Do immigrants take away our beds and exploit our health services?
Recent economic assessments show that foreigners residing in Italy are hospitalized less and consume, compared to Italian citizens, much less resources.
Those who come from poorer countries with strong migratory pressure benefit from health services less than Italians and, in any case, compared to those who reside in Italy and come from high-income countries.
At the national level, the ratio between the number of hospitalizations for acute events per 1,000 residents is 123 for Italians and 102 for foreigners. If we consider the hospitalizations that took place during convalescence, and not during the acute phase of the illnesses, the data referred to Italians is almost double that observed among foreigners (6.7 against 3.5 per 1,000 residents).
Since it is a population on average younger, resident foreigners are hospitalized mainly for acute pathologies and emergencies, trauma, complications and interruptions of pregnancy and for complications of childbirth and the puerperium. Often these are easier to manage diseases that require lower costs for diagnostic tests, treatments and staff employed.
On the other hand, Italians, on average much older, are hospitalized more for chronic diseases that require longer, more complex and generally more expensive hospitalizations. Finally, it was calculated that the average cost per hospitalization for acute cases of foreigners, residents and non-residents, is lower than that of Italians, respectively, by 24% and 6%.
1. National Agency for Regional Health Services (Agenas). The economic evaluation of health care provided to immigrants: methodology and first results February 2013. CCM project "the health of the immigrant population: monitoring by regional health systems"
2. National Observatory on Health in the Italian Regions. Osservasalute Report 2014