Suzanne Richards, CEO of Hahnemann University Hospital in Center City, Pa., and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, is no longer employed at the organizations, according to The Inquirer.
A spokesperson for Paladin Healthcare, the owner of the two hospitals, confirmed to The Inquirer March 7 that Ms. Richards was dismissed. The spokesperson did not comment on the reason for her dismissal.
Ms. Richards assumed the role two months ago, after several years of experience at hospitals in Southern California.
In 2018, Paladin created an affiliate, El Segundo, Calif.-based American Academic Health System, to buy the two hospitals as well as their related operations from Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. American Academic Health System replaced several top executives at Hahnemann University Hospital after its purchase.
- Tenet Health reported Monday patient volumes continue to slide for both inpatient and outpatient units for the fourth quarter and full-year. Looking at volumes on a same facility basis, which accounts for the sale of facilities, total admissions declined nearly 3% in the fourth quarter compared to 2017 and fell nearly 2% in 2018 compared to 2017. Still, the hospital operator beat analyst expectations for its fourth quarter revenue and earnings per share.
- Hospital segment fourth quarter revenue fell nearly 8% to $3.8 billion from 2017 due to hospital sales last year and the California Provider Fee program. The ambulatory segment reported a modest increase in revenue to $554 million. And client losses in the Conifer RCM segment, which Tenet is looking to sell, caused revenue to dip nearly 6% compared with the fourth quarter in 2017.
- Overall, for the full year, revenue declined nearly 5% from 2017, while net income improved to $111 million compared to a net loss of $704 million in 2017
Hospitals throughout the country continue to face a number of headwinds affecting patient volumes, particularly inpatient admissions. But Tenet reported volume declines for nearly every patient measure, including outpatient visits.
Tenet’s competitor CHS also reported a drop in total admissions for the year, although CHS’ was much steeper.
While analysts with Jefferies said the softening of patient volumes for Tenet was of concern, the company also delivered strong payer-mix growth and increased hospital profit margins, which underscores “(management’s) progress in delivering cost efficiencies,” the investment bank’s analysts wrote in a note.
CEO Ronald Rittenmeyer told investors Tuesday the company is entering 2019 with a renewed sense of urgency around volume growth. Tenet’s chief operating officer will be tasked with improving organic growth at the system’s hospitals, he said.
Rittenmeyer also outlined the priorities for 2019, which include expanding its ambulatory business, adding new physicians and improving operations to win over patient loyalty. He added the company will look to develop its brand image by delivering the “same unified message” in advertising in its markets around the country.
Tenet disclosed it may have found a buyer or partner for its Conifer business, though executives could not offer any specifics. “We have recently entered into exclusivity with one of the parties that has been engaging with us. While there can be no assurance that this negotiation will result in a transaction we are very pleased with this progress,” Rittenmeyer said.
Tenet also released its guidance for 2019. It expects to generate revenue between $18 billion and $18.4 billion while its window for net income is expected to be between $15 million and $115 million.
Rittenmeyer called 2018 “a year of significant change for the company,” and pledged “additional progress in each of our business segments in 2019 in line with our plan to deliver long-term sustainable growth.”
The selling spree is primarily meant to pay down the company’s outsized debt load left over from when Community Health was growing as fast as it could. But the hospital chain was also strategically pulling out of small towns, including several in Tennessee.
CEO Wayne Smith told investors gathered at this week’s annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco that it’s almost entirely left communities with fewer than 50,000 people — once its calling card compared to competing hospital chains.
“So our markets look a lot more like HCA and Universal and Tenet than they did in the past,” Smith said late Wednesday during a company presentation. “We’re no longer a non-urban, or for some of you all a rural, hospital company.”
As it’s repositioned, Community Health’s stock price tumbled to nearly two dollars a share, stoking concern of whether the company could even recover.
The hospital chain has continued to see shrinking admissions and ER visits, but executives assured investors this week they’ve regained their footing.
“Those divestitures have helped us in terms of paying down our debt, improving our margins, improving our cash flow, which you will see more of in 2019,” Smith said.
Healthcare stocks were not immune from Wall Street’s worst day since the period of high volatility earlier this year.
Stocks fell across the board on Wednesday, as Wall Street suffered its worst trading day in more than eight months.
In response to heightened concerns over the Federal Reserve’s recent decision to increase interest rates and rising Treasury bond yields, stocks plunged in all three major trading markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell sharply by 832 points, the S&P 500 dropped by 3.3%, and the Nasdaq slid by more than 4%.
Healthcare stocks suffered in the general market slide, with the Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Index down by 2.46% at the end of trading.
However, among the ‘Big 5’ insurers, Aetna’s slide of 0.15% was the smallest drop. The Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer was boosted by receiving approval Wednesday morning from the Department of Justice on its $69 billion merger with CVS. For its part, the retail pharmacy giant finished the day down 0.72%.
Here’s how the four other major health plans fared:
- Cigna Corp. finished down 1.9%
- UnitedHealth Group fell by 2.58%
- Anthem Inc. ended down 2.34%
- Humana Inc. fell by 1.82%
Below are how several other healthcare companies finished during Wall Street’s downturn on Wednesday:
- Tenet Healthcare dropped by 8.43%
- Centene Corp. dipped by 0.74%
- Express Scripts Holding Co. fell by 1.69%
- Teladoc, Inc. dropped by 8.42%
- Community Health Systems finished down 6.35%
- HCA Healthcare Inc. slipped by 3.19%
- Molina Healthcare dropped by 3.52%
- Magellan Health Inc. fell slightly by 0.61%
- Athenahealth, Inc. dipped by 2.81%
- Quorum Health Corp. fell by 6.89%
- WellCare finished down 2.08%
- LifePoint dropped slightly by 0.36%
- Universal Health Services, Inc. slid by 1.36%
Shares of Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems closed Oct. 4 at $2.67, their lowest closing price ever and down 1.1 percent from the day prior.
The hospital chain’s stock price traded as low as $2.62 on Oct. 4 after closing Oct. 3 at $2.70 per share. Over the past year, CHS shares have traded between $2.62 and $7.62.
CHS saw its net loss shrink in the second quarter of 2018 as the company continued to refine its hospital portfolio. The company is using proceeds from the hospital divestitures to pay down its debt load.
Long-term shareholders were cashing out of HCA Healthcare Inc. in the second quarter, as the stock rallied to record highs in late June — levels since eclipsed by bigger gains this quarter.
Hedge funds Glenview Capital Management, Highfields Capital Management, Wellington Management Group, Magellan Asset Management and Harris Associates cut their stakes in the hospital chain, which saw its shares rise 17 percent in the first half and an additional 27 percent so far this quarter. The investment firms sold a combined 17.3 million shares, according to their latest 13F filings.
After being under pressure for nearly two years, hospitals have staged a comeback in 2018, outperforming most of their health-care peers with a 21 percent gain. The rally was led by Tenet Healthcare Corp., which has more than doubled, and HCA, which saw earnings and patient visits improve. HCA was also among hospitals uniquely benefiting from the U.S. corporate tax overhaul.
Shares of Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems closed July 3 at $3.06, their lowest closing price ever and down 2.2 percent from the day prior.
The 119-hospital chain’s stock price traded as low as $2.82 on July 3 after closing July 2 at $3.13 per share. CHS’ shares have lost 34 percent of their value since hitting $4.64 on June 20, according to Seeking Alpha.
CHS’ share price began sinking June 29 after the company priced a new offering of approximately $1.03 billion of senior secured notes after markets closed June 28. The company intends to use the proceeds to pay off about $1.01 billion in outstanding term loans and related expenses.