Italy: Health system review
AbstractItaly is the sixth largest country in Europe and has the second highest average life expectancy, reaching 79.4 years for men and 84.5 years for women in 2011. There are marked regional differences for both men and women in most health indicators, reflecting the economic and social imbalance between the north and south of the country. The main diseases affecting the population are circulatory diseases, malignant tumours and respiratory diseases. Italy’s health-care system is a regionally based national health service that provides universal coverage largely free of charge at the point of delivery. The main source of financing is national and regional taxes, supplemented by co-payments for pharmaceuticals and outpatient care. In 2012, total health expenditure accounted for 9.2% of GDP (slightly below the EU average of 9.6%). Public sources made up 78.2% of total health-care spending. While the central government provides a stewardship role, setting the fundamental principles and goals of the health system and determining the core benefit package of health services available to all citizens, the regions are responsible for organizing and delivering primary, secondary and tertiary health-care services as well as preventive and health promotion services. Faced with the current economic constraints of having to contain or even reduce health expenditure, the largest challenge facing the health system is to achieve budgetary goals without reducing the provision of health services to patients. This is related to the other key challenge of ensuring equity across regions, where gaps in service provision and health system performance persist. Other issues include ensuring the quality of professionals managing facilities, promoting group practice and other integrated care organizational models in primary care, and ensuring that the concentration of organizational control by regions of health-care providers does not stifle innovation.
Ferré, Francesca, de Belvis, Antonio Giulio, Valerio, Luca, Longhi, Silvia, Lazzari, Agnese. et al. (2014). Italy: Health system review. European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/141626
Health Systems in Transition;Vol. 16 No. 4 2014