Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC?

The International Department at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC helps patients throughout their medical care. We assist our patients and their families before, during and after their visit to Children's Hospital. We schedule appointments close together to make your visit an efficient one.

Children's Hospital again was named to the U.S. News and World Report's Honor Roll of America's "Best Children's Hospitals." Children's Hospital ranked 10th in the nation overall, and was ranked in each of the 10 pediatric specialties.

What is the role of the International Services Department in my care?

The International Services Department at Children's Hospital provides personalized, culturally appropriate care for patients traveling to Children's from outside Pittsburgh and the United States. The department also leverages Children's extensive knowledge base in medicine, nursing, medical education, research and health care administration to improve health care delivery for our patients and their families through sustainable, high-impact collaborations locally and throughout the world.

Can you help me with my visa application?

For patients traveling to Children's Hospital from outside the US, the International Services Department strongly advises that you obtain a B1 or B2 visa in case there is a need to change or extend your stay, which is always possible. The initial trip to Children's Hospital may only require a short stay, but it is important to have the necessary flexibility to stay longer once treatment is recommended. 

The B1 (business) and B2 (pleasure) visa provide this flexibility when traveling to the United States for medical reasons. Under a B1 or B2 visa, the initial period of stay may be granted for up to a six-month period based on your I-94 status granted by the immigration officials upon arrival and can be extended for a fee. 

Please note that your I-94 application, which will be completed upon your arrival in the US, requires a specific address, including street name and number of any hotel or residence, in order to be processed quickly. Without this specific information your airport arrival can be extended for several hours.

Once you have been accepted as a patient, you will receive a visa letter from our office. This document verifies your appointment at Children's Hospital, and estimates the time needed for your initial evaluation and treatment. This letter must be taken to a US embassy or consulate when you apply for a visa.

Will I have an assigned interpreter for my entire stay?

The International Services Department will provide you with interpretation services during your stay at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. This service is provided through qualified medical interpreters at no cost to you. 

In an effort to ensure continuity of care and a thorough experience at CHP, our interpreters are an extension of the staff that will be caring for you and your family. We assign you an interpreter for your entire stay; however, to ensure that your interpretation needs are always met, and that we continue to provide you with an exceptional experience at Children's Hospital, we will also introduce you to a secondary interpreter who will assist if your primary interpreter is unavailable.

Is there a financial assistance program for international patients?

We do not have a program to offer financial assistance for the care and treatment of patients residing outside of the state of Pennsylvania at this time.

What information do you need from me so my child can receive medical treatment at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC?

We would need a medical report written by a physician including clinical history, diagnosis and current treatment, laboratories and also information such as height, weight and medications. It is also helpful to have copies of any imaging available. For us to be able to communicate this information via email with our medical team, we would also need that you sign and send back to us the attached form. All medical information must be in English.

How soon can I make an appointment for my child?

Once the medical information has been reviewed by our physicians, they will decide on the appropriate plan for care. If you agree with the clinical plan and subsequent financial agreement, we may proceed with arranging appointments. We will work with you and with our physicians to accommodate your needs.

What options are available for payment? When should I pay for medical treatment?

We work with you to ensure you understand the cost of your child's care. Our experienced staff can help you understand what charges are anticipated for our services, and work with you to facilitate payment in advance of consultation, whether through international insurance, self-payment or Embassy/Government sponsorship. Our team has extensive experience and helping families through this process.

There are three ways a patient may pay for healthcare services at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC:

  • Health insurance: We will work with your insurance company to determine your coverage. To make the process run efficiently, it is important that you know what services your health insurance plan covers. We will gladly assist you in this process. Your insurance company has the final say in which services are covered and which ones are not. Please provide us with your insurance card, the insurance company name and your policy number.
  • Self Pay: You will pay for your healthcare using one of the acceptable forms of payment. If you are a self-paying patient, you will receive an estimate for your medical care prior to your child's first appointment or admittance to the hospital. All estimates for your procedures and services at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh are estimates only. Your final bill will be calculated once your hospital stay is completed. Quoted prices are based on receiving full payment prior to medical services. Prices include all physician and hospital fees but do not include incidental expenses such as housing, transportation and phone calls. If the medical treatment changes, the hospital bill may vary substantially from the estimate. In the event that additional treatment is recommended, it may be necessary to arrange for additional payment prior to receiving those services.
  • Embassy/Government Sponsored: Your embassy or government will pay for your healthcare services. If you are a government-sponsored patient, you do not need to pay in advance. However, a letter of authorization from the embassy will be required before you can receive treatment.

