MBA Italy

Public Health Service



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The National Health Service in Italy SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale), offers excellent basic care and state hospitals tend to be quite sophisticated. The SSN also provides the necessary treatment, visits of family doctors, specialist medical assistance provided by pediatricians, obstetricians and other specialists, discounted medicines, laboratory services, appliances, ambulance services and free services at a local health unit.

The SSN provides free or low-cost health care to all residents and their families, including those from other EU countries; and emergency care to visitors, irrespective of their nationality. Foreigners in Italy, not in possession of regular documents and without a residence permit, have the right to emergency health care, responsible maternity care and vaccinations.

But just like in other countries in Europe (Spain and the UK for an instance) the services available are overstretched and oversubscribed. The annual budget of the government is insufficient. Generally, the public health service doesn't cover out-patient treatment, post-operative care, geriatric assistance, or terminal illnesses.

Public health in Italy is maintained through a comprehensive state-sponsored medical program. This service is free to all citizens, who make minimum contributions for hospital treatments and examinations.

Since 1998, the public health system became federalist and the organization was heavily decentralized. Regions and municipalities began to play a more powerful role.

There are three levels in the organization of the public health system in Italy:
  • National: The institution of this level is The Ministry of Health, which is responsible for the health plan.
  • Regional: The regional government includes the way of distributing financial resources to local health units or hospitals.
  • Local: On this level health benefits are still provided by trusts, hospitals of the IRCCS and private hospitals.


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Health and Insurance in Italy
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