Timeline of healthcare in Italy

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This is a timeline of healthcare in Italy. Major events such as policies and organizations are described.

Big picture[edit]

Year/period Key developments
Ancient times The Ancient Romans make a huge input into medicine and health. Their approach is mainly concerned with public health schemes. Much of Ancient Roman medicine is learned from Ancient Greeks. The Romans believe that illnesses have a natural cause and that bad health could be caused by bad water and sewage.[1]
Middle Age The Schola Medica Salernitana is the first medical school of modern history, and today is considered a fundamental institution in order to understand Medieval medicine. Bologna and Padua also develop as important medical centers. The Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum is written as the Code of Health, which becomes popular in Europe for many centuries. Medieval hygienists believe very much in early rising, cold water, thorough cleansing, and exercise in the open air.[2]
16th century With the Renaissance, comes an increase in experimental investigation, principally in the field of dissection and body examination, thus advancing the knowledge of human anatomy.[3] Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro suggests that infectious diseases are caused by 'disease seeds', which are carried by the wind or transmitted by touch.[4]
17th century Medicine continues to advance. Venetian physician Santorio Santorio invents the medical thermometer.[4]
18th century Medicine makes slow progress. Doctors still do not know what causes disease. Bernardino Ramazzini is regarded as the father of occupational medicine.[5]
19th century Italy unifies. Healthcare relies on several different structures. Some of them are healthcare centers sponsored by the Catholic Church, others are old charitable institutions nationalized by the new liberal state. There is also a provincial network for preventive medicine and public health, municipal provisions for economic and social assistance to disabled and needy people.[6]
1922–1943 Fascist regime. Several changes in the Italian healthcare system are pushed forward. Right to hospital care for the needy is guaranteed for the first time. Several initiatives targeting diseases of perceived social relevance are launched. Treatment of venereal diseases becomes free, and several centers for cancer diagnosis are created. Provincial authorities in charge of treating tuberculosis are established and tuberculosis insurance becomes compulsory.[6]
1930s Health insurance funds become responsible for covering not only workers but also their dependents.[6]
1950s An independent Ministry of Health is established for the first time.[6]
1970s Italy launches universal healthcare. Public health facilities start to be launched.[6]
Present time Today, Italy maintains a universal public healthcare system, and healthcare is provided to all citizens and residents by a mixed public-private approach. The Italian health system is regarded among the best in the world, and the life expectancy of Italy is also one of the highest.[7]


