Mexicali – Calexico Border
Despite being the baby sister to the much larger Mexican city of Mexicali, as Calexico residents know, it’s not all hardship and misery of the American side of the border. Visitors to Calexico from Mexicali bring a daily infusion of cash which has spared Calexico the fate of many other small cities in the midst of long-term economic downturns. Frankly, without Mexicali; Calexico would have struggled to survive. Instead, while Calexico’s average income trails the overall average for California, the city continues to have strong growth, and stable home values which are two things few other cities can claim.
What about the residents themselves? Unemployment remains high at over 14%, peaking at over 27% last March. The health of the residents hasn’t fared well either, as the numbers of people with chronic health problems here in Calexico and nationwide from such conditions as obesity and diabetes continues to skyrocket. Due to a youthful population, statistics demonstrate artificially low rates of cardiovascular disease. However, a combination of factors, in the next ten years as Calexico ages, the incidence of cardiovascular disease and deaths will double, even triple.
In the past, residents’ access to healthcare was limited by both geographic and financial considerations; the nearest ‘full-service’ hospital is in El Centro, and even that option fails to serve the uninsured, and the critically ill.
Once again, Mexicali may be the savior to the city. Just over the fence lies the solution that Calexico residents and others seek, and it arrives just in time, as the high rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes act as a ticking time bomb for Calexico’s cardiovascular health.
That solution is Dr. Cuauhtemoc Vasquez, MD, Mexicali’s first full-time heart surgeon, and at a fraction of the cost of services in California – he’s an affordable one.
Our next article comes from the operating room of Dr. Vasquez in Mexicali, Mexico as we talk about Crossing borders for Cardiovascular Health.
This article is the first in a series discussing medical tourism for Calexico residents in light of recent changes to border crossing procedures including the addition of a fast track medical tourist lane.
 Recent statistics report a population change of 43.2% since 2000, and home sales have rebounded starting in the 3rd quarter of 2010.
Imperial County Health Status Report, 2008: The incidence of Diabetes in Imperial County is double that of the remainder of California. http://www.icphd.org/menu_file/2008_HealthStatusReport.pdf
The average Calexico resident is in their late 20’s, several years younger than residents in other California cities.