Pope Francis Saturday named Italian surgeon Giovanni Battista Doglietto as director of the Vatican health fund known as Fondo di Assistenza Sanitaria (FAS).
The appointment follows the departure of the previous FAS director Stefano Loreti, who held the position since January 2017.
Doglietto, 72, was a lead surgeon in the digestive tract division of Rome’s Gemelli Hospital for more than 20 years. He was also an assistant to the surgeon who operated on St. Pope John Paul II after the attempt on the pope’s life on May 13, 1981.
FAS is a health fund for active and retired employees and personnel of the Holy See. It was first established in 1953.
The healthcare fund has gone through several reforms over the years. The most recent was a revamp of statutes and regulations approved by Pope Francis in October 2016, which entered into force at the start of 2017.
In an interview with Vatican News published July 18, FAS president Msgr. Luigi Misto described FAS as a system of solidarity “based on the social doctrine of the Church.”
Misto told Vatican News that the year 2017 marked the end “of a five-year period characterized by long-term unsustainable cost growth dynamics” for FAS.
However, thanks to the 2017 reform, he continued, that year FAS achieved “savings of around 3.6 million euros compared to the previous year.”
“This allowed the return of over 5 million euros to the administrations of the Holy See and the Vatican City State,” Misto added.
He emphasized that these savings were not achieved by raising the co-pays of beneficiaries and said the FAS does not have endowment capital nor does it make investments.
FAS “performs its activity for the benefit of the members by using only the contributions paid monthly by the administrations of the Holy See and the Vatican City State,” he stated.