University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
|Headquarters||U.S. Steel Tower
|Area served||Western Pennsylvania, Italy, Ireland, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Qatar, Japan, China|
|Key people||Jeffrey Romoff - President
Steven Shapiro - Chief Medical and Scientific Officer
|Services||tertiary level clinical care
community medical facilities
retirement & long-term care
health care management
medical information technology
|Revenue||$9.0 billion USD (FY 2010)|
International & Commercial Services
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is a $10 billion integrated global nonprofit health enterprise that has 54,000 employees, 20 hospitals, 4,733 licensed beds, 400 outpatient sites and doctors’ offices, a 2.2 million-member health insurance division, as well as commercial and international ventures. UPMC is closely affiliated with its academic partner, the University of Pittsburgh. It is considered a leading American health care provider, as its flagship facilities have ranked in US News & World Report "Honor Roll" of the approximately 15 to 20 best hospitals in America for well over a decade. As of 2013, UPMC is ranked 10th nationally among the best hospitals (and first in Pennsylvania) by US News & World Report and ranked in 15 of 16 specialty areas, including eight specialties for which UPMC placed in the top 10. This does not include Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC which ranked in the top 10 of pediatric centers in a separate US News ranking.
- 1 History
- 2 Operations
- 3 Facilities
- 3.1 Flagship facilities
- 3.1.1 UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside
- 3.1.2 Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
- 3.1.3 Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
- 3.2 Tertiary hospitals
- 3.3 Acute care/community hospitals
- 3.4 International hospitals and facilities
- 3.1 Flagship facilities
- 4 Community engagement
- 5 Criticism and controversies
- 6 In popular culture
- 7 Gallery
- 8 References
- 9 External links
UPMC has its roots in the 1893 establishment of Presbyterian Hospital, which serves as the medical center's flagship facility, and the 1886 founding of the Western Pennsylvania Medical College. Soon after its founding, the medical college became affiliated with the Western University of Pennsylvania in 1892, and in 1908, was fully integrated into the university which that same year was renamed to the University of Pittsburgh. Already having worked out informal agreements for teaching and staffing privileges with a number of local hospitals, Pitt and its School of Medicine desired to establish an academic medical center, and by the mid-1920s had formed a plan with a coalition of city hospitals to have them relocate to the Oakland neighborhood of the city that the university had itself moved to in 1909. The University provided Presbyterian Hospital, then located on the North Side, with a tract of land on its campus for construction of a new hospital which broke ground in 1930 and was subsequently opened in 1938. By the end of the 1930s, the University of Pittsburgh had helped to form the "University Medical Center" which included Falk Clinic, Children's, Eye and Ear, Libby Steele Magee, Presbyterian General, and Women's Hospital, as well as the planned Municipal Hospital. In 1949, a new affiliation agreement between the University and Presbyterian Hospital established a three-tiered mission of patient care, research, and education and by 1951, the hospital name changed to Presbyterian University Hospital in order to reflect its close ties with the University of Pittsburgh. Through the years, the University and the hospitals moved toward an ever-tightening alliance. In 1965, the University, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic which was managed by the School of Medicine, Presbyterian-University, Magee and Women's, Eye and Ear, and Children's Hospitals incorporated the University Health Center of Pittsburgh (UHCP). In 1969, Montefiore Hospital joined UHCP. In the 1970s, a new model of administration, in which clinical revenues were invested into research, was implemented at Western Psychiatric under the leadership of Thomas Detre. After guiding the psychiatric institute to become one of the largest recipients of National Institute of Health funding, Detre assumed leadership overseeing all six of the University's schools of health sciences in the early 1980s. Implementing the same administrative model in those units, the collective schools of the health sciences and medical center were ultimately transformed into one of the largest centers for biomedical research in the nation.
