biella2The Local Health Authority (ASL) of Biella operates on the territory of the Province of Biella in Piedmont, a region in north-western Italy. The ASL of Biella comprises a general hospital ('Ospedale degli Infermi') and handles all aspects regarding health in their catchment area, which comprises about 200,000 residents and is divided into 82 municipalities. A new hospital with 513 beds was recently built and will open in Autumn 2014

The mission of the ASL of Biella consists in achieving the following health objectives for its catchment area: to promote health; to prevent diseases and unhealthy conditions; to treat diseases and unhealthy conditions; to reduce harm and functional damage resulting from diseases and to maintain the highest level of independence and quality of life.

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The hospitalization rate in Italy has reduced in recent years, which reflects the constant attention paid to increasing appropriateness. Simultaneously, in the area of Biella fewer and fewer subjects choose to treat themselves in facilities belonging to other health authorities than the ASL of Biella, whilst the number of hospital admissions remained substantially constant. The constant growth of outpatients treated at the hospital of Biella consolidates the apparent good liaison between the community and the hospital.

The socio-demographic profile of the population living in the ASL of Biella is characterized by low birth rate and ageing population. In Biella and surrounding areas health needs and use of health services are affected by the prevalence of chronic degenerative diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases) typical of an ageing population.

The mission of the ASL of Biella is grounded in the principles of Evidence Based Prevention and health promotion, and aims to reduce risk factors arising from unhealthy lifestyles. The ASL of Biella supports and organises a number of activities which include primary prevention services and surveillance of biological, physical, and chemical hazards; secondary prevention aimed at achieving diagnosis prior to the onset of clinical disease; and tertiary prevention, aimed at preventing disability after illness.

The ASL of Biella is associated with the Health Promoting Hospitals (HPH) Network.

The opening of the new hospital has led us to rethink how to manage and organise our services, foreshadowing further integration between clinical practice and health promotion by enhancing the skills of the existing medical and nursing staff, and by fostering the implementation of evidence-based prevention and health promotion interventions.

Local Health Authoriry (ASL) of Biella, http://www2.aslbi.piemonte.it/cms/it/