The main organizational changes in dermatological practice in the Lombardy Region, Italy, from 2001 to 2009


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*P.G. Calzavara-Pinton. E-mail:


Background  Changes in financing health care delivery, including the adoption of diagnosis-related groups (DRG), has deeply influenced dermatological practice across Europe.

Objective  To define the current status of dermatological care in the Lombardy Region, Italy, and compare the status of 2009 to that of 2001.

Methods  Data were analysed from the annual reports of the Healthcare General Department of the Lombardy Region; legislative and administrative data were taken into consideration.

Results  Beds for inpatients in Dermatologic Wards decreased from 251.7 (2001) to 49.07 (2009). In 2009, a large proportion of inpatients with skin diseases were admitted to non-dermatological departments. Beds for day-hospital activities increased from 55.9 (2001) to 61.0 (2009), and the proportion of admissions for surgical purposes progressively increased. In addition, the complexity and quality of surgical procedures increased, in view of the need to justify a day-hospital admission. The total number of services for outpatients increased from 1 090 052 (2001) to 1 503 692 (2009); in addition, the weighted numbers (an indicator of complexity) increased from 2 117 000 (2001) to 3 644 032 (2009). The number of dermatologists with unlimited contracts decreased, and the number of low paid scholarship recipients and external consultants increased. Three of six medical faculties currently do not have a university department of Dermatology.

Conclusion  Over the last decade, the number of patients hospitalized in Dermatological Departments has declined; moreover, patients hospitalized with dermatological disorders have been increasingly admitted to wards with a non-dermatologist attending physician.