MILAN – Chronically ill patients will no longer have to periodically repeat visits and bureaucratic steps to obtain the renewal of the exemption certificate, which entitles them not to pay the co-payment for specialist services and tests necessary to keep the pathology under control and prevent complications. Simplified procedures are envisaged by the new rules in force since last month (Official Gazette 8 February 2013). It should be clarified that the requirements for obtaining exemption from co-payments do not change, which continues to be envisaged for the 56 chronic and disabling diseases and conditions identified by Ministerial Decree No. 329 of 1999 (amended in 2001).
DURATION – Now, however, the new ministerial decree, prepared in agreement with the Regions, establishes at national level the minimum or unlimited duration of the exemption for each chronic pathology (LOOK). «Until now, the Regions have decided which have adopted different solutions, as they continue to do for co-payments on medicines – says Tonino Aceti, head of the national coordination of chronically ill associations of Cittadinanzattiva -. Thus it happened that for the same pathology in some Regions patients had to renew the exemption from year to year, in others every six months. Thanks to the uniform procedures, there will now be fairness among the chronically ill and, in cases where the disease cannot heal, they will no longer be forced to extricate themselves from bureaucratic fulfilments, certificates and long waits for check-ups".
RULES But what does the law stipulate? For those chronic diseases for which the certificate has unlimited validity (e.g. hypertension, cardiac insufficiency, chronic renal insufficiency, cardiac arrhythmias, diabetes mellitus, but also diabetes mellitus), in the Regions where patients already have a life-long exemption, they will keep it; where, instead, it was foreseen for a limited period, the certificate will be updated when it expires. If the certificate has not yet expired, there is therefore no need to rush to the ASL to update the period of validity, which will take place at the time of renewal. The visit, however, must be done before the certificate expires (and it is preferable that it coincides