Apr 03 2015

More Great Caja Experiences: Learn the System

by Norman Siegel

SiegelsWe are learning the system! The first CAJA 101 lesson — always take all your paperwork from the doctors with you.

One purpose of our visit to our EBAIS (local clinic) doctor last month was to get prescriptions for our medications through the Caja. We had been paying for them out-of-pocket at the local pharmacy. We were told that the prescription for one of the meds Frankie needs for blood pressure couldn’t be written by our doctor; it had to come from a specialist. We had an appointment already set up with the specialist for a month from then, but wondered how we could get the medication in the meantime from the CAJA?  We asked the doctor and she gave us a referral to the ER at San Rafael Hospital. We went there, waited in line for about 20 minutes, and saw a doctor who did an EKG. He wrote Frankie a prescription for this medication and we got it that same day!

San Rafael Caja Hospital in Alajuela

The ER doctor also wrote a note to our EBAIS doctor, explaining that since Frankie does need this med, she could write the prescription for us when it ran out. So, at the end of the month, we went back to our EBAIS doctor with the letter and she was, in fact, able to write a prescription for this medication.

We took it to the clinic pharmacy to be filled, and were told that the pharmacist also needs the letter from the ER doctor in order to fill it for Frankie. The pharmacist also said that they don’t normally stock that medication, but with the letter from the ER doctor, she could get it for us. Since we didn’t know this ahead of time, we didn’t have a copy of the letter with us. She said we should go home, get the letter, and go back to the hospital to have it filled; then next month bring in the prescription with the letter and she would get it for us.

DocSignRXSo, home we went, and then back to the ER, where they told us to go to the hospital pharmacy to get it filled. We walked over to the pharmacy, and were told that, since the doctor who wrote the Rx was not a specialist, we needed to have the Director of ER sign it also. We went looking for him, and found out he had gone on vacation — all the while, not speaking Spanish very well yet, but making ourselves understood.

A very helpful nurse told us he would try to help us. He took us to the secretary, and she said the doctor filling in would be back soon. We waited, and when he came in, he apologized numerous times for the waiting, and trouble we had getting taken care of. He signed and stamped the prescription, and back to the pharmacy we went. They took it and said come back in the morning to pick up the medication.

This took a couple of hours, but if you have the patience, a good attitude, and are polite, you can get things done. You just have to learn how to work the system! 

Bio: Norman & Frankie Siegel were both born in Pennsylvania, Norman in Scranton and Frankie in Philadelphia. They have lived in New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, which lead to their adventurous life. They have owned every type of RV made and have also had two boats. To see all the states, they took a job as team drivers in an 18-wheel truck, going cross-country for seven years. In 2006, while managing properties, Norman wanted to move to Costa Rica. But since Frankie was not ready to leave the States, all he could do was study and read up on all there was to offer here. When the “RFL in CR” newsletter started, he followed it every month. One morning in the fall of 2013, Frankie woke up and said, “Why not now?” That’s all it took. They found an apartment on-line in Alajuela and booked a flight. They arrived in Costa Rica on January 28, 2014 and have been living the “Pura Vida” life ever since. In December of that year, they moved to San Ramon to better enjoy their life and are actually living at the Cabinas where Paul & Gloria spent their first four years in Costa Rica.

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