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Region of Sicily and ISMETT Sign 10-year Renewal, Plan 2nd Hospital

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PITTSBURGHISMETT, the UPMC-operated transplant hospital in Palermo, Italy, and the Region of Sicily recently signed a 10-year renewal of their longtime partnership for managing the facility. The agreement provides funding that will expand the number of beds in the hospital by almost 50 percent and affirms the region’s support for a new hospital to be built in Sicily adjacent to the planned Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center, both of which also will be operated by UPMC. 


The new Framework Agreement allocates an investment of €100 million per year from the Region of Sicily for the next 10 years. It was signed in late December by Nello Musumeci, governor of the Region of Sicily; Ruggero Razza, regional health care commissioner; Bruno Gridelli, M.D., managing director of UPMC Italy; Roberto Colletti, special commissioner of Civico Hospital in Palermo; Camillo Ricordi, ISMETT president; and Alessandro Padova, Ri.MED Foundation director general.


“This agreement bonds us with the United States of America in an alliance of friendship, but it also is a sign of trust — well-deserved, though unusual for the public administration, considering the duration of the contract,” said Musumeci. “Trust is especially expressed by Sicilian citizens who, over so many years, have known and appreciated a clinical facility that demonstrates high levels of performance and serves as a model for Sicilian health care. “


Under the agreement, the number of beds at ISMETT (Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad alta specializzazione) will increase from 78 to 114. At least 3 percent of the budget established by the region will be allocated to training for staff from other Sicilian clinical facilities.


Gridelli recalled the first transplant at ISMETT 20 years ago and highlighted the fact that patients are increasingly coming to this widely acclaimed transplant and high specialty center from other regions. About 3 percent of patients come from abroad, mainly children in need of liver transplantation and complex pediatric surgery. 


“This new, long-term agreement with the region is a testament to the excellence that was achieved by ISMETT and will provide greater stability and continued excellence for this successful partnership between UPMC and the Region of Sicily,” said Gridelli. 


Added Chuck Bogosta, president of UPMC International: “This agreement is a significant vote of confidence in what we have delivered for patients in Sicily for more than two decades. Our planned expansion underscores our commitment to provide the best possible care to patients close to home in all of the communities that we serve.” 


Founded in June 1997 by the Region of Sicily and UPMC, ISMETT was included in the regional health system in 2012 and two years later was designated as a government-approved research hospital, or Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS). The designation acknowledges ISMETT for its excellence in research, training, quality of care and management of health services. In June, the Ri.MED Foundation became part of ISMETT’s governance structure.


The proposed hospital next to the Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center in Carini will include 250 beds. The hospital and research center are expected to fuel scientific and medical excellence in southern Italy and will provide training, in collaboration with Sicilian universities, to health care professionals in various fields. Groundbreaking for the research center is expected later this year, with construction of the hospital expected to follow in 2020.