Medical Matters: Admission! Part I

What is the process when one needs to be admitted to a hospital here? Whether it be an emergency or a ‘planned surgery’? Today we will talk about being admitted to a private hospital in the area. Being admitted to a public hospital is a bit different and we can cover that in another article.

It is important that one carries with them a list of medications they take, emergency contact information, medication allergies and copy of ID.

Upon admission, if one has insurance, insurance card/information needs to be given. The admitting department will contact the insurance company to open a case. Hopefully, it is an insurance that will respond quickly with what is called a ‘guarantee of payment’ (GOP) which will state that yes, the person has coverage and the company will pay directly to the hospital. This GOP will also state if the patient has a deductible or co-pay and said patient will be responsible for this portion.  In most cases, even if the patient has insurance, a deposit will be required. This is like opening a bar tab. For those with insurance, once the GOP is received the deposit is canceled. Of course, a deposit can be paid via credit card.  The amount of the deposit (especially if one does not have insurance) will be based on the admitting diagnosis. For example, if someone is being admitted for a heart attack, going to the Intensive Care Unit the deposit required will be substantially higher than if someone is being admitted for dehydration and the patient is going to a regular room (not the ICU). Most hospitals will work with the patient/patient family on the deposit. Perhaps monies need to be transferred from the US/Canada or family members need to be contacted for assistance. If, after a specific amount of time, all resources have been exhausted and the patient has no funds, then the patient will need to be transferred to the Regional Hospital (public hospital). This is a topic for another day (public versus private system).

Admission paperwork is done, consents are signed. All of these are in Spanish. Oftentimes people say “I want these in English”. By law here, all of the paperwork, records, notes….the works, must be in Spanish but can be explained to the patient/family.

After the admission, there is still a flurry of paperwork to be done for background information, data collection. Dietary, medications, background information. It oftentimes seems overwhelming with continual hospital staff in and out of the room with questions.

If the patient is on specific medications and has their own, then yes, they can usually ‘use’ their own medications BUT the medications must be submitted to the medical staff and given by the medical staff, to be returned to the patient at discharge.

It is normal upon admission, especially an emergency admission to have lab work done, diagnostic studies (X-rays, CT scan, etc.) depending on the diagnosis.

The patient’s diet will be determined by the admitting physician. “I am hungry!’ the patient says but if they are going to surgery, having specific studies or perhaps are being admitted for a gastric issue, the diet is going to be nil, nada. Or it could be clear liquids, bland. It all depends on the admitting physicians order. Hospital food here can vary from really good to really yucky, depending on the hospital. Most are pretty much based around chicken or fish.

The patient is now settled in their room (all of the private hospitals here are private rooms). There is WIFI (yes, one can have their tablet, phone), satellite TV (yes there are channels in English). No way out of it, the patient must wear the standard hospital gown and not their own clothes. Friends or family can bring personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.). This of course, is an admission that is not in the ICU which I will cover in another article.

Friends and family can visit with no more than 3 at a time. Flowers/plants are not allowed in patient rooms due to allergies.

Next week we will talk about the daily routine as a patient.

Here’s to a sparkling week!

Pamela Thompson on Email
HealthCare Resources Puerto Vallarta is a multi-faceted, independent, resource network that is here for your TOTAL health and well-being. We offer English-speaking assistance to help find a physician, hospital and/or diagnostic service for any healthcare needs. As well, we are here to answer any health-related questions that you might have in relation to the Puerto Vallarta area.


    1. It is a private hospital open to the public. The public hospital is called the Regional Hospital. there are also IMSS hospitals which are public but for people who are on the IMMS medical Insurance. If you have specific concerns I suggest you reach out to Pam Thompson at pamela(AT)

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