PITTSBURGH, February 2, 2007 The UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre in Waterford, Ireland, has signed an agreement with the Irish Governments Health Service Executive (HSE) to allow the center to provide radiation treatment to public cancer patients those who do not have private health insurance. This is the first time that the Irish government has agreed to pay for radiation therapy at a private facility. Half of Irelands population receives health coverage from the national government.
The center, which was dedicated by Irelands prime minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, in October 2006, provides cancer patients in southeast Ireland with state-of-the-art radiation therapy in a community-based setting. Prior to the centers development, radiation therapy was unavailable locally to Waterfords 48,000 residents. Cancer patients were required to travel to Cork, 80 miles southwest, or Dublin, 100 miles north, to receive treatment.
The lack of radiation services in Waterford created a dire situation for cancer patients in the region, forcing them to travel as many as 200 miles round-trip, five days per week during their course of treatment or to forgo it altogether, said Jeffrey Shogan, M.D., director of business services and chief business officer at UPMC Cancer Centers. Now, we can provide these needed services to all cancer patients, regardless of their insurance status.
The HSE is happy to be working in partnership with UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre in providing radiotherapy for public patients in the southeast, said Richard Dooley, Network Manager, HSE Southeast, who signed the agreement for the HSE. The center is a part of the Pittsburgh-based UPMC Cancer Centers, a world leader in delivery of cancer services, and we are satisfied that patients from the southeast will be treated to the best available standards.
The Waterford facility is based on UPMC Cancer Centers hub-and-satellite model, which links community-based satellite locations to a hub facility, the Hillman Cancer Center, in Pittsburgh, Pa., through a telecommunications network. The network allows highly trained medical physicists based at the Hillman to share information and expertise with radiation specialists at satellite centers when developing complex radiation treatment plans for individual patients.
This is the first international cancer center for UPMC Cancer Centers, a network of 45 facilities in western Pennsylvania and California. One of the worlds leading academic medical centers, UPMC is exporting its medical and technological expertise around the world. Besides two cancer centers in Ireland, UPMC operates a transplant hospital in Italy and provides emergency medicine services in Qatar.