10-K 1 thc-20151231x10k.htm 10-K thc_Current folio_10K

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, DC  20549

 

Form 10-K

 

Annual report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015

 

OR

 

Transition report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the transition period from          to

 

Commission File Number 1-7293

 


 

TENET HEALTHCARE CORPORATION

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

 

Nevada

 

95-2557091

(State of Incorporation)

 

(IRS Employer Identification No.)

 

1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1400

Dallas, TX  75202

(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)

 

(469) 893-2200

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)


 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

 

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common stock, $0.05 par value

 

New York Stock Exchange

6⅞% Senior Notes due 2031

 

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:  None


 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  No 

 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes  No 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act during the preceding 12 months, and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  No 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate website every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months. Yes  No 

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the Registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this
Form 10-K. 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2).

 

 

 

 

 

Large accelerated filer 

Accelerated filer 

Non-accelerated filer 

Smaller reporting company 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2). Yes  No 

 

As of June 30, 2015, the aggregate market value of the shares of common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant (treating directors, executive officers who were SEC reporting persons, and holders of 10% or more of the common stock outstanding as of that date, for this purpose, as affiliates) was approximately $4.8 billion based on the closing price of the Registrant’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange on that day. As of January 29, 2016, there were 98,529,352 shares of common stock outstanding.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Portions of the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2016 annual meeting of shareholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

    

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

    

Page

 

PART I 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1. 

 

Business

 

 

 

Item 1A. 

 

Risk Factors

 

30 

 

 

Item 1B. 

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

43 

 

 

Item 2. 

 

Properties

 

43 

 

 

Item 3. 

 

Legal Proceedings

 

43 

 

 

Item 4. 

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

43 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART II 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5. 

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

44 

 

 

Item 6. 

 

Selected Financial Data

 

46 

 

 

Item 7. 

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and
Results of Operations

 

48 

 

 

Item 7A. 

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

106 

 

 

Item 8. 

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

107 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Financial Statements

 

110 

 

 

 

 

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

 

115 

 

 

 

 

Supplemental Financial Information

 

158 

 

 

Item 9. 

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

159 

 

 

Item 9A. 

 

Controls and Procedures

 

159 

 

 

Item 9B. 

 

Other Information

 

159 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART III 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10. 

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

160 

 

 

Item 11. 

 

Executive Compensation

 

160 

 

 

Item 12. 

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and
Related Stockholder Matters

 

160 

 

 

Item 13. 

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

160 

 

 

Item 14. 

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

160 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15. 

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

161 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i


 

PART I.

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

 

OVERVIEW

 

Tenet Healthcare Corporation (together with our subsidiaries, referred to herein as “Tenet,” “we” or “us”) is a diversified healthcare services company. We operate regionally focused, integrated healthcare delivery networks, primarily in large urban and suburban markets in the United States. At the core of our networks are acute care and specialty hospitals that, together with our strategically aligned outpatient facilities and related businesses, allow us to provide a comprehensive range of healthcare services in the communities we serve. At December 31, 2015, we operated 86 hospitals,  20 short-stay surgical hospitals, over 475 outpatient centers, nine facilities in the United Kingdom and six health plans through our subsidiaries, partnerships and joint ventures. In addition, our Conifer Holdings, Inc. (“Conifer”) subsidiary provides healthcare business process services in the areas of revenue cycle management and technology-enabled performance improvement and health management solutions to health systems, as well as individual hospitals, physician practices, self-insured organizations and health plans.

 

With respect to our hospitals and outpatient businesses, we seek to offer superior quality and patient services to meet community needs, to make capital and other investments in our facilities and technology, to recruit and retain physicians, and to negotiate competitive contracts with managed care and other private payers. With respect to business process services, we provide comprehensive operational management for revenue cycle functions, including patient access, health information management, revenue integrity and patient financial services. We also offer communication and engagement solutions to optimize the relationship between providers and patients. In addition, Conifer operates a management services business that supports value-based performance through clinical integration, financial risk management and population health management. For financial reporting purposes, our business lines are classified into three separate reportable operating segments – Hospital Operations and other, Ambulatory Care and Conifer. Additional information about our business segments is provided below, and financial and statistical data for the segments can be found in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, of Part II of this report.

