussing the best clinics and hospitals in Medellín and going into detail about what they offer. If you want to learn more about health insurance and/or healthcare in Colombia, you can read my post “Health Insurance and Healthcare in Colombia”.
It seems appropriate for me to do a blog post on hospitals and clinics in Medellín, given the inordinate amount of time I have spent at the clinic/hospital and/or at a doctor’s office this past year. Just ask anyone who has spent enough time with me recently, they can tell you that I have learned a lot about the Colombian healthcare system, considering between since the time I have arrived in Medellín and the time I wrote this post, I have been to the emergency department (I am cringing as I write this), five different times in less than one calendar year. And before you ask, no going to the clinic is not a hobby of mine, I just might need to be saved me from myself.
# 1 in Medellín: Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe (#9 in Latin America)
Calle 78 B # 69 – 240, Medellín, Barrio Córdoba, Robledo
+57 (034) 445 9000
Monday to Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
+57 034 445-9425 or (034) 445-9655
Availability 24 hours on the phone: (+57) 317-401-3663
Pablo Tobón Uribe, El Poblado
Calle 14 #43B-146, Barrio Manila, El Poblado at Hospital Infantil Santa Ana
+57 (034) 360-4788, Option 5 for appointments
In 2018, Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe in 2018 was recognized as the best hospital in Medellín. It is a private, non-profit Catholic teaching and university hospital located in Robledo. Pablo Tobón Uribe is a general hospital, whose specialties for adults include bariatric surgery, cancer, renal care, general surgery, rheumatology, urology, endocrinology, cardiology, neurology, pneumology, transplants, and cardiology, as well as a variety of pediatric specialties. However, it appears that there are no specialists at Pablo Tobón Uribe working in obstetrics, gynecology, fetal, and/or neonatal medicine. Pablo Tobón Uribe also has a 24-hour interdisciplinary trauma center at their main location in Robledo. While their rehabilitation unit provides physical and occupational therapy for patients being treated at the hospital.
Pablo Tobón Uribe has an international patients service, to support foreigners coming to Medellín to receive medical treatment. Staff from Pablo Tobón Uribe’s international patients service works with foreign patients while interfacing with patients’ providers in their home countries. There is staff from Pablo Tobón Uribe’s international patients service who speak English, Portuguese, and French.
During November 2018, Pablo Tobón Uribe opened a new location in the Manila neighborhood in Poblado, in alliance with Hospital Infantil Santa Ana. This new outpatient consultancy location has practitioners specializing in internal medicine, pediatrics and other specialties for adults and children. This is the hospital that my Colombian colleagues recommended that I go to if I ever became gravely ill since it’s such a good hospital. I luckily have not had the privilege of visiting this hospital so I cannot comment on what it is like being treated here, but I have only heard positive things about this hospital.
Medellín: Calle 64 # 51D-154, Barrio Sevilla, Medellín (located adjacent to the Hospital Metro Station)
+57 (034) 444 1333
+57 (034) 444-1333, Ext. 2939 y 2940
Rionegro: Vereda La Convención, Vía Aeropuerto Llanogrande Km 2.3., Rionegro
+57 (034) 4448717
+57 (034) 444-8717 Ext. 2902
In 2018, Hospital Universitario de San Vicente Fundación was recognized as being the second best hospital in Medellín. It is a private hospital located in Barrio Sevilla, adjacent to the Hospital metro station. San Vicente has three specialty centers Cardiopulmonary and Peripheral Vascular Center, Digestive Diseases Center and an Organ and Tissue Transplant Center, as well as an Infant Hospital. Anecdotally, I have also heard that San Vicente is an important research hospital since I knew someone from the United States who came to San Vicente to conduct research here.
San Vicente also has a health center in the municipality of Rionegro, near José María Cordova International Airport. San Vicente’s location in Rionegro offers 24-hour emergency services. It has a cardiopulmonary and vascular system center, digestive disease center, organ and tissue transplant center, and an oncology center. San Vicente Rionegro’s location also includes providers working in sports medicine, clinical psychology, pain relief and palliative care, plastic surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and neurosurgery, as well as a variety of other specialties.
San Vicente and Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe are two of the hospitals that almost everyone in Medellín, from my colleagues, friends and other doctors have told me is a great hospital. One important thing to note is that if you see a doctor here at San Vicente, since all of the doctors who work here are affiliated with this hospital, which means that they will be able to see your medical records and collaborate with other providers at San Vicente, which makes it easier to maintain a continuity of care.