Merger and expansion
Beginning in 1986, members of the University Health Center including Presbyterian University Hospital, Falk Clinic, the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Eye & Ear Hospital began to consolidate. The consolidated group, re-termed the Medical and Health Care Division (MHCD) and led by Detre, became closely linked administratively, although Presbyterian University Hospital remained a separate entity. In 1990, MHCD acquired neighboring Montefiore Hospital which it merged with Presbyterian University Hospital to form the entity that was then renamed as the "University of Pittsburgh Medical Center" (shortened to UPMC), which was the first time the current name of the medical center was officially used. UPMC then began to form a network of affiliated specialty and community hospitals in 1994 termed the Tri-State Health System and established a for-profit health insurance division, UPMC Health Plan, which contracted with these hospitals. In 1996, UPMC had moved to acquire South Side, Aliquippa and Braddock hospitals. Meanwhile, UPMC began to merge with several of the already affiliated Tri-State hospitals including St. Margaret Memorial, Shadyside, and Passavant hospitals in 1997 and Magee-Womens Hospital in 1998. The acquisition and mergers of hospitals morphed the Tri-State Health System into a consolidation of hospitals that currently makes up a significant portion of the UPMC health system. Due to its immense growth of the medical center, as well as the University's concerns regarding the financial risks associated with its faculty practice plans in the face of national changes in health care reimbursements, the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC restructured their relationship and legally separated in 1998 thus launching UPMC as an independent nonprofit corporation. The University consolidated its physicians' practice plans and transferred them, along with the university's hospital management functions, to UPMC, with UPMC providing ongoing financial support to the University and its academic missions in return. The result was a mutually exclusive partnership of close affiliation formalized by a series of interrelated agreements and mutual executive oversights, which includes the sharing of numerous board members. This created a collaborative and coordinated decision-making model in which UPMC oversees all clinical activity, while the University of Pittsburgh remains the guardian of all academic priorities, particularly faculty-based research.
Expansion of UPMC continued in 2001 as Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh began merging with UPMC. Since then, UPMC's growth has continued, including a merger with Mercy Hospital in 2008, the opening of new Children's Hospital facilities in 2009, the integration of Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania in 2011, and the continued expansion of overseas operations and for-profit business ventures. UPMC now operates approximately 20 academic, community, and specialty hospitals in Western Pennsylvania, as well as 400 outpatient sites, more than 50 facilities for physical, occupational, speech and specialty therapies, and 14 retirement and long-term care site, along with its international and for-profit ventures.
Among the more renowned individuals who have worked with the University of Pittsburgh's medical center through its history are Jonas Salk who developed the polio vaccine while at the University of Pittsburgh, pediatric psychoanalyst Benjamin Spock, Peter Safar who pioneered CPR and the world's first intensive care training program at the medical center, and surgeon Thomas Starzl who perfected organ transplantation there. Other notable doctors include pathologist Maud Menten who is famous for her contributions to enzyme kinetics, leading orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert Freddie Fu, pioneering immunologist Niels Kaj Jerne, noted forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, pediatrician Jack Paradise, leading head and neck cancer surgeon and otolaryngologist Eugene Nicholas Myers, laparoscopic liver resection pioneer David Geller, breast cancer treatment pioneer Bernard Fisher, and virologists Patrick Moore and Yuan Chang, who co-discovered Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus.
UPMC has provided care to many celebrities, including Pennsylvania two-term governor and 1992 Presidential candidate Robert P. Casey for cancer, 10,000 Maniacs guitarist and founder Robert Buck for liver disease, sportscaster Bob Prince, publisher William Block, MCI CEO William G. McGowan, transplant recipient Stormie Jones and Pittsburgh mayors Bob O'Connor for lymphoma and Richard Caliguiri for amyloidosis. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was rushed to UPMC Mercy after his 2006 motorcycle crash concussion.
Administratively headquartered in the top five floors of the U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh's Central Business District, UPMC operates as a complete and integrated health provider system that, although is legally separate from the University of Pittsburgh, remains closely affiliated with the university and its Schools of the Health Sciences including the existence of mutual board memberships and subsidization of the university's academic programs. Under a collaborative and coordinated decision-making model, UPMC oversees all clinical activity, including a consolidated physicians' practice plan consisting of university faculty, while the University of Pittsburgh remains the guardian of all academic priorities, particularly faculty-based research. UPMC's 24-member Board of Directors equally splits representation between three groups: the University of Pittsburgh, the community at-large, and individuals historical involved in the governance of its system's hospitals. UPMC is composed of three major operating components: Provider Services, Insurance Services, and International and Commercial Services. The later two divisions include the for-profit health insurance company (UPMC Health Plan) and a for-profit International and Commercial Services Division that seeks to bring health care, management, and technologies to market throughout the world. UPMC is Western Pennsylvania's largest employer, and second in the state only to Wal-Mart.
