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UPMC Plans To Spend $2 Billion On Three New Specialty Hospitals In Pittsburgh

*UPDATED Nov. 3, 2017 at 5:44 p.m.

Pennsylvania’s largest hospital system has announced a $2 billion project to build three “digital hospitals of the future” in Pittsburgh, in partnership with Microsoft. The new UPMC facilities will focus on cancer, vision and rehabilitation, and the heart and transplants.

Limited information was shared on Microsoft’s role in the project, but at the announcement UPMC president and CEO Jeffery A. Romoff said he wants the system to be the “Amazon” of health care by taking an interdisciplinary, research-based approach to care.

“This is considerably more than a construction project,” said Romoff. “At the core, these specialty hospitals are the flourishing expression of innovative translational science and disruptive digital technology.”

UPMC already has specialty centers in these areas and the new hospitals will be adjacent to those existing sites.

The new UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital, projected to open in 2022, will replace an urgent care facility in Shadyside. A bridge will attach Hillman to office space and a new inpatient cancer hospital.

A parking lot on the Boulevard of the Allies near Duquesne University will become the UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital. UPMC said that hospital will open in 2020.

No date has been given for the completion of the future UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital, which will be built in Oakland on the UPMC Presbyterian campus.

Dr. Steve Shapiro, UPMC’s chief medical officer, said he hopes this hospital will define the field of organ translations, “making it safe, simple and durable as replacing the engine on one’s car.”

In addition to the high-tech care and world-class physicians, the new hospitals will have private rooms with hotel-like amenities, gourmet food and valet parking.

UPMC hasn’t said how many new jobs this project will create though it will hire additional staff including clinicians and research scientists. With more than 80,000 employees, it is Pennsylvania’s largest non-governmental employer.

*This post has been updated to reflect comments by Jeffrey Romoff and Dr. Steve Shapiro at a press conference on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. 

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio. As a contributor to the NPR-Kaiser Health News Member Station Reporting Project on Health Care in the States, Sarah's print and audio reporting frequently appears on NPR and KFF Health News.