#3 in Medellín: Clínica las Américas (#23 in Latin America)
Diagonal 75B # 2A-80/140, Medellín, Barrio La Mota, Belén
+57 (034) 342 1010
Centro Médico Las Américas, Centro Comercial City Plaza, local 164c
Calle 36D Sur No. 27A-175, Loma del Escobero, Envigado
+57 (034) 345-8202
+57 (034) 345-8357 (Medellín and Colombia),
+ 1 (800) 625-4759 (Calling from the United States
Diagonal 75B # 2 A - 80. Tercer Piso – Torre 3, Barrio La Mota, Belén, Medellín
+57 (034) 345 83 43
Torre Médica Las Américas, Diagonal 75B, 2A-80, second floor, consult room 205, Barrio La Mota, Belén, Medellín
+57 (034) 345-9205
Clínica de las Américas is a private hospital with two locations. It’s first, and primary location is located in Barrio La Mota in Belén, near the Enrique Olaya Herrera airport. Clínica de las Américas reportedly has 500 health professionals, in 77 specialties and sub-specialties. Clínica Las Américas also has an ambulatory care center located in San Fernando Plaza, in the Milla de Oro sector of Poblado and a Torre Médica which is adjacent to the primary clinic in Belén. They also have an international patients service for foreign patients being treated here.
Clínica de las Américas is unique in that it has a specific multidisciplinary women’s institute serving women at all stages of their life, from their reproductive years through post-menopause. Some of the specialties at the women’s institute include gynecologic oncology, endocrinology, assisted reproduction, Maternal-Fetal medicine with providers who specialize in supporting people through low and high-risk pregnancies and more. Clínica de las Américas also has a breast (mastology) center at their San Fernando Plaza location in Poblado. They also have providers specializing in palliative care and pain relief, as well as many providers in a large variety of specialties and sub-specialties.
Clínica de las Américas also has a second location, Centro Médico Las Américas, located in Loma del Escobero in Envigado, a suburb south of Poblado. They are in the midst of building a new location in Envigado, Clínica del Sur which will reportedly have 144 beds and is scheduled to open sometime during the beginning of 2020.
They also have a vaccine clinic for children and adults, and they can administer the yellow fever vaccine for both children and adults. The vaccine clinic is located at Torre Médica Las Américas, Diagonal 75B, 2A-80, second floor, consult room 205, you can schedule an appointment by calling +57 (034) 345-9205. And the vaccine clinic is open from Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Saturdays, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
#4 in Medellín: Hospital General de Medellín (#28 in Latin America)
Carrera 48 # 32-102, Medellín
+57 (4) 384 7300
Hospital General de Medellín is one of Medellín’s public hospitals and it is supported by Medellín’s city government. Hospital General de Medellín offers services in a variety of specialties including cardiology, general surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, internal medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, oncology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, pediatrics, and pulmonology.. Additionally, this hospital has 24 hour emergency services.
It is important to note that Hospital General de Medellín is the only hospital on this list, which does not have an international patient service that caters to foreigners being treated at this hospital. If you are a foreigner visiting Medellín and you reading this post, my recommendation would be for you to go to one of the other hospitals I discuss in this post, since this hospital mainly serves people from Medellín and the surrounding metropolitan area.
#5 in Medellín: Clínica Universitaria Bolivariana (#34 in Latin America)
Carrera 72A # 78B-50, Robledo, Medellín
+57 (034) 445 5900
+57 (034) 448 83 88, option 2
Clínica Universitaria Bolivariana is a teaching hospital which is part of the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) system. The Clínica Universitaria Bolivariana offers a variety of ambulatory and hospital services in a variety of clinical and surgical specialties. Some of the services and specialties for the providers treating patients here include maternal-fetal health, various pediatric sub-specialties, pelvic floor rehabilitation, pediatric and adult psychiatric services, general surgery and a variety of other types of surgeries, obstetrics and gynecology, urogynecology, physical therapy, and sports medicine among others. This hospital also offers an international patient service for foreigners being treated at this hospital.
