What is the right to health care, who has the right to health care and how, what are the essential levels of care. Altroconsumo, the association for the protection and defense of consumers, explains in ‘Rights in health’ everything that should be known about health care in Italy. The objective of the ‘Rights in health’ project, born of the collaboration between Altroconsumo and Acu (Users Consumers Association) and financed by the Ministry of Economic Development, is to answer the most common health questions.

Here, in short, the main information useful to citizens, in the insights dedicated to the right to health care in our country:

– WHAT IS SANITARY ASSISTANCE? The national health system ensures access to services taking into account health needs; quality and appropriateness of care; the economy in the use of resources. In Italy – explain the experts of Altroconsumo – the government of the health system is exercised by the State and Regions: the state legislation is the determination of the essential levels of assistance (Lea), ie the services and services that must be guaranteed throughout the national territory ; regional legislation has the task of organizing and providing the above services and essential assistance for the protection of health.

– WHAT IS THE RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE? It means using health prevention and care services such as basic care, specialist care or hospitalization. The services available to the citizen are:

Basic care: family doctor or pediatrician; continuity of care: the right to access the treatment continuously, this means that when there is no primary care physician, the assistance must be guaranteed by a replacement doctor or by the continuity of care services (former medical guard); access to diagnostic services: the possibility of taking advantage of specialist visits, laboratory tests and diagnostic tests must be guaranteed; public and private accredited or affiliated: the choice between a public and a private structure to access the services must be free; hospital admission: the right to freely choose the hospital structure where to be admitted; right to information: the citizen must always be informed in an appropriate manner before being subjected to examinations and interventions; access to medicines: the right to receive medicines prescribed by doctors on the regional cookbook, sharing the expenditure through the payment of a contribution (ticket).

– HOW DO YOU APPLY TO THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE? The registration – observed by Altroconsumo – is mandatory for Italian and foreign citizens residing in Italy and in compliance with the residence permit. Children born in Italy must be registered with the Health Service and acquire the right to assistance. The registration with the Ssn guarantees the assistance of the general practitioner (family doctor) or of the pediatrician of free choice. Health care is guaranteed to all citizens (Italians and foreigners with the right) through a network of services (medical and pediatric assistance, pharmaceutical, outpatient specialist, hospital, home and public consultants). At the time of enrollment in the health service is released what was once the health card and today is the Regional Service Card (CRS), an electronic smart card. The Crs is in fact valid as: health card, European health insurance card (Team), social security number.

The following categories of people can register for the Ssn:

Italian citizens: residents in Italy, Italian pensioners living abroad, family members of a worker employed in Italy; citizens belonging to the European community: temporarily in Italy or residing in Italy; foreign nationals not belonging to countries with agreements: with a residence permit or without a residence permit.

– THE ESSENTIAL LEVELS OF ASSISTANCE (LEA): are the health services that the SSN is required to provide to all citizens, for free or against payment of a fee (ticket). The services included in the Lea – Altroconsumo points out – are identified on the basis of principles of effective care, effectiveness and appropriateness and represent the level of “essential” care guaranteed to all citizens. Regions will be able to use their own resources to provide additional services and services. The Lea, established by the State, are inspired by the binomial ‘effectiveness + solidarity’ and identify services considered essential and effective guaranteed to all, on three levels:

Collective health care in the living and working environment, which includes all prevention activities aimed at the community and individuals (protection from the effects of pollution, accident risks in the workplace, veterinary health, food protection, prophylaxis of infectious diseases, vaccinations and early diagnosis programs, forensic medicine); district assistance, that is to say the activities and health and social care services spread throughout the territory, from basic medicine to pharmaceutical assistance, from specialist and outpatient diagnostics to the supply of prostheses to the disabled, from home services to the elderly and the seriously ill to consultative territorial services (family counseling centers, mental health services, rehabilitation services for the disabled, etc.), semi-residential and residential structures (residences for the elderly and the disabled, day centers, family houses and therapeutic communities); hospital assistance, in the emergency room, in an ordinary hospitalization, in day hospital and day surgery, in long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, and so on.

On January 12th, after 16 years, the essential levels of assistance have been updated by the Government. Many news: many interventions performed in hospitalization now become outpatient: you will pay a ticket, not previously provided by some Regions; the range of vaccines is extended; six new chronic diseases are introduced, including endometriosis and chronic kidney disease; some rare diseases go to chronic, for example celiac disease and Down syndrome; the list of rare diseases is updated with 110 new entries, many of which already in the regional lists; more technological performances are introduced, such as ingestible micro-camera enteroscopy and hadrontherapy; the nomenclator of the prostheses is updated: for example, digital hearing aids, computer aids to communicate, indoor stairlifts; the services concerning medically assisted procreation (homologous and heterologous) are provided as outpatient; new screening for newborns are introduced; performance for diagnosis and treatment of autism is updated.