Valerie had her first experience with the Italian medical system a few weeks ago and last week I plunged into the system. We both signed up for ASUR, the
version of the Italian national health system, in January and I was also in the system last year but we had no prior need for trying it out. Marche
When we signed up for ASUR we had to choose a doctor from a list provided and we made a rather arbitrary choice based on the doctor’s location. I have had a problem with a toe and went to the doctor’s office on Wednesday but found that the doctor only has office hours for 2 hours each day and I arrived at the end of the allotted time. The receptionist was kind enough to tell me what the hours were for the week and I decided to try again the next day.
I arrived at the office on Wednesday about thirty minutes after they opened and there was already a line of about six people. When I got to the window they took my receipt I had from when I signed up with ASUR and gave me a number. While waiting I realized most of the people coming in were there only for prescriptions, they were being given the same short pink forms I have seen people clutching in various farmacia.
After sitting down I determined there were three patients ahead of me, the patient already with the doctor was in the office almost thirty minutes and I began to think this could be a very long wait. Fortunately the next two patients were in and out in less than ten minutes.
My number was called and after asking which door I needed to go to I entered the doctor’s office which was a room about twenty feet square with the dottoressa sitting at a desk with a computer in one corner, a filing cabinet, and an examining table against the far wall. The dottoressa was patient and asked about where I was from, why we moved here and what I did for a living. There was no inquiry into my medical history.
With a quick look at the problem with my toe she indicated I had no need for a prescription and I just needed to go to the farmacia, making it sound like I should have just gone there in the first place. She wrote out what I needed to ask for and out the door I went. She was pleasant and I think amused by il paziente staniero. No pink prescription form for me, just an “arrivederci” at the reception desk and I was on my way.
The total visit to la dottoressa took less than an hour and there were no fees.