Hospitals in Italy

Understanding Healthcare and Hospitals in Italy

Relocating to Italy involves understanding the healthcare system to ensure you and your family receive the best medical care. This guide provides detailed insights into navigating Italy’s healthcare system, including public and private hospitals, accessing emergency rooms, understanding hospital costs, and more.

Overview of Italian Healthcare System

Italy’s healthcare system is renowned for its high standards of care and affordability. It includes a mix of public and private healthcare providers offering extensive services from routine check-ups to specialized treatments and emergency services.

Public vs. Private Hospitals

Approximately 80% of hospitals in Italy are public, funded by the national healthcare system (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, SSN), which provides services at minimal to no cost to residents. Private hospitals and clinics, often run by religious organizations, offer services with fees typically covered by private health insurance.

Accessing Hospital Treatment in Italy

All residents in Italy should register with the SSN to access healthcare services affordably. Registration allows you to choose a general practitioner (GP) and receive a health card (tessera sanitaria), which is essential for both routine and specialist healthcare services.

Making Appointments

Appointments for specialist services in public hospitals require a referral from your GP and can be booked through the Centro Unico Prenotazione (CUP). Each region in Italy has its own CUP system for scheduling appointments, available online, by phone, or in person.

Emergency Treatment

Italy’s emergency rooms operate on a priority system, where cases are triaged into color-coded categories reflecting the urgency of care needed. Emergency services are accessible by dialing 112 (general emergency) or 118 (medical emergencies).

  • Codice Rosso (Red Code): Immediate threat to life, immediate attention required.
  • Codice Arancione (Orange Code): Serious conditions that require rapid intervention.
  • Codice Azzurro (Light Blue Code): Non-critical but needs timely care.
  • Codice Verde (Green Code): Minor injuries or illnesses.
  • Codice Bianco (White Code): Non-urgent conditions.

Hospital Stays in Italy

Most hospital stays in public facilities involve sharing a room unless a private room is medically necessary or requested at an additional cost. Hospitals provide meals, basic amenities, and are subject to strict visitation rules, especially post-COVID-19, to ensure safety and hygiene.

Hospital Costs and Insurance

While public hospital treatment can be free or require a nominal fee (ticket), private hospital costs can be substantially higher and are typically covered by private insurance. It is advisable for expatriates and visitors to have comprehensive health insurance tailored to their needs.

Being Discharged from Italian Hospitals

Discharge procedures involve a consultation with your doctor, who will provide follow-up care instructions and schedule any necessary outpatient appointments. Payments for any hospital fees are typically due at discharge unless covered by insurance.

Visiting Patients in Italian Hospitals

Visitation is regulated and varies by hospital, generally allowed during specific hours. Visitors must adhere to the hospital’s health and safety protocols, which may include mask-wearing and proof of COVID-19 vaccination or testing.

Top Hospitals in Italy

Italy boasts several world-renowned hospitals known for high-quality care and specialist services. These include:

  • Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli in Rome
  • Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda in Milan
  • Ospedale San Raffaele in Milan
  • Policlinico Sant’Orsola-Malpighi in Bologna

Useful Resources

For more detailed information on accessing healthcare services in Italy, visit:

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