#6 in Medellín: Clínica El Rosario (#43 in Latin America)
El Centro: Carrera 41 No. 62-5, Villa Hermosa
+57 (034) 295-9000 (Clínica El Rosario El Centro)
El Tesoro in El Poblado: Carrera 20 No. 2Sur-185
+57 (034) 295-9100 (Clínica El Rosario El Tesoro)
+57 (034) 444 1555-Line for both clinics
+57 (034) 326-9100 Ext. 5041
Clínica El Rosario Vaccine Clinic (El Tesoro)
Carrera 20 No. 2Sur-185, El Poblado
+57 (034) 444-1555, EXT. 5110
Calle 17 sur No. 44-06, Barrio Santa María de los Ángeles, El Poblado, Medellín
+57 (034) 444-2006-Appointments
Open: Monday-Sunday 6 AM-9 PM
Clínica El Rosario is a private, non-profit hospital with two locations in Medellín, in El Centro and El Tesoro, in Poblado. The Clínica El Rosario location is located near Parque Comercial El Tesoro. It is important to note that Revista América Economía only recognizes Clínica El Rosario’s location in El Tesoro as #43 of the 58 best hospitals in Latin America, but it is unclear to me as to why this report did not recognize Clínica El Rosario’s location in El Centro as well. However, it appears that Clínica El Rosario’s location in El Tesoro is larger and has much more to offer than their location in El Centro. Clínica El Rosario also appears to have an affiliated clinic, Clínica del Campestre, located in the Santa María de los Ángeles neighborhood of Poblado, near Medellín’s southern border with the suburb of Envigado.
Clínica El Rosario provides 24-hour medical services, cardiovascular surgery, general surgery, imaging, intensive care, plastic surgery, neurosurgery, and outpatient surgeries as well as a variety of other services. Clínica El Rosario’s location in El Tesoro has a neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, and an adult intensive care unit, as well as a maternal surgery unit, oncology unit, obstetrics and gynecology unit, Fetal Emergency unit (day and night), coronary care unit, and a heart institute. Here is a link with more information about the specialties at both of Clínica El Rosario’s locations in Medellín. Finally, Clínica El Rosario has an international patients office which works with foreigners receiving treatment at Clínica El Rosario.
Clínica del Campestre, located in Santa María de Ángeles in Poblado, appears to be affiliated with Clínica El Rosario. Clínica del Campestre has urgent care (consulta prioritaria) appointments available every day from 6 AM to 10 PM. The other specialities available at Clínica del Campestre include orthopedics, dermatology, anesthesiologists specializing in pain management for people undergoing surgery and chronic pain patients, internal medicine, and sports medicine. They also have a laboratory, radiology department, physical therapy, and an ambulatory surgery center for orthopedic surgeries not requiring in-patient hospitalization. Clínica del Campestre does not appear to have an international patients service, although it’s possible that they may have some English speaking staff. I have never visited Clínica del Campestre so I cannot comment on what it is like or the quality of the care. I know other foreigners here who recommended Clínica del Campestre to a friend of mine, when she needed medical attention.
Special note for those who have chronic pain, Clínica El Rosario’s location in El Tesoro’s integrated oncology unit, has a palliative care focus and pain specialists. When I was having a pain crisis last July (2018) and went to the specialized neurology clinic, the doctor who I saw referred me to the pain specialists at this clinic. While I ended up not seeing the pain specialist at this clinic, this is information that I imagine could help someone else in a similar situation.
For those of you who are looking for a vaccine clinic or need to get your yellow fever shot, Clínica El Rosario’s location in El Tesoro has a vaccine clinic for mothers, newborns, children, adolescents, and frequent travelers. The vaccine clinic is reportedly open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 12:30 PM to 7:30 PM. For more information or to schedule an appointment at the vaccine clinic, you can call (034) 444-1555, EXT. 5110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
#7 in Medellín: Clínica Cardio Vid (#44 in Latin America)
El Poblado: Carrera 48 # 20-74
+57 (034) 322 7090 ext. 4020
Robledo: Calle 78B # 75-21
+57 (034) 322 7090
+57 (034) 322 70 90 ext. 4608
Clínica Cardio Vid, part of the Congregation of Mariana, are two hospitals specializing in diagnostics, emergency, and comprehensive care for cardiovascular, thoracic, pulmonary and neurovascular diseases in adults and children. Clínica Cardio Vid is known as a leader in Colombia for heart and lung transplants, as well as for treating for patients with complex congenital heart defects. Clínica Cardio Vid also has an international patients service for foreign patients receiving treatment at their clinics.
#8 in Medellín: Clínica Medellín (#53 in Latin America)
El Occidente: Carrera 65B # 30-95, Belén
+57 (034) 444-6152
El Poblado: Calle 7 # 39-290, El Poblado (The clinic faces Avenida El Poblado/Carrera 43A)
+57 (034) 311 2800
Clínica Medellín’s International Patients Office
Between its two locations in Medellín, Clínica Medellín offers a wide variety of medical services. The services provided at Clínica Medellín include and are not limited to: anesthesiology, cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, thoracic surgery, general surgery, plastic surgery, pediatric surgery, vascular surgery, dermatology, gynecology, obstetrics, intensive care, pulmonology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, oncology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, pathology, pediatrics, radiology, urology, and several others. They also have a sleep unit and physical therapy unit.
