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September 30, 2004

Rehab Services Moving to UPMC South Side

UPMC this week announced the establishment of the UPMC Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (IRR) to be located at UPMC South Side.

The creation of the IRR will move the hub of the UPMC rehabilitation network from the UPMC Rehabilitation Hospital in Squirrel Hill to UPMC South Side. The Squirrel Hill facility will be sold for $9 million to the Children’s Institute, which currently shares the space with UPMC.

The move will give patients access to the same rehabilitation services that have been provided at UPMC rehab, in addition to the acute care services available at UPMC South Side, and cutting-edge research developments from Pitt’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, one of the top departments of its kind in the United States.

Similar to the Hillman Cancer Center model, the IRR will house both the basic and clinical research facilities for the physical medicine and rehabilitation department, currently ranked 8th in National Institutes of Health funding among departments of its kind,

“By the year 2012, an estimated 20 percent of Americans will have some form of paralysis or other significant impairment,” said Ross Zafonte, professor and chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and vice president of clinical rehabilitation services for UPMC. “Baby boomers approaching the age where they are more likely to need rehab services paired with the large number of veterans with impairment from brain and spinal cord injury and limb loss promise to glut the system if we don’t make a concerted effort to come up with new therapies.”

Facilities offered by UPMC South Side that were not available at UPMC Rehab include an on-site pharmacy, laboratory services, advanced radiology services and access to an emergency room.

A contributing factor to the move is the lack of available space for growth for both UPMC and the Children’s Institute’s programs. With this move, the Children’s Institute will be able to expand into the space previously occupied by UPMC, while the South Side offers many opportunities for future growth for UPMC’s rehabilitation programs. Officials also cite the South Side as an ideal area for the development and growth of anticipated spin-off companies formed to market technologies developed from the research at the IRR.

Services will move from the Squirrel Hill facility to the South Side facility when renovations are completed in summer 2005.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 37 Issue 3

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