ON THE OUTSKIRTS of Rome, three starkly modern buildings house a comprehensive medical facility whose concept and operation contrast as much with the usual public-sector Italian health care as the sleek architecture does with the antiquities of the city center. Rome American Hospital was opened as a profit-making venture by a group of Italian investors in May 1990, because of what Charles W. Neumann, an American and its chief executive officer, calls "the pressing demand for private health care in Italy."
"It's ironic, isn't it?" Neumann asks. "Every European country that has a very large national health care commitment is looking for ways to reduce that commitment or shift it a bit more to the private sector. And in the United States, you're looking at just the opposite."
Neumann was managing director of the European division of the Hospital Corporation of America Inc, which planned the Rome facility then turned