UPMC grows its global consulting
October 10, 2014 in Medical Technology
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is exporting its knowledge and management services around the world, to countries like China and Lithuania expanding healthcare for emerging middle class populations.
UPMC Advisory Services has reached an agreement with a healthcare operations company in Lithuania to help design and manage a 100-bed cancer center in Vilnius, the nation’s capital city with a population of 540,000, and one of many such deals in UPMC’s $10 billion global health enterprise.
Under the 15-year management agreement with the GK Klinika Group, UPMC will help plan and train staff for the center, set to open in 2017, and will oversee clinical, administrative and technology programs, including cancer detection programs, genomics-testing pilots and disease-specific treatment pathways. UPMC physicians will also provide consults via telemedicine for advanced surgeries and second opinions.
Lithuania’s healthcare system is somewhat similar to Germany’s “Bismarck model,” with publicly-funded low-cost and free basic medical care and an insurance fund for hospitalization and acute care, with about 75 percent of funding from payroll taxes and the rest allocated by the national budget.
[See also: UPMC set to market analytics technology.]
Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania
While the the hospital will take patients covered by public and private insurance from the Baltic region, GK Klinka is funding the project with all private financing. The Lithuanian government is working to encourage foreign business investment and growth, said Charles Bogosta, president of UPMC’s international and commercial services division.
For UPMC, the agreement with one of several “international growth and commercialization efforts” is aimed at diversifying sources of revenue and development to support research and local community development.
In 1996, UPMC partnered with Italy to create a transplant center in Palermo, the Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Advanced Specialized Therapies, and then in the 2000s took on operations and services contracts in Ireland and elsewhere, some of which brought financing problems. Earlier this year, UPMC sold the last of its stake in the 214-bed Beacon Hospital in Dublin, with a loss of $106 million, although another UPMC-led Irish cancer center is continuing unaffected.
Overall, UPMC’s new Advisory Services consulting business is growing, landing contracts in 10 countries, including China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan and Singapore. In 2011, UPMC started providing second-opinion pathology consultations virtually to China’s largest independent medical laboratory, KingMed Diagnostics.