Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC +1.4%) signs a new three-year agreement with UnitedHealthcare (UNH -0.9%) that provides United members with in-network access to Tenet's 79 hospitals, 193 outpatient centers and more than 1,800 physicians. The new contract becomes effective on August 1, 2014.
Money is flowing into hospital management firms today on bullish views about the impact of The Affordable Care Act. LifePoint Hospitals (LPNT +7.2%) leads the charge after it increased its earnings guidance earlier today.
Tenet Healthcare (THC -0.3%) and Humana (HUM +0.9%) sign a new multi-year contract extension that provides Humana members with traditional commercial plans continued network access to Tenet's 79 hospitals, 193 outpatient centers and more than 1,800 doctors. Humana's Healthcare Exchange members in Atlanta, Birmingham, Houston, Memphis and San Antonio will have access to Tenet's services for the first time while Exchange members in Chicago, Detroit and Phoenix continue to have their access.
The agreement also includes an accountable care organization (ACO) arrangement for Humana's Medicare Advantage members in Atlanta. The ACO is a collaboration between the two organizations that focuses on enhancing care coordination and includes incentive payments for achieving key evidence-based quality metrics.
Financial terms of the contract are not disclosed.
Tenet Healthcare (THC -1.8%) offers $500M aggregate principal amount of 5.00% senior notes due 2019. The notes are being offered as a reopening of the notes issued on March 10, 2014. Proceeds will be used to retire the company's 9.25% senior notes due 2015.
The White House has confirmed that Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning and will be replaced by Sylvia Burwell, the director of the Office of Management & Budget, assuming the latter is confirmed by the Senate.
Sebelius' departure comes after she said in October that she should be held "accountable for the debacle" of the launch of Obamacare, although the program did reach the government's target of 7M sign-ups by the end of March. She said yesterday that at least 7.5M people have enrolled.
One of Burwell's first challenges will be to work with health insurers as they set prices for Obamacare plans in 2015, which industry executives have warned could rise sharply.
Tenet Healthcare (THC -10.6%) is the S&P 500's worst performer as Q4 earnings beat forecasts but took on $400M in new debt and offered lower-than-expected guidance; the hospital operator sees Q1 adjusted EBITDA of $350M-$400M and FY 2014 EBITDA of $1.8B-$1.9B vs. analyst consensus estimates of $447M and $1.96B.
THC reported Q4 adjusted admissions fell 0.5%, as inpatient admissions fell 2.3%; operating margin narrowed to 4.3% from 9.1%, as operating expenses jumped 75%.
CRT Capital downgrades THC to Fair Value from Buy as accretion from the Vanguard Health Systems acquisition has not materialized in the near-term; instead of generating significant EBITDA growth, the business contracted from Q4 to Q1 and CRT's guidance suggests that the business will continue to shrink.
On the other hand, Mizuho says it would be buyers on today's stock weakness, viewing initial 2014 EBITDA guidance as achievable given conservative assumptions around health reform coupled with a continued soft admission outlook (Briefing.com).
Health insurers who run Medicare Advantage face a 3.55% base payment cut next year, the U.S. government said late Friday; HUM now estimates the final reduction will be 3.5%-4% after projecting a 6%-7% reduction during its Q4 conference call earlier this month.
“Although we still believe rate pressure of this magnitude will present a significant challenge to the company/industry, it is certainly much better” than previous estimates, a Susquehanna analyst says.
Among the five largest publicly traded health insurance carriers, Medicare accounted for ~30% of earnings last year, Goldman Sachs says, with HUM and UnitedHealth (UNH +2.7%) the biggest players in the Advantage program.