Tenet tangle meant missed opportunities for CHS

Community Health Systems Chief Financial Officer Larry Cash told a group of investors Tuesday that the company lost two acquisition deals because of publicity about the company’s tangle with Tenet Healthcare.

Responding to questions at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Health Care Conference, Cash said the company’s development and acquisition teams have not been distracted by CHS’ failed effort to buy Tenet Healthcare and Tenet’s Medicare fraud lawsuit against the company — but that the “toxic type comments” surrounding the situations likely led to CHS losing a deal for a small nonprofit in the north and bigger system in Knoxville.

Though Cash didn’t specifically name the Tennessee health system, his comments indicated the lost deal involved Mercy Health Partners-Tennessee, a seven-hospital system in Knoxville that Catholic Health Partners ultimately decided to sell to Health Management Associates. The same day that Catholic Health announced that HMA is the buyer, CHS made its ‘best and final’ offer for Tenet.

“It was a deal we thought we should have and would have had if it had happened a couple months earlier or later,” Cash said of the Tennessee deal.

CHS decided to offer its best price for Tenet once it was out of the running for the Tennessee deal, he said, in order to resolve the situation and hopefully move forward to other deals.