Before the end of 2005 new health cards will be sent out to 58 million people resident in Italy. The card, or tessera sanitaria, looks just like a credit card. On one side it has the name of the holder, place and date of birth and fiscal code. On the back there is a magnetic strip to record all medical examinations, tests and treatments in Italy and in other European Union countries. It will memorise treatments and medicines that each holder has been prescribed and it will be used to monitor what is being spent on health care. The new card will be recognised in place of the old green card for the fiscal code. It will also act as an E111, the document required to obtain medical care in other EU countries.
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