Daniel suggested that I capture some of my recently learned experience regarding the IMSS Mexican health system. This isn't a comprehensive IMSS user manual, just some quick tips for people who already know the basics or are already members.
Regarding IMSS annual renewals, we (Donna and I) renewed in Manzanillo back in January. Nothing new; it went just like last year. No mention of needing to go to PV to renew. You can search for other posts for renewal requirements and location of the current renewal office in Manzanillo, near the Hospital General. IMSS costs roughly US$200 to US$400 per year, depending on your gender and age. All treatment is included in the annual premium, including drugs and specialists. No co-pays.
HOWEVER, be careful: when we went into our normal IMSS clinic (it used to be in San Patricio/Melaque, but is now located between Jaluco and Aguacate) for a scheduled appointment in February, we got a shock. In the past we have been told to check in with the Administration woman there at the clinic every year after renewing to update us in their local computer system. This time she said we can't use the "Melaque" clinic because patients from La Manzanilla are in the boundary of the next clinic up the coast. We had heard something like this before, but we were always able to get them to keep us there. But now they have a new computer system just installed this January in the local clinics that will not permit us to stay there. She said her hands were tied.
So we gave up and now are using the "correct" clinic for our location. It's called the "Careyes" clinic (UMF# 070), but in 2010 it was moved from the little village of Careyitos to the even smaller village of Villa Polinesia farther up the coast. It's almost a 1-hour drive north of here, just this side of Perula. See below for detailed directions if you ever need to go there. It's not easy to find the first time.
So even though we have to go twice as far, and in the wrong direction to get anything done in Melaque or Cihuatlan, we actually like the new clinic. They still send us to the same specialists we use in Manzanillo and Colima; not to PV. And this new clinic actually has a phone you can call for appointments, or even to ask about traslados (specialist referrals) to go to the specialists. The number is 315-351-0441 (Spanish only.) And they even can call us back if needed. There is never a crowd there, so the service is great.
In contrast, The "Melaque" clinic doesn't have a phone for patients to call. Even to check for the approval of our specialist appointment, we had to go there in person every week for sometimes a month or two to check the book of released specialist appointments that is sitting on the counter at the pharmacy window. What a pain!
So anyway, if you want to stay in the "Melaque" clinic, I would recommend never talking to the admin person, and never mentioning where you live. But if you do get changed to "Careyes", it's not all bad. Good luck!
Directions to IMSS clinic #70:
* Go north on Highway 200 toward PV.
* After about 50 minutes you go through Chamela.
* About 9 km past Chamela, and 1/2 km past right turn-off to Villa Purificacion, you should see the left turn-off to Villa Polinesia.
* If you get to the exit to Punta Perula you have gone 1 km too far.
See Google Street View images of turn-off:
* Make the left turn from the highway through the wood pole-and-palapa archway onto the dirt road heading toward the ocean, looking at the right turns as you go. The street you want is 250 meters (1/4 km or 0.2 miles) from the archway back at Highway 200.
* Turn right onto this unsigned dirt street, then after 50 meters turn left at the "T" intersection, and the IMSS Clinic is immediately on your left. Don't park under the shade trees along the yellow curb; that's staff parking only. You get to park out in the sun along the fence.
(see Google Satellite view)
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