Provider Services Division
UPMC's Provider Services consists of an array of clinical capabilities that includes hospitals, specialty service lines (including transplantation, behavioral health, cancer care, children's health, women's health, and rehabilitation services among other centers, institutes, and services), contract services (emergency medicine, pharmacy, and laboratory), supporting foundations, captive insurance programs, and more than 2,700 employed physicians with associated practices. Hospital activity is categorized in four distinct groups: 1. academic hospitals that provide comprehensive clinical services and specialty services and that are the primary academic and teaching centers; 2. community hospitals that provide core clinical services to suburban populations; 3. regional hospitals that provide clinical core services to broader areas of the Western Pennsylvania region; and 4. pre- and post-acute care capabilities that include a network of home health services (UPMC HomeCare) and a network of senior living facilities (UPMC Senior Communities).
Insurance Services Division
UPMC Insurance Services, operating under the umbrella UPMC Health Plan brand, was founded in 1998 and includes various for-profit and non-profit health care financing initiatives. The integrated products of the UPMC Insurance Services Division include UPMC Health Plan (HMO), UPMC Health Network (PPO), UPMC Work Partners (workers' compensation and disability for employers), UPMC for Life (Medicare products), UPMC for You (HMO for Medical Assistance beneficiaries), and Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (a non-profit behavioral health PPO for Medical Assistance beneficiaries). These products combine to offer a full range of HMOs, PPOs, and EPOs for group health insurance, Medicare, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance, and workers' compensation products and services. UPMC also offers consumer-directed health plans like health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements. UPMC's provider networks total more than 135 hospitals and more than 11,500 physicians in a 29-county region,and has over two million members making it the second-largest insurer in Western Pennsylvania. It is also ranked as one of the top commercial health plans in the United States according to U.S. News & World Report. Also included in the Health Services Division are LifeSolutions, an employee assistance program; EBenefits Solutions, a web-based human resources consulting and benefits administration services; and Askesis Development Group, a software development group for behavioral health care.
International and Commercial Services Division
UPMC's International and Commercial Services Division (ICSD) actively manages UPMC's for-profit companies that seek to commercialize its expertise in health care, advanced technologies, and management skills to global markets. Its stated goal is "to advance UPMC’s mission of positively transforming the way health care is provided in the U.S. and abroad, while revitalizing the economy of western Pennsylvania." ICSD comprises operations in five areas: clinical services management, infrastructure consultation (with collaborations with companies such as dbMotion), strategic and commercial product development partnerships with companies such as IBM and Alcatel-Lucent, translational services, and national security and public health which includes UPMC's Center for Biosecurity that is dedicated to improving the country’s resilience to major biological threats.
UPMC currently operates approximately 20 academic, community, and specialty hospitals with more than 4,500 licensed beds; as well as 400 outpatient sites; 30 CancerCenter locations; more than 70 facilities for physical, occupational, speech and specialty therapies; and 20 retirement and long-term care site.
These following hospitals represent the core of UPMC's academic, teaching, trauma, specialty and research-related hospitals.
UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside
UPMC's primary flagship medical entity is UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside which serves as the system's primary academic hub and is the regions's largest inpatient acute care hospital. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside includes UPMC Presbyterian hospital and the physically conjoined UPMC Eye & Ear and UPMC Montefiore hospitals as well as the Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic that also serves as the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas Detre Hall. These facilities are all located on the western side of the University of Pittsburgh's main campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The hospitals are also physically connected to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine's Scaife Hall, the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing's Victoria Hall, Falk Clinic, three of the university's biomedical science towers, and the university's Lothrop Hall dormitory, all of which are surrounded by a variety of other academic facilities. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside also encompasses the UPMC Shadyside hospital campus which includes the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center which are located near the university's Centre Plaza Apartments student housing. The UPMC Shadyside facilities are located in the adjacent neighborhood of Shadyside approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the Oakland-based hospitals and are connected by regular shuttle service. Also operating under UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside is the UPMC Sports Performance Complex, located less than 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Oakland-based facilities on Pittsburgh's South Side. Taken together the facilities contain over 1,600 beds making it the fourth largest hospital in the United States.