Furthermore, Clínica Medellín also has an international patients office with staff who work with foreigners receiving treatment at Clínica Medellín, advising them before they arrive in Medellín, during their stay and following their departure.
I have visited the emergency room at Clínica Medellín in Poblado, twice in 2018 and before you ask, no I did no go to the emergency room at Clínica Medellín for research purposes for this blog post. I first visited in March, soon after I had first arrived in Medellín, I fell walking in the street with some friends and sprained my foot/ankle (pre-Sura). Later in 2018 August, I had another fateful visit to Clínica Medellín after I paid the price for spending close to six hours on the ciclovía on Avenida Poblado without sunscreen. I learned my lesson to ALWAYS WEAR SUNSCREEN WHEN YOU ARE ON THE CICLOVÍA since it is not fun to be in so much pain from your sunburn that it hurts to wear clothes. Both times I went to Clínica Medellín I found the staff to be professional, the doctors kind, courteous, good listeners, and professional with a good sense of humor. When you are someone like me who has spent a good amount of time in the clinic for one reason or another, you really appreciate the doctors who can help you, are kind, good listeners, and laugh with you and/or at your jokes.
Luckily, I am not as well as well-acquainted with Clínica Medellín or the staff at the Poblado location, like I was with Clínica Alemana emergency room staff after some mishaps with hot water and cactus spines. After many follow up visits at Clínica Alemana in June and July 2015, after having a pendeja moment with a hot water bottle that led to a second degree burn, it got to the point, where I had to go to Clínica Alemana’s emergency room for follow up treatment for the burn that I began recognizing the emergency room doctors and they began recognizing me.
To my friends and family who are reading this, bless y’all’s hearts and thank you for trying to have a sense humor with me about how I am trying to save myself, from myself. However, real talk y’all, for everyone reading this, if I did not need to be saved from myself a lot which results in too many “pendeja moments,” I would be at a loss for material for a lot of my jokes. I would have missed out on the opportunity to learn a lot of Spanish, develop a sense of humor in Spanish and not be as good as laughing at myself and solving problems. Usually, when I have my pendeja moments, I go by myself to the clinic, since I avoid dragging my friends and family, into my messes.
Clínica Medellín’s location in Poblado also has a large Torre Médica with a variety of doctors, including doctors specializing in neurology and alternative medicine. They also have a CediMed location, where you can get an MRI done under anesthesia. When I had to get a head and spine MRI at the CediMed location at Clínica Medellín under anesthesia during September 2018, I had as good of an experience one could have while getting an MRI. The anesthesiologist and other staff were kind, professional, respectful and competent. This hospital also has an international patient service for foreigners being treated at this hospital, but this office is open only during regular business hours.
#9 in Medellín: Clínica Las Vegas (#58 in Latin America)
Calle 2 Sur # 46-55, El Poblado
+57 (034) 315 9000
+57 (034) 315-9000
+57 (034) 444-4517 (Landline)
+57 (321) 769-8095
Clínica Las Vegas located off Avenida Las Vegas (Carrera 48) in Poblado is a hospital offering a large variety of healthcare services, the specialties here include anesthesia, cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, orthopedics, and otolaryngology. In particular there are many orthopedists and physical therapists here. According to my physical therapist here at Clínica Las Vegas, this apparently the place where a lot of people who are in motorcycle and car accidents come here for treatment. Two of the other core strengths at Clínica Las Vegas besides orthopedics include cardiovascular specialties and infectious diseases. There are also a variety of doctors and other health professionals who have offices here. Additionally, Clínica Las Vegas has an international patients office with an English speaking staff to support international patients. I have used the International Patient Service at Clínica Las Vegas and found it to be helpful for me, during July 2018, with scheduling appointments and dealing with Sura when I was having a pain crisis. This clinic also has the emergency room for EPS Sura.
Clínica Las Vegas is the only clinic I have ever been to and believe me, I have been to many clinics, too many clinics, that has a hair salon and laser hair removal. Yes, on the main floor in the Fase I building, you can get your hair cut and styled and also go to the doctor. Before you ask, I have not done anything beauty related at Clínica Las Vegas, but if someone wants to Venmo me money so I can do that and write about it for the blog, I would be happy to go and report back.
