Italian Health Care

on Wednesday, February 08, 2006

With each doctor visit here in Italy, makes me more disgusted by the health care system here. The Italian health care system is a welfare system, meaning everyone is covered and doctor visits etc are covered by the State, or have a low co-pay. Ok that is all fine and dandy, but lacks in organization. For example, my orthodontist wanted a panoramic x-ray of my mouth. So he wrote a "prescription" which I had to take to my family doctor for him to write an actual prescription then I had to take that to the local hospital, make an appointment for the x-ray. Return for the appointment, go back to the hospital a few days later to pick up the x-ray and take it to my orthodontist. This is normal, even for a simple blood test.

Then there's the hospital itself. Thankfully I've never had to spend any amount of serious time there. Mainly just to visit a family member and the occasional test. I'd be horrified to be an actual patient in the hospital. The buildings themselves look like something out of a 1950's or 60's horror film. If hospitals looked like that in the States, they for sure would be either condemned or who know's what else. Once my Italian mother-in-law was in the hospital for a few days, she shared a room with three other patients, with no bathroom in the room, they had to go down the hall to use the restroom. When my sister-in-law had her daughter, the bedframe had rust on it, and she was in one of the "better" hospitals in Milan.

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12 comments:

Tracie B. said...

well you aren't kidding about that. i would say that the hospital down here in naples hasn't been remodeled since the first world war...

by the way, who's the texan among you gals?

Anonymous said...

you idiots..it's the world's best health system after France..educate yourself and stop picking at old buildings...morons

Ann said...

Now who is the mornon here Mr/Ms Anonymous? You hide your "identity", are you afraid of something? Do you have any facts to back up your claim as far as Italy's health care system being 2nd only after France? From what I heard, Germany also has a pretty good system. I've seen a hospital and the system in Scotland, all I can say is wow. What impressed me the most was how ORGANIZED it was, and like Italy, a public health system. From what I have used of the Italian health system, if it weren't for my father-in-law, I would be lost in the system so to speak. I do not doubt that the care is good, it is just arriving at that point. If only more funds/time/organization/efforts where put into the Italian health system, would be a great help. I think the health system here has a lot of potential, don't get me wrong, it's just disorganized!

michael said...

anonymous was right italy does have 2nd best health system in the world look up world health organization stats anyway ann if you're not happy go back to your great health system in usa make sure you have private insurance then again that probably won't help you and your government sure as hell won't because they're all in the pockets of the insurance e pharmaceutical companies so its not god bless america god help america and no i'm not anti american i know not all americans are like you thinking that the world owes you

Ann said...

Michael, or is it Michele? Yes I have since read about the World Health Organization's stats. Stats are just that, stats, numbers. Are they judging the Italian system on the entire country, or only parts? I know the American health system run by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Tell me something that I don't know. I have been on both sides of the tracks in the States, uninsured and insured. I personally know people that are without insurance. The system is crap, along with the Administration.
If the Italian system is so "perfect", why did my ITALIAN husband decide to treat a 2nd degree burn I had here at home versus taking me to the emergency room?

Luc said...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/features/article2186859.ece

Ann said...

Loc, the article you posted is about someone's experience in Umbria. That is just ONE region in Italy. One out of twenty. Care is going to vary from region to region, even possibly from one hospital to the next.

Fred said...

Italy deserves its number 2 healthcare ranking, which is confirmed not only by the World Health Organization but also the US Commonwealth Fund. The US is down at number 37 in the world and dead last among industrialized nations.

I have nothing but praise for the healthcare system in Tuscany. The healthcare system in Italy is run by individual regions, so one has to be careful when making assessments. From what I have seen in Tuscany, taking my father for a prostrate operation and my step-mother for a hip transplant, the system is far superior to the system and facilities in the US.

The older hospital in Pisa Santa Croce is really nice and I like the old buildings. The rooms all had TVs and the food was the best hospital food I have seen. The new hospital in Pisa at Cisanello is ultra-high tech in architecture and is too modern for my tastes, but it was adequate for the hip transplant. It had TV and internet facilties for patients, wired hook ups because they said wireless could cause problems with certain medical equipment.

My step-mother was even given free a 30 day at a luxury spa for rehabilitation. I recall that when my wife had a hip transplant in the US she got a nurse for 3 days and only 2 days in hospital. The US insurance companies are criminal.

Temporary Health Insurance said...

Keep hearing of how medical care in other Countries is much to be desired. Definitely thankful for the Hospitals in the US. In Brazil you have to bring your own sheets, pillows and go to the local pharmacy to get your medicine.

mucheng said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thomas Hodges said...

The standards of hospitals and health-care in general in Italy, is largely dependent upon region, as it is regionally funded. I reside in the Veneto region and I can safely say that we have some of the best health care in the world, with modern hospitals and equipment, with state-of-the-art technology, together with highly trained Doctors and nurses (my wife just gave birth to our son here, and it was like being in a 5 star hotel!). This said, Veneto is widely known for having the best health-care facilities in Italy.

As somebody also stated, Italy is rated as having the 2nd best health care system in the world by the WHO (after France), but that survey dates back to the year 2000, and is no longer conducted by the WHO. The fact is, in general, Italy's health care system (SSN), is top-tier and far superior as a whole to that in both the US and the UK.

I am a British national with residence in Italy since 2007. The point I'm making here, is that you cannot generalise in Italy, it is region dependent, with some awful facilities (notably in the South and in and around Milan) together with some excellent facilities.

mariocibelli said...

Yes, Italy's system is not perfect. Italy in the late 70's chose to move from a patchwork of private and employer insurers and charity hospitals to a NHS-style of system. It would have worked better but more power was given to the regions. Thus in the center and north we have much better care and facilities. Lombardia where Ann lives is stressed because of the large population and I would imagine the PDL is chipping away at funding. I am very happy and proud of healthcare in Tuscany and Umbria which should serve as the model for the rest of the country. The USA has an antiquated system in that it is fantastic provided you have access and not all access is created equal. It is not an appropriate system for a nation that profits and thrives on immigrants and cheap labor, you cannot have both. Look at how much Italy spends for its public system compared to how much the US spends for a system with most people on private or state-assisted insurance.