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Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Destination Spotlight

Clinical excellence in pediatric transplantation, cardiac care services, and neurosciences; exceptional, healing-friendly new facilities; concierge services that help patients and families feel at home until they return home: Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC welcomes you to the one place where these elements converge to set new standards in complex pediatric care.

We call this convergence PassportCareTM. It’s the reason why, across the United States and around the world, referring physicians and informed parents choose Children’s Hospital for complex clinical care.

In more than 100 years of service, we’ve helped define excellence in pediatric care and research. The Leapfrog Group, a leading independent health care information organization, has recognized Children’s as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the United States for patient safety three years in a row.


Our Heart Center unites some of the most highly respected pediatric cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons with highly specialized cardiac care services and some of the world’s most advanced pediatric heart disease technologies.

According to data for 2008-2009 compiled by the Society for Thoracic Surgery, the Heart Center ranked as one of only two high-volume pediatric cardiovascular programs in the country with a surgical mortality rate of less than 1%. Nationally, the average mortality rate for high-volume pediatric cardiovascular programs was 3.4%.

Our Pediatric Neurosciences program, with its leading pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons, is recognized internationally for its outstanding care of infants, children, and young adults with diseases of, or injuries to, the brain or spinal cord.

The Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation, established in 1981 under renowned transplant pioneer Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, as the nation’s first pediatric transplant center, has performed more transplants in infants or children than any other facility of its type. We specialize in heart, lung, heart and lung, liver, intestine, multivisceral, kidney, and blood and marrow transplants, and we achieve pediatric outcomes that rank among the best.

At Children’s Hospital, a highly qualified team of physicians, researchers, and staff occupy an innovative new 10-acre campus designed to provide extraordinary family-centered care.

And, during your stay with us, our Passport Care team will work closely with you, offering assistance with housing, transportation, administration, translation, and religious and cultural matters.


Children’s Hospital is leading the way in the development of telemedicine services through “tele” clinical programs that bring pediatric specialists to other hospitals on a national and international basis through modern technology, including high-definition teleconferencing and store-and-forward e-mail consultation.

Children’s offers remote consultation of critical care units to hospitals around the world in need of pediatric intensivists. This effort is led by Ricardo Muñoz, MD, FAAP, FCCM, F.A.C.C., chief of Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and medical director for Global Business and Telemedicine for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Children’s currently provides consultative services with pediatric cardiac critical care units in various cities in Colombia. In Palermo, Italy, telemedicine services are provided for post-operative management of pediatric liver transplant patients, led by George Mazariegos, MD, director of the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation.


When patients, families and visitors enter Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC through the Transformation Corridor, there’s a large sign welcoming them in 25 languages. The sign is just one of the many ways visitors are made to feel at home. Children’s Hospital created the Passport Care Program to help out-of-state and international visitors become accustomed to the hospital and the culture even before they arrive in Pittsburgh.


The Passport Care team helps secure visas and navigates through the referral process. They also help patients and their families understand medical information and finances, and act as liaison between patients, physicians, and the clinical teams.

The team helps families fill out forms and complete the registration and admission processes. They also help coordinate transportation, and lodging – all on a complimentary basis. Helping international families adapt to the local culture is also key function of the Passport Care team’s role.


Every member of the Passport Care team is fluent in at least one language other than English. If a family speaks Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, or French, staff members can interpret for them. If they speak one of the many other languages, the team can direct patients and staff to the many resources available such as the language line or in-person interpretation.

The team helps families:

  • Communicate with Physicians and Hospital Staff
  • Navigate Through the Hospital and the Local Region
  • Understand Medical, Administrative, and Financial Documents

About the Authors

Mariel C. Garcia is the Director of International and Telemedicine Services for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. In this role, she oversees the operations of the Clinical Concierge service and the PassportCareTM Program to meet the needs of out-of-state and international patients and families.

She is responsible for developing and implementing growth strategies for Children’s international business and has been instrumental in the program’s expansion through partnerships and cultivation of new markets; including the establishment of education and training agreements with key international hospitals and partnering with foreign insurance companies to make Children’s the hospital of preference.

Ms. Garcia has over 9 years of Health Care and hospital management experience. She works closely with clinicians, administrators, and international customers in formulating strategic and operational plans. Ms. Garcia holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla-Colombia. Ms. Garcia can be contacted at

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