In recent years, the accreditation of private hospitals followed by the decentralisation of the Italian NHS into 21 regional health systems, has furnished a good empirical ground for investigating the "voting with their feet" Tiebout principle. We consider the competition between public and private hospitals - and the rules supervising the financial agreements between regional authorities and providers of hospital care - as a potential determinant factor for cross border mobility in the Italian NHS. The model we propose considers an institutional variable set at a regional level that, ceteris paribus, succeeds in driving CBM flows towards accredited private hospitals. We assume that some northern and central regions accredited private providers not only to meet the internal need of hospital care, but also with the aim of attracting patients' inflows from other regions, particularly from the South of Italy, where the services supplied do not cover such a broad range of hospital specialization and/or do not guarantee the same perceived quality of care. The geographical gradient in this context is considerable: in 2011 the southern regions show a negative balance of - 1.046 billion euro for patients' migration, while the northern ones report a surplus of 863 million euro. Evidence, both from the normative inspection and the statistical analysis, suggests the presence of strategic incentives provided by some regions with the twofold objective of accrediting a good quality health system and contextually overcoming the risk of production excess by driving financial resources from patients' inflows.
patient choice hospital accreditation competition cross border mobility federal NHS