Year/period Type of event Event Location
1173 Organization Ospedale di Circolo e Fondazione Macchi is founded. Since 1995 it is a hospital of national importance and high specialization.[8][9] Varese
1288 Organization Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova is founded.[10] Florence
1427 Organization Hospitale unum magnum et universale is founded; then renamed Spedali Civili di Brescia at the end of the 19th century.[11] It is a university and public hospital affiliated with the University of Brescia. Brescia
1445 Organization Ospedale degli Innocenti, 'Hospital of the Innocents', is founded.[12] Florence
1456 Organization Ospedale Maggiore is founded as a hospital.[13] Milan
1592 Organization Policlinico Sant'Orsola-Malpighi is founded. It is a university and public hospital.[14][15] Bologna
1667 Organization San Gennaro dei Poveri is founded as a hospital.[16] Naples
1813 Organization Maddalena lunatic asylum is established.[17] Aversa
1856 Organization Burlo Garofolo Pediatric Institute is founded as a children's hospital.[18] Trieste
1864 Organization The Italian Red Cross is founded. It is one of the original founding members of the International Red Cross.[19][20] Rome
1869 Organization Bambino Gesù Hospital is founded.[21][22] Rome
1878 Report More than 2000 mutual funds have about 330,000 members. The public sector has a marginal role, restricted to minor prevention programs and to providing healthcare for poor people.[6]
1884 Organization Meyer Children's Hospital is founded. It is a pediatric hospital.[23][24] Florence
1886 Organization Menarini Group is founded as a pharmaceutical company.[25] Naples
1898 Policy Occupational accident insurance is regulated for the first time.[6]
1903 Organization Policlinico Umberto I is founded. It is the polyclinic of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Sapienza Università di Roma.[26] Rome
1904 Policy Occupational accident insurance becomes compulsory for workers in industry.[6]
1906 Organization Zambon is founded as a pharmaceutical company.[27][28] Vicenza
1917 Policy Occupational accident insurance becomes compulsory for workers in agriculture.[6]
1918 Organization The Carlo Besta Neurological Institute is founded as a research institute.[29][30] Milan
1922 Policy Royal Decree provides for free treatment of venereal diseases.[6]
1923 Policy Through a Royal Decree, the right to hospital care for the needy, indigent population is guaranteed for the first time.[6]
1925 Organization The National Institute for Local Authority Employees (Istituto Nazionale Assistenza Dipendenti Enti Locali (INADEL) is established as the national body for providing healthcare for the employees of local authorities.[6]
1926 Organization Several centers for cancer diagnosis are created.[6]
1926–1928 Policy Regulatory framework for the trade union system is issued. It includes mandatory healthcare provisions for workers as a prerequisite for collective agreements.[6]
1927 Organization The Bracco Group is founded. Today, it is an Italian multinational active in the healthcare sector with currently more than 3,300 employees worldwide, which operates in a variety of business areas.[31][32] Milan
1927 Policy Provincial authorities in charge of treating tuberculosis are established. Tuberculosis insurance becomes compulsory.[6]
1927 Organization The Associazione Volontari Italiani Sangue (AVIS) ("Association of Voluntary Italian Blood Donors") is founded. Today, it is the major Italian non-profit and charitable organization for blood donation, bringing together over a million volunteer blood donors across Italy.[33][34] Lombardy
1929 Policy Compulsory insurance for occupational disease is introduced.[6]
1930 Organization Ospedale Niguarda Ca' Granda is founded as a hospital.[35] Milan
1934 Organization Istituto Superiore di Sanità is founded. Today, it is the leading technical-scientific body of the Italian National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale). The ISS performs research, trials, control, counseling, documentation and training for public health.[36][37] Rome
1935 Organization Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. is founded as a pharmaceutical company.[38][39] Parma
1936 Organization Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases is founded as an infectious disease hospital.[40][41] Rome
1937 Organization The Center for Studies and Research in Aeronautical Medicine is founded as an aviation medicine organization.[42] Guidonia Montecelio
1938 Organization Istituto Giannina Gaslini is founded as a pediatric hospital.[43][44] Genoa
1942 Organization The National Institute for Civil Servants (Ente Nazionale Previdenza e Assistenza Dipendenti Statali (ENPAS) is founded as a national body in charge of social insurance and healthcare for public sector employees.[6]
1943 Organization The National Institute for Disease Control (Istituto Nazionale per l’Assicurazione Contro le Malattie (INAM) is founded as a national body for private sector employees’ health care insurance.[6]
1945 Organization Lima Corporate is founded. It is an Italian multinational in orthopaedics and traumatology.[45][46] Friuli Venezia Giulia
1946 Organization Artsana Group is founded as a commercial business specialized in venepuncture and medication. Today it is still active in the distribution of healthcare and infant care products.[47][48] Grandate
1955 Organization Ospedale Maggiore di Bologna is founded as a hospital.[49] Bologna
1956 Organization Sorin Group is founded as a medical products group. It produces replacement heart valves, oxygenators, perfusion tubing sets, cardiothoracic surgery accessories, data monitoring, heart-lung machines, autotransfusion systems, cannulae, and a line of blood management products.[50] Saluggia
1956 Organization Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza is founded as a private hospital.[51] San Giovanni Rotondo
1957 Organization Sant'Eugenio Hospital is founded.[52] Rome
1957 Organization Sigma-Tau is founded as a private pharmaceutical company.[53][54] Pomezia
1958 Organization An independent Ministry of Health is established for the first time.[6]
1961 Organization CTO Hospital is founded. It is a major orthopedic hospital.[55] Turin
1965 Organization The European Association for the Study of Diabetes is founded as a scientific association. It aims at encouraging and supporting research in the field of diabetes, the rapid diffusion of acquired knowledge in that field, and facilitating its application.[56][57] Montecatini Terme
1968 Organization Public institutions providing hospital care are established as autonomous entities (enti ospedalieri).[6]
1969 Organization San Raffaele Hospital is founded. It is affiliated with the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.[58] Milan
