Being in Shanghai over week-long holiday (National Day)

Shanghai has 2 week-long holidays, one during Chinese New Year (end of Jan) and one during National Day (Oct 1). It is always fun, and somewhat unusual, to get a full week of holiday. It was amazing to see so many people on the road and in the shops in the initial couple days of the vacation in our xujiahui area, but then it reduced to a more normal state. For us, since this was the first week after I joined office, we had to start our search for a good maternity hospital. After lots of research, and many recommendations and brickbats from Shanghaiexpat.com and ShanghaiMamas mailing list, we went to ParkwayHealth.

We got an appointment with a doctor many had recommended. Initial impression of the hospital was good, but found out later that it was too expensive and only 50% of the cost was covered by our insurance (and I thought Microsoft insurance would cover everything!). Doctor was indeed good, but we need to find someone else I guess.

Next on the list was International Peace Maternity which is a part of China Welfare Institute and has been set up in collaboration with John Hopkins. We visited one of their in-patient unit, and the décor of the floor as we entered it amazed us, it was like a 5-star hotel lobby, with elaborate decorations, big and luxurious sofa, carpets and marble floors and big reception area, but with no one to speak English! They finally found a doctor who spoke English and gave some basic information about the hospital (all the rooms were occupied so we couldn’t take a look) but we were told to come in couple days when out-patient and customer service area will be open. We were mightily impressed and returned in couple of days and went to another floor this time. It had the same awesome look, but again we couldn’t find anyone speaking English easily, and now our plan is to take an appointment and go next week when all facilities will be open. Language is likely to be an issue in this hospital but infrastructure and resources should be great since all 15 floors are dedicated to maternity and child health.

We visited American Sino OB/Gyn next which is set up in collaboration with HuaShan Hospital. It was tough finding the hospital, and its out-patient and in-patient are at separate locations (10 min walk) which can be a problem later on. However, the facilities were pretty good. Couple of things I liked about them: one, the doctor you consult with during the pregnancy period is the same one who is there to deliver the baby and two, all rooms are single occupancy rooms so you have the privacy you need (even though insurance companies want you to take semi-private rooms).

We are still to go to Peace Maternity with appointment, but the choice is likely to be tough. Language seems the biggest deal-breaker for Peace Maternity as of now.

Buying medicine is also proving quite a task, though it needn’t be. My insurance says that they pay 80% of the medicine cost if bought from non-govt hospitals, and will pay 100% if I buy from govt hospitals. However, of the two govt places I asked, they didn’t understand the English prescription that Pathway doctor wrote, and anyway I didn’t answer what they said about it since they only spoke Chinese. Hopefully I will be able to find a solution to this soon and then I can post it here.

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