What housing options are available close to the hospital?

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has special rates with local hotels and extended-stay units that are available for patient families. Make sure you mention that you are coming to receive medical treatment at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC when you call.

For Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's patients, our Department offers assistance on getting housing in one of the following locations:

  • Ronald McDonald HouseThe Ronald McDonald House, located adjacent to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in the Plaza Building, is one of 290 Ronald McDonald houses worldwide. The facility houses 60 private apartments on six floors, with the amenities of home such as equipped kitchens, flat screen televisions and Internet access. Common areas on the top floor include a community room; additional computer stations; a children's play area; a group dining area; and a large kitchen with a stove. Laundry facilities and a linen service are provided on site for families in residence. Cost per night is $15 dollars.

  • Family HouseFamily House provides patients and their families comfortable, affordable surroundings while they receive medical treatment in the Pittsburgh area. Family House has four different locations near our hospital. Cost per night varies from $45 to $60 per night.

Once we know the exact date you will arrive in Pittsburgh we will include you in the waiting list for one of these places. They do not take reservations but based on availability they assign a room to the next person on the list.

If you prefer, there are also other options of housing such as a hotel or furnished apartments. Please review your available options while staying in Pittsburgh.

Can I stay with my child while s/he is admitted in the Hospital? How often can I visit my child?

In acute care rooms, there is a sofa available that becomes a sleeping space, enabling two parents to stay with their child overnight. In critical care units, one parent, guardian, or primary caregiver may stay overnight.

Immediate family members (parents, legal guardians, or adults designated by parent or courts) may be with the patient at any time. Special hours may be instituted at the discretion of the nursing unit for other family members and guests.

Siblings and other family members and guests are welcome from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The number of family members and guests at the bedside depends upon the needs of the patient and the staff members providing care. Generally, at any one time the number of people at the bedside should be limited to two in critical care and four in acute care. Patient care staff may request that guests exit the patient room at any time.

I do not speak English, will you provide interpretation?

Every International Services team member is fluent in at least one language other than English. In addition, our diverse group of doctors and staff includes many native speakers of non-English languages.

Our team of International Liaisons, who are dedicated to addressing the needs of parents, patients, and referring physicians around the world, are available to respond to questions by phone or email in fluent: 

  • Arabic
  • English
  • Spanish

We also work with professional interpreters who are available to you while you receive medical care at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

We make communication easy in any language among patients, families, doctors, caregivers, and hospital staff. That includes translating forms, questionnaires, and other documents. We also attend appointments with you, assist with potential concerns regarding medical issues, ensure you understand the medical treatment your child is receiving and update your family throughout treatment.

We also schedule appointments and tests, guide through registration and admission, interpret information about costs, billing, and insurance and relay reports of your child's progress to your physician back home.

What will happen once I return home? Will I and my doctor at home have medical records or our visit to Pittsburgh?

After returning home, someone will be available to facilitate clinical and administrative dealings with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Our PassportCare program strives to keep your mind on your child by taking care of the non-medical details.

Your child's physician is a key member of the care team. Timely communication regarding care plans is provided to the primary care physician during treatment, and when your child goes home.

Our expert International Services liaison will coordinate with your child's physician on your behalf, and will make sure you receive a copy of medical records and a CD with medical images taken during your child's evaluation and treatment. Please stay in touch with us and contact us with any questions you may have once you go back home.

Can CHP evaluate my child or the child of someone I am helping?

Children's Hospital offers a referral process for international patients. The patient needs to be both medically accepted and financially approved before appointments, tests, or procedures are scheduled at our hospital.

How long does the referral process take?

The length of the patient referral process can vary greatly from case to case. It tends to move more quickly when all required information is sent to the International Department in a timely fashion. The more information we have the more easily we can determine if and how we can help.

How do I find lodging for my visit?

Our International Services team members are experts on places to stay during your visit. A wide variety of options exist for families of patients in Pittsburgh. Our team will direct you based upon the length of your stay and your budget.

Should I rent a car while I am in Pittsburgh?

If your stay in Pittsburgh will be brief and you do not expect to explore outside the near vicinity of the hospital, a car is not needed. If you intend to shop or sightsee while you are here, renting a car for a day or two is advisable.

How am I expected to navigate through the hospital, registration, admission, and the Pittsburgh area?

An International Services team member will provide you with a tour of the hospital and accompany you while you become acclimated with your new surroundings. If you decide to explore outside of our campus, we will be happy to provide information and options to fit your needs.