UPMC Presbyterian campus
UPMC Presbyterian is the historical and academic center of UPMC and is physically attached to primary facility of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Scaife Hall. Located in Oakland, the hospital has 792 beds and includes a Level I Trauma Center. Listed among Becker's Hospital Review 50 Best Hospitals in America, UPMC Presbyterian's specialties include organ transplantation, cardiology, trauma, gastroenterology, and neurosurgery. The School of Medicine uses UPMC Presbyterian for research and graduate programs.
UPMC Montefiore, part of UPMC Presbyterian, was founded as Montefiore Hospital in 1908 by the Ladies Hospital Aid Society as a hospital for Jewish physicians and patients. Montefiore Hospital affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1957 and joined UPMC in 1990. It is the home to the clinical transplantation facilities originally headed by transplant pioneer Thomas Starzl and is physically connected to UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Eye and Ear by a series of pedestrian bridges.
UPMC Eye & Ear Institute
UPMC Eye & Ear Institute is located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh and is conjoined with the medical complex housing UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Montefiore, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and associated medical research towers. UPMC Ear & Eye Institute is one of a few centers in the nation dedicated entirely to the management of problems related to otolaryngology and ophthalmology.
UPMC Shadyside campus
UPMC Shadyside is part of UPMC's flagship medical entity and is located in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, with 520 beds and nearly 1,000 primary care physicians. Founded in as the Pittsburgh Homeopathic Hospital, it changed its name to that of the neighborhood of Shadyside on May 12, 1938. Shadyside agreed to be bought by UPMC on June 5, 1996. UPMC Shadyside is home to the Hillman Cancer Center, home of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
Hillman Cancer Center
The Hillman Cancer Center is the home of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute designated cancer center and UPMC Cancer Centers. Hillman Cancer Center serves as the flagship treatment and research facility of the UPMC Cancer Centers network. The center is located in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh and is connected to UPMC Shadyside via a pedestrian bridge.
Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic
Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic (WPIC) is Western Pennsylvania's largest psychiatric facility at 312 inpatient beds and serves as UPMC primary psychiatric facility. Also serving as a clinical research center and home to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry, it is located in Thomas Detre Hall on O'Hara Street in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh and is connected to UPMC Presbyterian by an underground tunnel.
A fatal shooting incident occurred at WPIC's Thomas Detre Hall on March 8, 2012. 30-year-old John Shick, a Carleton College alumnus and former Duquesne University biology graduate student, entered the building at 1:42 p.m. with two semiautomatic handguns and shot six people in the first-floor lobby. Michael Schaab, 25, a WPIC therapist, was killed. University of Pittsburgh police arrived just after 2 p.m. and engaged Shick in a gun battle, eventually killing him. Seven people, including Pitt police officers, were injured and two, including the shooter, were killed during the incident. Shick was reported to have a history of mental illness and had behaved erratically in the weeks before the shooting. Handwritten messages complaining about his medical treatment and the evils of "corporate America", floor plans and blueprints of Thomas Detre Hall, and supplies for making Molotov cocktails were found in his apartment after the shooting.
UPMC Sports Performance Complex
The UPMC Sports Performance Complex is a multipurpose, multisport training, sports science, and sports medical complex located along the shore of the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh and is unique in that it combines training facilities for the University of Pittsburgh football team and the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team in one location with an academically based sports science and medicine program. The complex consists of four centers which include the Center for Sports Medicine, Sports Training Center, Indoor Training Center, and the Fitness and Conditioning Center.
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is a specialty hospital of UPMC, specializing in pediatrics and is located two and a half miles from UPMC Presbyterian in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Serving as UPMC's primary pediatrics facility, it was originally located adjacent to UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland. Children's is one of four children's hospitals in the state, and its emergency department is one of only two Level I Pediatric Trauma Centers. More than 500,000 infants, children, and adolescents make trips to the hospital every year.
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC boasts 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2) and has 296 beds, with a 41-bed emergency department and a 36-bed pediatric intensive care unit. A ten-story research center was constructed, with seven out of the ten floors dedicated to pediatric medical research.