Clínica Las Vegas has three buildings, Fase I, Fase II and Fase III, which house the clinic and doctors’ offices. However, one thing that frustrates me about Clínica Las Vegas is that it can feel like a maze with the three buildings and since the buildings are older, they might have the infrastructure to accommodate as many people as comfortably as say Clínica Medellín’s location in Poblado does. And they do not have wifi available if you are not a patient at the hospital here. However, this clinic can feel disorganized and there is some room for improvement. All of the doctors here at Clínica Las Vegas that are not working at the hospital are all independent, so this means if you see an internist and an orthopedist at Clínica Las Vegas, they cannot share patient records with each other since they are independent practitioners not affiliated with Clínica Las Vegas. This is not the case at Clínica Alemana in Santiago where all of the doctors there can see all of your medical records with other medical professionals at that hospital since they are work Clínica Alemana, which makes for easier continuity of care. There are some great doctors at Clínica Las Vegas and it’s a fine clinic, but given my experiences with not getting properly billed for consults at Clínica Las Vegas, I would recommend that you proceed with caution. Given the choice I would probably go to Clínica Medellín or somewhere else in the future.
During February 2019, while I was checking in for an MRI here, I was notified that I owed money for a copay for a doctor’s appointment from JULY 2018. According, to the people at the billing office, I allegedly did not pay my copay for a consult. They tried to tell me that I owed a copay for this MRI, when I do not have a copay with my insurance for any diagnostic tests like MRIs. They would not let me do the MRI until I paid this copay from seven months earlier. It seemed really weird to me that no one tried to email me, call me or send me a bill in the mail for the $31.000 COP that I allegedly owed? Given this strange experience with billing, I am not inclined to want to return here, since I am not sure if I can trust the people here to bill me correctly. When I talked to asesor from Sura, he thought this was an extremely suspicious situation and he had never heard of anything like this happening before.
To add insult to injury, even though I had taken medication that morning before leaving for the MRI appointment I was in a significant amount of pain after this MRI. After the MRI, I asked the nurses in the radiology department if they could give me something to help me manage this pain and they refused to help or really do anything except send me to the pharmacy. When it would have been easy for them to call have and have someone to give me a quick Diclofenac injection. This lack of pain management is made even worse, by the fact that Clínica Las Vegas has a sign in their lobby, explaining their pain management policy. Given all of this, and how how the whole process to get an MRI at Clínica Las Vegas, from start to finish with scheduling the procedure to the actual MRI, was inefficient and the staff was not helpful, I am not inclined to return to do anything significant at Clínica Las Vegas or recommend anyone get an MRI at Clínica Las Vegas.
On other hand, I have never had any such problems at Clínica Medellín and have always found the staff there to be friendly, helpful and professional. Having now gotten an MRI at both Clínica Las Vegas and Clínica Medellín in Poblado, I found the doctors and staff at Clínica Medellín’s location in Poblado and CediMed at Clínica Medellín in Poblado to be more organized, professional, helpful, and efficient than the people I encountered in Clínica Las Vegas’ radiology department.
Note about orthopedics and Orvé at Clínica Las Vegas: This is for anyone looking for an orthopedics clinic in Medellín. I have seen a few orthopedists here in Medellín for different things, but I particularly liked Orvé. Orvé is one of the big orthopedics centers at Clínica Las Vegas, located on the first floor of Fase I, in front of the food court area. I personally have seen Dr. Bacca here at Orvé, he is an English speaking doctor, who specializes in treating people with foot and ankle issues and is on faculty for at least one medical school here in Medellín. Dr. Bacca’s experience, research, publications, and CV, is on par with some of the really good specialists I have seen in the United States. When I started going to physical therapy here at Clínica Las Vegas for a foot and ankle injury and was in a significant amount of pain, this is the doctor that my physical therapist told that I should see. And I was able to get an appointment for this doctor the next day, which was amazing, since I was expecting to have wait at least week to get into to see this doctor.
When I first saw Dr. Bacca, I was in a significant amount of pain, he really understood that I was in pain and needed help. It was quite a different experience for me to have a doctor acknowledge that my pain was real and significant and that getting to the root of it is a priority. When I was told that he wanted me to get an MRI that same day, he made sure that someone from his office went with me to try to help me schedule an MRI as soon as possible. While I was not able to get an MRI for the same day, I got an appointment to get an MRI two days later. For the record, I have had MRIs in many places and I have never been able to get in for an MRI anywhere that quickly. This is not say that there are not other good orthopedists or orthopedists centers in Medellín, I wanted to share my experience. Before seeing Dr. Bacca, I had seen a different orthopedist a few weeks earlier for the same problem. This other doctor gave me walking boot, an injection of pain meds, some prescriptions and prescription for physical therapy, and told to come back if my foot ankle were still hurting. However, I have only seen Dr. Bacca here at Orvé, so I cannot comment on how good the rest of the doctors are at Orvé and what they are like.
*The opinions expressed here in this post about my experiences are my own and do not constitute any medical advice, since I am not a healthcare professional. You might go to the same places or see the same providers and have a completely different experience.*
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