Medical lane expedites border waiting time at Calexico port of e

Medical lane expedites border waiting time at Calexico port of entry

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Mexicali, B.C.--Border waiting time for U.S. patients crossing into Mexico to use medical services has been expedited thanks to the new medical lane created next to the SENTRI lane at the Calexico port of entry.

One man said he traveled about four hours to see a Mexicali doctor.

"It's excellent, look at all the time we saved," Jose Antonio Becerra said.

A woman from Indio, California said she travels once a month for medical services as well.

"It benefits us because the line is long and we don't have to wait that much or waste all our afternoon waiting in line," Jessica Moreno said.

Mexicali's department of tourism officials said about 120,000 people cross into Mexico to use medical services.

They say the lane, which was created recently, aims to boost medical tourism and Mexicali's economy.

"We are working to make it easier for them," Victor Manuel Sanchez, president of Mexicali committee of tourism said. "We want those people to continue to come back and wait less at the border."

The medical lane is free of charge and U.S. patients must get a pass to use the lane from doctors who are in the program.

Mexicali tourism police or a program representative must verify required documents in order for them to open the medical lane gate.

Security cameras are running 24 hours and seven days a week to make sure no one abuses the lane and gains unauthorized entry.

"This is exclusively for residents in the U.S., Canada, or other foreign country who are seeking medical services in Mexicali," Sanchez said. "But their doctor must be enlisted in the program."

Users must also have American license plates, prove that they reside in the U.S. and show a reciept of their medical visit.

The lane's hour of operation is Monday through Saturday from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 8pm.

On Sundays, its open from 9am to 2pm.

"It's perfect....the truth is a lot of us don't want to come because it will take forever to cross back," Maribel Cruz, a medical lane user said.

Tourism officials said about 50 medical practitioners are currently part of the program. They encourage U.S. patients to ask their doctors to register in the program.

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