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Kazakhstan chooses UPMC to help plan oncological center

Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Despite its tumultuous divorce from rival Highmark Inc., hospital titan UPMC hit a record level of cash flow income over the past fiscal year and its health care plan membership grew significantly.

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Monday, July 9, 2012, 11:40 a.m.

The Kazakhstan government selected UPMC to study which services a planned oncology treatment and research center in that country should offer, the health giant said on Monday.

A team of UPMC experts will work with Nazarbayev University, which the government chose to manage a National Research Cancer Center it wants to build in Astana, the capital.

The study could lead to more UPMC involvement in the project, which is expected to include a 300- to 400-bed hospital, officials said.

“This agreement underscores the excellent reputation that our clinicians and staff have developed worldwide for offering high-quality cancer care through an extensive network of sites, providing easy access to patients,” said Charles Bogosta, president of UPMC's international and commercial division.

UPMC targeted several countries over the past decade to offer clinical services and management. It operates a specialized hospital in Sicily that provides organ transplantation and other services and is behind a planned biomedical research and biotechnology center there.

In 2008, UPMC began managing a 183-bed hospital in Dublin.

Last year, UPMC officials said they met with officials in China to talk about potential projects, including cancer centers. Plans for services in China are not finalized although UPMC provides pathology consultation to KingMed Diagnostics, the largest independent medical diagnostic laboratory in China.

The Kazakhstan project will involve outpatient care, a research facility and a hotel. More than 30,000 cases of cancer are reported in Kazakhstan every year, UPMC officials said. Doctors diagnose half of the patients in the late stages of the disease, they said.

Officials did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

Luis Fábregas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7998 or

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