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Protestant hospital "Villa Betania" of Naples risks closing

There is great concern among the population of the neighborhood of Ponticelli in Naples, among doctors and nurses of the structure, and among all Protestants of Naples because of the difficult situation in which the Protestant Hospital "Villa Betania" finds itself, facing a serious risk of closing. Founded over 40 years ago by some of the Protestant churches of the Naples area, it is the only hospital in an area with 250,000 people. Today "Villa Betania" finds itself to be creditor of the public health department (ASL) that since April 2007 has stopped sending reimbursements owed for services rendered by the hospital. "The delays in payments are not new – explained Sergio Nitti, President of the Villa Betania Foundation – but they are creating great difficulties in the budget". In 2008 the budget closed with a deficit of 2.5 million Euro. "This is exactly the amount we have to pay as interest to the banks for the loans made necessary because of these delayed payments by the ASL", stated Nitti bitterly. This situation is made more serious by the difficult relationships with the Region of Campania that, for example, in 1995 "imposed the opening in Villa Betania of an emergency ward for which it never gave any kind of reimbursement, and this notwithstanding an arbitration won by our hospital" concluded Nitti.

Moreover, the cuts foreseen by the Campania Health Department, at the moment, would bring a decrease in the regional contribution to "Villa Betania" from 40 to 30 million Euro annually. All together, these factors could seriously lead to forcing the closing of the activity of the hospital.
"It would be sad to see ‘Villa Betania’ close because the public health department doesn't meet up to its commitments and for cuts in the regional budgets that strike indiscriminately even those activities that have proven themselves to be well run, such as our health services at ‘Villa Betania’", affirmed Salvatore Cortini, superintendent of the Campania Circuit of the Methodist and Waldensian churches. The Circuit issued a communiqué to make an appeal to the competent authorities to take the situation of the hospital into consideration. "It's an appeal we make not only as Protestants, but also as citizens - added Cortini -.
The end of Villa Betania would leave 250,000 people without a hospital in their area; it would put an end to a structure giving excellent service, for example, 50,000 cases pass through the ER every year and the intensive care unit of the maternity ward is in the forefront. It would also mean putting 400 people out of work, adding to the already long list of unemployed in Campania".

From press release NEV - Notizie evangeliche, 30 September 2009

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