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is a UPMC specialty hospital that serves as its primary facility for women's health. Opened mainly for women on January 19, 1911; it has offered some services for men since the 1960s. The hospital is located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh near UPMC Presbyterian, a location it has been at since its fourth year in 1915. The hospital merged with UPMC in 1999. It currently is equipped with 360 beds, an emergency room and ambulatory facilities on four floors which allows it to offer all possible services under one roof including family medicine physicians, gastroenterologists, dermatologists, rheumatologists, pulmonary specialists, orthopedists, urologists and neurologists. Magee-Womens has a staff of 2,500, of which 1,500 are medically licensed. It also operates a satellite hospital in the city's northern suburbs as part as the UPMC Passavant facility as well as 9 metro area imaging clinics. In 2011 the hospital undertook an expansion of its main facility which was completed in June, 2012. The expansion added six floors, increased the number of beds from 318 to 360 (including 14 additional intensive care rooms), and expanded the surgical and ambulatory facilities. 10,000 births are performed at Magee each year, which accounts for 45 percent of all births in Allegheny County.
The following tertiary hospitals are major full-service, referral hospitals of the UPMC system.
UPMC Mercy is a teaching and Level 1 trauma hospital located in the Bluff neighborhood adjacent to downtown and less than two miles (3 km) from UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland. Mercy was the first chartered hospital in the city of Pittsburgh and was first hospital in the world to have been established by the Sisters of Mercy. Mercy has retained its affiliation with the Catholic Church following its merger with UPMC in January 2008.
UPMC Mercy South Side Outpatient Center
The UPMC Mercy South Side Outpatient Center, formerly UPMC South Side hospital, is a 209,000-square-foot (19,400 m2) urgent care and outpatient facility serving the South Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It is one of several UPMC outpatient medical facilities serving various communities throughout the region.
UPMC Hamot is 412-bed, tertiary care teaching medical center with a Level 2 trauma center located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Hamot offers primary medical care and a range of specialties. The hospital was founded in 1881 and officially became part of UPMC in 2011.
UPMC Hamot Women's Hospital
UPMC Hamot Women's Hospital is a five-story, 165,000 square-foot, 93-bed stand-alone hospital that opened in 2011. The hospital houses obstetrics, neonatology, and gynecology specialities of UPMC Hamot and includes a Level III neonatal intensive care unit. As of October 2013, it also houses the Pediatrics wing of UPMC Hamot.
Kane Community Hospital, an Affiliate of UPMC Hamot
UPMC Passavant is UPMC's tertiary care hospital of Pittsburgh's northern suburbs that consist of two campuses, one in McCandless and another in Cranberry Township. Founded by Lutherans in 1849, Passavant was the first Protestant hospital built in the United States. In 1964, Passavant moved from the City of Pittsburgh to its location in McCandless to serve the communities of northern Allegheny and southern Butler counties. Passavant merged with UPMC in 1997 and in 2002, as part of UPMC's acquisition of St. Francis Medical Center for the conversion of its flagship facility into the new Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, UPMC converted St. Francis' hospital in Cranberry into a satellite campus of UPMC Passavant. In 2010, a seven-story 188,000 square foot patient pavilion was opened on the McCandless campus bringing total beds there to 399.
Acute care/community hospitals
UPMC operates the following acute care community hospitals dedicated to specific missions within their particular communities.
- UPMC Altoona, located in Altoona, Pennsylvania
- UPMC Bedford Memorial, located in Everett, Pennsylvania.
- UPMC East, a $250 million full-service hospital that opened in Monroeville, Pennsylvania in July, 2012.
- UPMC Horizon, which consists of the Greenville and Shenango Valley campuses
- UPMC McKeesport, located in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.
- UPMC Northwest, located in Seneca, Pennsylvania.
- UPMC St. Margaret, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
International hospitals and facilities
Internationally, UPMC operates a transplant hospital in Italy (ISMETT), two cancer centers and Beacon Hospital in Ireland, a cancer center in Rome and an emergency medical system in Qatar. UPMC is also implementing information technology solutions and assisting with the development of cancer centers in the United Kingdom, will manage a newly created health care center in Cyprus, is providing consultation services in China, and, with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is implementing a U.S.-style resident training program in Japan. In addition, UPMC announced a partnership with GE Healthcare in November 2008 to open 25 additional cancer treatment centers across Europe and the Middle East over the next ten years. UPMC is also a partner with the University of Pittsburgh and the governments of Italy and the region of Sicily in Fondazione Ri.Med which is building a €210 million Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center in Carini near Palermo.
