The U.S. Army Health Clinic-Vicenza staff demonstrated their ongoing appreciation for the medical care provided to the Vicenza Military Community with a barbeque Sept. 20 at the local hospital, Ospedale San Bortolo. The celebration honored the 24 years of continued collaboration between the U.S. Army health clinic and the Italian medical center in ensuring the readiness of the U.S. military stationed in Vicenza.

With the nearest U.S. military medical center located 10 hours away at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, the majority of the Vicenza Military Community seek emergency and specialty care within the TRICARE network of host nation providers. Many of these specialty needs are served by the team at Ospedale San Bortolo Hospital, located approximately seven minutes from Caserma Ederle and the U.S. Army Health Clinic-Vicenza.

The staff at Ospedale San Bortolo provide care for TRICARE beneficiaries every day, including services in emergency, obstetrics, labor and delivery, internal medicine and surgical procedures.

"Care for the American patients is the same as for the Italian patients. We treat all patients' medical issues with no difference for Italian patients or American," said Analisa Zanon, Ospedale San Bortolo emergency provider.

The only real difference may be the language, however American patients can overcome any potential language barriers thanks to the 10 U.S. Army Health Clinic-Vicenza patient liaisons located within the Italian medical facility as well as through the TRICARE International SOS real-time telephonic language assistance service. The patient liaisons facilitate not only translation between the Italian medical staff and the patients admitted to the medical facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but also help communicate important information from the patient visit back to the their primary care manager at the U.S. Army Health Clinic-Vicenza.

"We enjoy the relationships and longstanding positive experiences we have had with Ospedale San Bortolo. They have a great team of professionals who provide excellent services to all our patients," said Paul Marcucci, patient liaison supervisor. Marucci has been working as a patient liaison for the Vicenza military community for 24 years.

Staff members from the American health clinic served more than 450 San Bortolo physicians, nurses, medical technicians, supply personnel, office workers. Many enjoyed the barbeque in the Italian hospital's courtyard to enjoy the event but San Bortolo staff brought hamburgers, hot dogs and chips to their coworkers who were unable to attend as they were hard at work caring for patients.

The Ospedale San Bortolo laboratory staff, waiting for their hamburgers expressed their gratitude for the annual BBQ.

"It is very kind of the Americans," said Claudio, a laboratory technician at Ospedale San Bortolo.

Coworker and fellow laboratory technician Fabiola said, "We are very grateful for the BBQ."

"It's a good way to reinforce the friendships between the Italian and American Community, and meet some of the providers whom we refer our patients to," said Enrico Urbani, TRICARE referrals management specialist.

"This event strengthens our relationships with the American Soldiers and families. It is a pleasure to have the BBQ every year, and we hope the relationship will grow even stronger in the future," said Ospedale San Bortolo Director of Outlying Clinics Salvatore Barra.

"Every day the Ospedale San Bortolo team helps us meet the health care needs of our Soldiers and their families," said U.S. Army Health Clinic-Vicenza Commander, Lt. Col. Kane Morgan. "This simple event allows us to thank them for their dedication and strengthens the alliance between the U.S. Army Health Clinic - Vicenza and the Ospedale San Bortolo."