Moody's Investors Service analyst Dean Diaz has lifted his rating on the debt of HCA Holdings and its affiliates to Ba2 from Ba3. The move lifts HCA's paper to within just a few notches of being labeled medium-grade and not speculative. Diaz noted that HCA's leaders have done a good job positioning the company to benefit from the evolving health care landscape, even if the bad-debt benefits of reform are fading fast.
The rating is also supported by Moody's belief that HCA will remain disciplined with respect to debt financed shareholder initiatives given the company's publicly disclosed leverage and liquidity targets and the continued decline in the ownership and influence of its private equity sponsors. However, Moody's expects that the company will continue to return capital to shareholders through share repurchases in lieu of debt repayment.
Community Health Systems will sell one of its Florida hospitals to Prime Healthcare. The Franklin company announced Monday the entities have signed a definitive agreement for the sale of 88-bed Lehigh Regional Medical Center in Lehigh Acres. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Shares of CHS (Ticker: CYH) were up slightly to $49.10 Monday morning. Year to date, they're down about 9 percent.
Separately, Iasis Healthcare announced a Texas subsidiary has acquired Victory Medical Center Beaumont. Terms of the previously announced deal were not disclosed. The hospital has been renamed The Medical Center of Southeast Texas Victory Campus. The acquisition brings Iasis' Texas portfolio to six facilities.
The Vanderbilt University Board of Trust has elected the members of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center governing board, with numerous local business heavy-hitters included.
Edith Scott Carell “Edie” Johnson, president and legal counsel for the Carell Family LLC, will serve as chair, with John F. Stein, Tennessee state president and national market executive of for-profit health care in global commercial banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, to be the vice chair.
VU Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and VU Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Jeff Balser also will serve.
The other board members include the following: Michael M. E. Johns (chief executive officer for the Emory System of Health Care); Richard B. “Dick” Johnston Jr. (associate dean for research development and professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School Of Medicine); Samuel E. “Sam” Lynch (founder of BioMimetic Therapeutics); and Thomas J. “Tom” Sherrard II (founding member of Nashville law firm Sherrard & Roe).
In addition to Zeppos, the current Vanderbilt University Board of Trust members who will serve on both the Vanderbilt and VUMC boards are Bruce R. Evans, Jackson W. Moore and David W. Patterson. Four of the VUMC board members, including Zeppos, are current members of the VU Board of Trust.
The independent board will begin planning for VUMC to operate as a separate entity and will govern it once its financial and administrative transition from the university is completed by year’s end.
In November 2014, the board of trust directed the institution’s senior leadership to reconfigure VUMC as a nonprofit academic medical center that is financially distinct from Vanderbilt University. (The two entities are expected to remain closely aligned in some respects.)
Once VUMC is established as a separate entity, Balser will drop his title of vice chancellor for health affairs and will become president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He will continue as dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Read about the new board members here.