European Union of Private Hospitals

Hospitals working together in the fight against COVID-19

The 44 private hospitals of Emilia Romagna are ready to deal with the Covid19 emergency and all the immediate after effects. AIOP Emilia Romagna is working alongside the Region, with whom it has signed an agreement of total collaboration.


“Ours are public structures governed by private law and as such belong to the accredited hospital network, which is dedicated to coping in the best possible way with the Covid19 emergency”.

Alberto Breschi, lawyer and consultant, AIOP Emilia Romagna
AIOP ER is facing this struggle with all the means at its disposal. What is the overall evaluation at this moment in time of this “ synergy between AIOP ER and the SSR ( regional health system)”?
The evaluation is positive. Our Region has reacted promptly through the head of the Health Department, Raffaele Donini and, with the representation of accredited private hospitals (AIOP Emilia Romagna), an agreement has been put in place with the conditions and the prerequisites to take on as early as possible the synergy of publically administered hospital beds and those privately managed ( 5,000 out of a total of 20,000). There are 3 possible ways of collaborating: Type A hospital beds) to ensure the resources, in terms of hospital beds and operating rooms, to allow the public health system to make use of the private network for non COVID cases, that anyway continue to exist and for those cases that require urgent treatment; Type B hospital beds) for Covid cases that require total isolation; Type C hospital beds) for Covid patients in later stages of illness, allowing for a quicker rotation of beds for Type B acute cases.

What is the key role of AIOP at this point in time?
The role of AIOP has been focussed on both the actual cases of the epidemic and the taking care of the most urgent cases amongst those not infected. In the first case the role of AIOP has been to make available their network , both intensive therapy resources and normal. The structures given over to Covid cases have been examined by the public hygiene services, that in almost every situation were involved in reorganising the space (all rooms reduced to 1 bed, with a halving of capacity as the vast majority of rooms normally have 2 beds), filters, changing rooms, safety equipment and filters for personnel. In the second case the private structure is available to carry out their own urgent programmed cases ( up to a 30 day wait) and those of the public system, in some cases hosting surgeons from public hospitals that operate in the private sector.

Yet again the the private sector doesn’t hold back and supports the public sector. Public- private is the present and will it be the future ?
This experience demonstrates that the future lies in this synergy: neither sector would be able to manage without the other, even if the predominant role lies with the public sector considering the numbers and the characteristics of our system. Over and above some pointless controversies, the virus has impacted on areas that, up to a point, define the boundaries and peculiarities of this collaboration. Overall the synergy has been strong and each has counted on the presence of the other, depending on a personnel that has shown almost heroic dedication. The presence of the private sector has made it possible to make use of a group of organisations that in terms of people, capital and technology are something the public sector would never have been able to put together. Those who contemplate a future without this integration are denying the evidence.

Bruno Biagi – Managing Director of the Maria Cecilia Hospital of Cotignola (RA)
All AIOP structures in Romagna have been made available to face the COVID emergency. In respect to other areas, which have been worse hit by the pandemic, in Romagna it has not got out of control. All intensive therapy beds have been made availabl,e as well as beds for COVID patients, both of type B and C, in a number of structures in Romagna.
From the outset the structures have given their maximum collaboration to the requests of AUSL ( the public health system) in Romagna. The support continues in this second phase where there is a slight decrease in infections. The health structures in Romagna are also looking after recovering Covid patients that need care and assistance in order to regain their self sufficiency.
At the core is the synergy with the Emilia Romagna Region which was confirmed at the height of the emergency, with a quick and effective agreement as possible, that sees private hospitals increasingly allied with the SSR and SSN ( regional and national health services ).
I’m Managing Director of the Maria Cecilia Hospital which is a highly specialised hospital accredited with the National Health system. We have transformed a part of the Intensive Therapy ward into an area for COVID-19 patients from other hospitals in the region. It consists of 8 separate isolated beds in the Intensive therapy unit complete with the latest technology .
In an attempt to decongest urgent and undeferrable interventions we are putting together a possible organisational agreement with the Romagna health authority, so that urgent and undeferrable surgical activity in public hospitals will be transfered together, with medical staff and patients, to the operating rooms of the Cotignola hospital.
Walther Domeniconi, executive director of Villa Laura
From the very beginning we have made ourselves available to the health authorities in Bologna. Despite some initial difficulties we eventually succeeded in transforming the hospital to be completely dedicated to COVID patients.
Villa Laura made available 100 beds as well as creating the possibility for 8 intensive therapy beds.
The medical team, led by the Health and Medical Director Doctor Luca Arfilli and by the Anaesthetic service coordinator Doctor Stefano Maltoni, is made up of highly experienced professionals with the contribution of younger personnel.
Nurses and social health workers have modified their shifts and also their daily habits to give life and soul to dealing with this emergency.
Cardiologists and other medical staff, such as imaging specialists of Villa Laura Nursing Home have given everything to face this situation. We have initiated a system of checking the condition of all operators which helps to create a serene working environment.

Mario Sanna – Health Director of the S. Antonio Nursing home in Piacenza and AIOP President for the province of Piacenza.
From the outset we have made available all our services to face together the epidemiological outbreak of COVID-19.
We have completely converted the Sant’Antonio Nursing Home into a COVID structure, with 80 available COVID beds and stopped all outpatient services. But in particular by sanitizing the entrance to the rooms of each patient.
In the Piacenza nursing home there are 90 beds for COVID pateints and 40 for emergency orthopedic, trauma and breast cancer cases. There are separate entrances for COVID and non COVID patients.
The two structures have made available 170 beds overall, maintaining places for urgent and undeferrable cases.
Prof. Mario Sanna, AIOP President of the province, communicated that the multispecialist San Giacomo Nursing Home in Piacenza has made an important contribution in offering 40 beds.
In general all the AIOP structures in Piacenza are fully participating in dealing with the emergency alongside the public hospital of Piacenza, preparing for the successive phases and supplying all healthworkers with PPE ( personal protection equipment).