1974–1975 Policy Laws 386/1974 and 382/1975 transfer the responsibility for managing hospitals to the regions.[6]
1978 Policy The Italian National Health Service (INHS) is established to grant universal access to a uniform level of care throughout Italy, financed by general taxation. It provides coverage and free healthcare at point of delivery to all Italian and European Union citizens.[59]
1978 Organization Public health facilities start to be launched. They offer both emergency and non-emergency services.[60]
1980 Organization COSMED is founded as a privately held, international, medical technology corporation specialized in Metabolic and Cardio Pulmonary diagnostic testing equipment.[61] Rome
1985 Organization Associazione Italiana Pneumologi Ospedalieri is founded as the professional organization for accreditation of pulmonology (pneumology) from pulmonologists to respiratory therapists in Italy.[62] Milan
1991 Organization Università Campus Bio-Medico is founded as a school of medicine.[63] Rome
1994 Policy The first National Health Plan for 1994–1996 is approved. The plan defines national health targets and establishes that uniform levels of assistance should be guaranteed to all citizens (LEAs).[6]
1995 Policy Legislation requires that each health care provider in the public sector issue a "Health Service Chart" (Carta dei Servizi) informing the public about the complaints system in place, quality indicators, waiting times and existing programs to guarantee healthcare quality.[6]
1996 Organization The Fondazione Europea per la Genetica (European Genetics Foundation (EGF)) is founded as a non-profit organization, dedicated to the training of young geneticists active in medicine, to continuing education in genetics/genomics and to the promotion of public understanding of genetics.[64] Bologna
1997 Organization The Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Advanced Specialized Therapies (Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione (ISMETT)) is founded. It primarily specializes in performing all types of organ transplantations.[65] Palermo
1997 Policy The regional governments transfers authority on medical treatment to regional governments.[60]
1998 Policy Social contributions are replaced by a regional business tax, which is supplemented with a national grant financed by revenues from value-added tax (VAT) collections to ensure sufficient resources for each region.[59]
1998 Policy The Italian national health service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale/SSN) is separated from the National Institute for Social Security (Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale/INPS) and funded directly by central government via the IRAP tax (Imposta Regionale Sulle Attività Produttive), which is paid by employers on behalf of employees. The self-employed pay for themselves through their taxes.[66]
1999 Policy Legislative Decree 229/1999 launches a new reform package. It deepens the regional devolution process, envisages the reorientation of the internal market reforms towards strengthening cooperation and regulation, establishes the initial tools for defining the core benefit package and further regulates the introduction of clinical guidelines to guarantee quality in healthcare.[6]
2000 Policy New measure (Legislative Decree No. 56/2000) sets out a timetable to abolish the National Health Fund (the central government fund used to disperse health care financing to the regions) and to replace it with various regional taxes.[6]
2000 Report Italy's healthcare system is ranked the 2nd best in the world after that of France, according to the World Health Organization.[67]
2001 Policy Major reform of the Constitution modifies the roles and responsibilities of the State and the Regions. At the national level, authorities are responsible for ensuring that the general objectives and principles of the healthcare system are met, including definition of the basic benefits package. The Regions are endowed law making powers on health protection, within the framework of fundamental principles defined by the State. All Regional Authorities have a considerable degree of powers to legislate on a regional basis and freely allocate funds received from the central government, particularly for healthcare delivery.[59]
2001 Organization Amici del Mondo World Friends Onlus is founded as an independent Italian non-profit association of social utility for international cooperation. It operates on health, housing and education.[68][69] Rome (headquarters). Serves in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Italy, Senegal, and Uganda.
2002 Organization The Bridging Eastern and Western Psychiatry is founded as a non-profit association of professional practitioners and scholars in psychiatry and related professions. It aims at promoting scholarly research and collaboration between Western and Eastern European psychiatrists.[70][71]
2002 Organization The Associazione Luca Coscioni is founded. It is a promoter of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research, an international platform of scientists, patients and citizens.[72][73]
2002 Organization Centro Studi GISED is founded as a research association. It develops research and educational programs with the aim of improving scientific knowledge, assistance and transparent and specific information to the public with regard to the main dermatological diseases.[74][75] Bergamo
2003 Policy The third National Health Plan, for 2003–2005, is passed.[6]
2003 Organization Tuscany becomes the first region to create a Regional Center for Clinical Risk and Patient Safety.[6] Tuscany
2003 Organization A National Technical Committee on Clinical Risk is established.[6]
2004 Organization A Working Group for the Assessment of Methodological Approaches for the Evaluation of Clinical Risk is formed.[6]
2004 Organization Anfatis is founded. It is the holding company of a group of 6 Italian distributors (Concessionari) which sell, distribute and deliver pharmaceuticals products to over 8,000 pharmacies.[76] Milan
2006 Policy The fourth National Health Plan, for 2006–2008, is passed and the Ministry of Health under the newly formed center-left government outlines the policy program, A New Deal for Health.[6]
2007 Organization The Ministry of Health initiates the National System for Patients Safety.[6]
2012 Report Healthcare spending in Italy accounts for 9.2% of GDP in 2012 (about $3,200 per capita) of which about 77% is public, slightly lower than the average of 9.3% in OECD countries.[77]
2016 Report Life expectancy in Italy is estimated at 82.2 years, being ranked 10th out of 228 political subdivisions.[7]

See also[edit]


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