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UPMC Prepares For Next International Facility In Ireland

Bon Secours

UPMC is continuing its overseas growth with an announcement this month that it's opening a second cancer center in Ireland. The health care provider opened the Whitfield Cancer Center in Waterford, Ireland 10 years ago. The second effort will be a joint venture with Bon Secours in Cork, Ireland.

“We take the approach that everyone deserves access to high-quality health care as close to home as possible,” said Charles Bogosta, President of UPMC International and UPMC CancerCenter.

Groundbreaking for an advanced radiation treatment center is planned for January. The facility is expected to open two years later.

Bogosta said despite being a world-class health care provider, Bon Secours has never focused on a radiotherapy practice.

The joint venture will accept both private and public pay patients.

“Approximately 45 percent of the population (of Ireland) actually has a commercial insurance product,” Bogosta said.  “So we contract in a very similar manner with the commercial insurers here as we do in western Pennsylvania, and then I would call their HSC, the Health Services Executive, similar to Medicare and we contract with them as well.”

Bogosta said in many places around the world, including Ireland, there is a very different feel to private hospitals versus public hospitals.

“It has a lot to do with how the staff are interacting with the patients," he said. "It’s a very different, more positive kind of a relationship. So, we bring our culture and merge it in and we essentially bring our UPMC brand to all of our centers oversees.”

UPMC began working overseas 15 years ago when it opened a transplant center in Sicily, Italy. Since then, it has worked in several other countries. UPMC partners with local providers to launch the facilities.

In Cork, UPMC will be responsible for staffing and managing the facility but it will be located on Bon Secours’ Cork Campus. Bogosta said a medical director has already been identified from the region and he expects most of the staff to also be found in Ireland.

“Then what we have to do is assess each of these people to decide how much training they need, how much time do they need to spend in Pittsburgh,” Bogosta said. “There’s no question that everyone who comes to work for us will spend time in Pittsburgh, but it will vary on their level of skill and their level of capability.”

After the facility opens, UPMC will send administrative and clinical staff, along with physicians to continue training. The hope is to eventually grow the facility and offer chemotherapy and surgical oncology.

Bogosta said there are no plans for further expansion in Ireland at this time. Recently, UPMC adopted a concussion clinic it offered jointly locally with the Steelers to work in Ireland. It was then offered in partnership with the Gaelic Athletic Association and Bon Secours.