Government: Coming Soon “Waiting Lists” Decree

Health - May 29, 2024

Waiting lists for medical examinations in Italy are unfortunately a widespread problem that affects many citizens.
The causes of long waiting lists for medical examinations in Italy are many and complex. These include the shortage of health personnel, lack of adequate facilities, limited funds for public health care, and long waiting times for approval of new recruitment and funding.
In an attempt to solve this problem, the decree with which the Meloni government aims to solve this and other problems of our health care system, a system that, with all its difficulties, remains an excellence in the world, is on the home stretch. It is expected to be approved by the Council of Ministers in early June, but some previews of what is to become the final text have already come out, thanks to the work of the parliamentary committees.
The decree is expected to affect several points and, as mentioned, aims to resolve several issues that have now become “organic” to the system itself.
The starting point is the Citizens’ Bill of Rights for the purpose of providing the Essential Levels of Care. Among the rights indicated, citizens have the right to access waiting lists without incurring the suspension of reservations, to the effective delivery of health care services public or private accredited facilities;, to the respect of anticipated waiting times and to transparent communication of maximum expected waiting times and methods of performance of services.
A National Waiting List Governance System is established, interoperability between Cups and full interoperability of reservation centers of accredited private providers with the competent territorial Cups will be an inalienable condition for entering into contractual agreements for the accreditation of health facilities. It will also be the task of the Cups to activate a “Recall” service to remind patients of their appointment, patients who, if they do not show up for the visit without canceling it, will still have to pay for the service.
In particular, with the aim of reducing the timeframe, the measure takes action on the transparency of waiting lists. The ministry will ask the regions to standardize the way the expected timeframe for each service is made public. To date, many regions already provide real-time statistics to the public, but each region reports this data through its own system, which often hides the longest waits. The Agency for Regional Health Services Agenas will establish a National Waiting List Platform on which data from the regions will end up, making the system more transparent and usable.
Regional spending caps will also change. In fact, the draft states that in order to cut down waiting lists, regions will be allowed to exceed the ceiling for health care services purchased from accredited private entities. Until the end of 2024, regions will be able to spend 0.4 percent of the total health fund currently allocated by the government in the budget ( about 130 billion). Also included in the overrun will be the financing of overtime performed by SSN specialists, at an estimated maximum cost of about 100 million. For each subsequent year until 2026, the government has further increased the spending ceilings related to the purchase of services from private entities by an amount equal to 1 percent of 2011 health care spending. This is an important commitment, one that belies oppositions that cried alarmistically about cuts, and should lead if not to a solution at least to a significant first step toward a truly efficient health care system.
New clampdown to counter the phenomenon of token doctors on the ward, which is a high expense item. To make up for shortfalls there will be hiring incentives and greater elasticity