Foreign physicians must pass a test on general medicine, to be offered twice annually, in order to be allowed to practice in the country. It’s known as an equalization exam and is offered by the School of Medicine of the UCR. It is for foreigners as well as Costa Ricans who have graduated abroad.
The country is in need of foreign doctors to help shorten waiting lists for various specialties but they must be doctors who can prove their knowledge so as not to negatively affect the quality offered in public hospitals. Doctors must pass the 100-question test with at least 70%. Then they can join the College of Physicians and practice in Costa Rica.
The test used to be offered just once a year but last year many failed it and left the country. This is why there will be a second opportunity. This agreement was the result of joint work between the College of Physicians, the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund and the UCR.
The Minister of Health asked for the temporary work permits of seven specialists to be extended until they are able to retake the test. This helps lower waiting lists where there have been shortages of specialists. The permits will be extended for two anesthesiologists, two pediatricians, two gynecologists and an orthopedist. In August, 44 specialists will graduate and be distributed in hospitals throughout the country.