UPMC Beacon Hospital
UPMC Beacon Hospital is privately owned full-service hospital located in the Sandyford suburb of Dublin, Ireland. Beacon's nine-story, 238,000-square-foot (22,100 m2) facility includes 183-beds. UPMC began managing the hospital in 2008 and took majority ownership in 2009.
The Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Advanced Specialized Therapies (Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione, or ISMETT) is located in Palermo, Italy, and serves the region of Sicily and the Mediterranean as a hospital designed exclusively transplants and treatment of end-stage organ failure. ISMETT is a joint public-private partnership between the Region of Sicily, through Civico and Cervello hospitals in Palermo, and UPMC, which manages and operates the facility. It is also a center for research in regenerative medicine and various international collaborations including the University of Pittsburgh's and UPMC's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
UPMC has committed to several community projects, most notably pledging $100 million to the Pittsburgh Promise, a scholarship program to help students graduating from the Pittsburgh Public Schools pursue post-secondary education, and $525 million for construction of a new Children's Hospital. In fiscal year 2012, UPMC donated a combined $622 million in charitable community benefits. This included $96 million in community health programs and charitable donations to help stage more than 3,000 community health improvement programs, $288 million in support for research and education, and $238 million for charity care and unreimbursed health care, not including an additional $146 million to cover Medicare reimbursement shortfalls. Despite its 60% market share, UPMC accounted for 78% of the care in Allegheny County's low income communities and 88% of the care for children living in poverty.
Criticism and controversies
UPMC has been criticized for excessive profits, monopolistic practices, excessive advertising budgets, and focusing on overseas operations at the expense of domestic ones. In addition, various controversies have received significant local and national attention in recent years.
In 2008, the administration and reporting of UPMC's living donor liver transplantation program received national attention when internal studies, spearheaded by transplant pioneer Thomas Starzl, questioned the safety of the procedure and ultimately resulted in the forced resignation of liver transplant program head, Amadeo Marcos. Another controversy arose in May, 2011 for UPMC's live-donor kidney transplant program when a kidney infected with hepatitis C was transplanted into a non-infected person. The incident led UPMC to voluntarily shut down its kidney transplant program for two months, and resulted in the suspension of a nurse and demotion of a surgeon. Federal reviewers with United Network for Organ Sharing concluded human error at fault for the oversight and corrective plans that included multiple redundancies were instituted with oversight from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Because of the botched living donor kidney transplant at UPMC, the federal Organ Procurement Transplant Network (OPTN) put UPMC's transplant program on probation, a rarely used form of discipline handed down for some of the most serious transplant errors. The OPTN said it meted out the discipline not only because of the kidney transplant error, but because UPMC's transplant program was found to have problems in its communication and documentation procedures before.
In April 2009, rival West Penn Allegheny Health System filed an antitrust lawsuit against the UPMC and health insurer Highmark, claiming a conspiracy to create a monopoly. The lawsuit was later dismissed with prejudice. West Penn Allegheny filed an appeal of this judgment. Upon appeal, the case was unanimously reinstated by the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
In October 2009, UPMC's administration decision to close UPMC Braddock hospital resulted in multiple protest and lawsuits by community groups who disputed UPMC's claims that the hospital was losing money and was underutilized. The facility, now demolished in preparation for redevelopment, closed in January, 2010.
In April 2013, UPMC has been criticized for paying low wages, and using unfair labor practices to thwart efforts by employees to unionize, as alleged in the Service Employees International Union's complaint to the National Labor Relations Board.
In March 2013, the City of Pittsburgh filed a lawsuit in Federal court challenging the tax exempt status of UPMC as a public charity, in an effort to make UPMC to pay back taxes. The city alleges that UPMC has abused its status to avoid paying property taxes.
In popular culture
The television medical dramas Heartland (2007) and Three Rivers (2009) were largely based on UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. In both cases the hospitals are fictionalized, but in the latter series UPMC is also specifically referred to as another Pittsburgh-area hospital.
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- Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
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