Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Covid 19 US Visa Medical Experience at St. Lukes Medical Center Extension Clinic

 Hi everyone,

As you all know I'm finally with my husband and migrating to the US very soon. I just wanted to share with you how the US visa medical went.

NOTE THIS EXPERIENCE WAS DURING COVID 19 PANDEMIC

First of all, once you get an interview scheduled you need to set an appointment online with St. Lukes Extension Clinic (SLMCEC). Do remember that there are two, Manila and BGC. I went to the one in Manila as thats whats indicated on the embassy email. 

The email that you will receive will have a link to the website where you can schedule an appointment. I got my appointment email October 29 and on the same day I scheduled the medical exam for October 30. I was in a hurry because my interview date was set November 5 so I have to get moving and have the tests done. 

I was able to get a confirmation email in less than an hour and i was set. 

Here are the things that you need before going to the medical appointment:

  • US visa compliant photos
  • Passport
  • SLMCEC appointment letter
  • Embassy appointment email
  • Copy of Bio Page on your passport
  • DS-260 confirmation

Depending on your age, the cost of the medical exam differs
15 y/o and older  -         Php 17,025
younger than 15 y/o-     Php   9,583

They accept cash and major credit cards (visa and mastercard)

For more detailed information you can visit St Luke's Medical Center Extension Clinic Website

To be specific Im going to the US on a Immigrant visa (CR1) it was the same test as everyone else going to the US. Please refer to the flow charts below 


photos from st lukes website

So heres how it went:

I arrived reasonably early around 5:30 am on the day of the exam (Oct 30), the line was long already. Before you stay in line go to the security guard and ask for a number and they will then ask you for what country (I was going to the US and then i said that), they will then provide you a number and you have to fill out a health declaration form. The security guard will then scan the documents you have and assemble it for you before entry. I had an online scheduled appointment so I dont need to fill out a physical form. They allowed us in before the counters even open, the time i entered there was already around 30 people inside sitting. There was also a lady calling in the numbers for photos for the medicals, they call using the name of the country and number, i was US 10 so they called numbers that way. Be very aware as sometimes they skip your number. They do other countries to so be aware when they skipped your number to ask the lady nicely and tell them your number. (it was all jumbled up countries so no wonder that this happens at times).

After your photo was taken, you will be asked to wait for your number to be called on the counter, they still use country + number code. I was called and the documents were taken and verified, you will be given a paper and then also your passport to go to 5th floor to pay. I used the elevator since its 5th floor and i was on 1st floor. There was only one window for the cashier, and thankfully there wasnt any line. 

I have to give my papers to the receiving area every single counter that you go to. You basically have to move your papers along after you are done on one station to another. This is a very common scenario in the clinic. And make sure you give it to the correct counter, as there are multiple countries and if you mix it up it will delay your progress.

Next was taking vitals, height, weight, blood pressure, pulse rate and vision. As for the vision part make sure that you have your glasses or contacts with you and tell them if you are wearing any.
I was then instructed to go for the Xray on the 3rd floor. I have to leave my papers on the reception area on that floor and then wait for my name to be called, once called you will be instructed as to what room you are supposed to go. Males and female rooms are separated and there is a changing room that is free for all. Yup there is one changing room and you have to leave your clothes there and things. You will be asked to wear a hospital gown with no bras (for girls) also you need to keep your hair all tied up and not obstructing the Xrays. once you are done dress up and leave the lab gown outside on the dedicated basket. 
You will be handed your papers again and will be asked to go to laboratory. (im already using the stairs at this point going up and down as the elevators are always full and i dont have time for delays.) Same thing, leave the papers and wait for name to be called. At this phase blood work was taken from me (yes i hate needles and it freaks me out whenever im poked with it intentionally) and urine sample was taken (to save a lot of time, i drank a lot of water on my way to the clinic and hold it in). 
There was also a point where there was a questionnaire where there is a medical checklist and for girls its important to know when you had your last period (LMP on the form) and also your last sexual contact.  
I was then asked to go to to an interview with the doctor about my medical history, like measles or if i already had chicken pox (which i had when i was a kid but i didnt get any scars from it) and other medical stuff. I suggest ask your guardians, parents for info as much as possible before going and also ask for immunization records (we call that Bakuna in the Philippines) as its gonna be of great help. I was then asked to take remove clothing and have a physical exam (yes my doctor is a female). I was asked to turn around etc, there was also a stomach exam where they press on your stomach gently on different areas (maybe to check if there is an anomaly in your body i guess).
After the laboratory bloodletting, you will be asked to go to radiology again for releasing of the xray- this was  a bit confusing as i didnt really get any physical copies of my xray. I asked what time will it be released, they said i need to wait til 10:30 (it was around 9 or so) so i went out to get something to eat and kill the time. Upon return i was told that i was on the clear and i can go to immunization, I left my papers on the reception on that department and then i was called after around 2 hours at the most. And i was in for a treat, I was given a waiver to sign with all the adverse effects of the vaccines and that SLMC is not liable if it goes wrong, and yes i was slightly interviewed and then the vials came in, i realized whats gonna happen and its not a fun experience for me. Mostly because im scared of injections, i was able to tough it out and 3 injections were given to me at that point, MMR, Tdap(tetanus) and varicella. 
After I felt like a human pin cushion i was led out, feeling successful as i was able to not lose my mind during the whole injection ordeal. I brought with me some band aids so i used that before going home. 

I waited a bit to get my papers from them expecting that it might be an envelop and such, but they just returned my passport with a stamp and some numbers and signature, they mentioned that they do it online at this point and no papers are needed, the stamp represents that im good for interview and should be able to go to the embassy without hiccups on the medical end. 

For people who have something going on with their xrays they need to wait 2 month for the culture sample to check for tuberculosis.

on a side note, i spent half a day for my medicals to my own surprise, it was fast and well organized. you just need to go up and down the stairs a lot, mostly because of the socially distanced elevator situation. the nurses that administered the vaccines was actually fast and not fumbling around, the blood letting was also pretty fast. (i pinched myself pretty hard during all of those times). Everyone wear masks and face shields, social distancing was somewhat followed as some floors tend to be more crowded than others. 

Photos are not allowed inside the establishment and i cant put the stamp that st lukes put on my passport as they have personal info on them. 

Anyway, I hope you find this helpful and remember to keep safe!

Therese

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