Italian payment practices.
Late payments are an Italian speciality-particularly in health care.
IN MEDICINE speed is of the essence. If the ambulance arrives a minute late, the patient may be dead. Italian paramedics are no doubt as swift as those in other countries. But Italy's health-care authorities are shamefully slow when it comes to paying suppliers-making it difficult for them to survive.
"We're still waiting to be paid for goods sold in 2009," says Stefano Rimondi, the managing director of Bellco, a maker of equipment for dialysis with revenues of more than