 

In general, we seek to operate our hospitals, ambulatory care and other outpatient centers, and Conifer in a manner that positions them to compete effectively in an evolving healthcare environment. From time to time, we build new hospitals and outpatient centers, and make strategic acquisitions of hospitals, outpatient businesses, physician practices, and other healthcare assets and companies – in each case in markets where we believe our operating strategies can improve performance and create shareholder value. Moreover, we continually evaluate joint venture opportunities with other healthcare providers in our markets to maximize effectiveness, reduce costs and build clinically integrated networks that provide quality services across the care continuum. In furtherance of the foregoing, during the year ended December 31, 2015:

 

·

We combined our freestanding ambulatory surgery and imaging center assets with the short-stay surgical facility assets of United Surgical Partners International, Inc. (“USPI”) into a new joint venture (“USPI joint venture”). We have a 50.1% ownership interest in the USPI joint venture, while Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a private equity firm that specializes in healthcare investments, owns approximately 47% and Baylor University Medical Center (“Baylor”) owns approximately 3% of the joint venture. We significantly increased the number of our not-for-profit partners through USPI and now have relationships with more than 50 leading healthcare systems across the country. Moreover, on December 31, 2015, USPI acquired CareSpot Express Healthcare, which added 35 urgent care centers in Florida and Tennessee to its portfolio of outpatient centers.

 

·

We formed a new joint venture with Baptist Health System, Inc. to own and operate a healthcare network serving Birmingham and central Alabama. We have a 60% ownership interest in the joint venture, and we manage the network’s operations. Baptist Health System contributed four hospitals to the joint venture, and we contributed one hospital. The new network, which also includes each contributed hospital’s related businesses, has more than 1,700 licensed beds, nine outpatient centers, 68 physician clinics delivering primary and specialty care, more than 7,000 employees, and approximately 1,500 affiliated physicians.

 

1


 

·

We entered into definitive agreements to form two joint ventures with Baylor Scott & White Health (“BSW”) involving five North Texas hospitals. Effective January 1, 2016, one of the joint ventures owns or leases and operates Centennial Medical Center, Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake, Lake Pointe Medical Center and Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale, all of which were previously owned or leased and operated by certain of our subsidiaries, and the other joint venture owns and operates Baylor Medical Center at Garland, which previously belonged to BSW. The two joint ventures will focus on delivering integrated, value-based care primarily to select communities in Rockwall, Collin and Dallas counties. BSW holds a 75% majority ownership interest in the joint venture that involves our legacy facilities and a 50.1% majority ownership interest in the joint venture that relates to the legacy BSW facility. We own the remaining minority interest in each joint venture and will continue to manage the operations of our legacy facilities. All five hospitals will operate under the BSW brand.

 

·

We formed a new joint venture with Dignity Health and Ascension Arizona to own and operate Carondelet Health Network. We have a 60% ownership interest in the joint venture, and we manage the operations of the network’s three hospitals with over 900 licensed beds, related physician practices, ambulatory surgery, imaging and urgent care centers, and other affiliated businesses in Tucson and Nogales, Arizona.

 

·

We acquired European Surgical Partners Ltd. (“Aspen Healthcare” or “Aspen”) in the United Kingdom. Although the U.K. provides government-funded healthcare to all of its residents through the National Health Service, the demand for healthcare services exceeds the public system’s capacity. Aspen’s four acute care hospitals, one cancer center and four outpatient facilities offer patients a complete range of private healthcare and clinical services in a growing market.

 

·

We began operating Hi-Desert Medical Center and its related healthcare facilities under an arrangement structured as a long-term lease agreement with Hi-Desert Memorial Health Care District. We now manage the operations of the 59-bed acute care hospital, as well as a 120-bed skilled nursing facility, an ambulatory surgery center and an imaging center on the hospital’s campus in Joshua Tree, California.

 

·

We opened 16 new outpatient facilities, and we acquired 12 other outpatient businesses outside of the corporate development activities described above, as well as various physician practice entities.

 

·

Conifer announced a 10-year extension and expansion of its agreement with Catholic Health Initiatives (“CHI”) to provide patient access, revenue integrity and patient financial services to 92 CHI hospitals through 2032. At that time, CHI increased its minority ownership position in Conifer’s revenue cycle solutions subsidiary, Conifer Health Solutions, LLC, to approximately 23.8%.

 

From time to time, we decide to sell, consolidate or close certain facilities to eliminate duplicate services or excess capacity or because of changing market conditions or other factors. During the year ended December 31, 2015, we completed the sale of Saint Louis University Hospital (“SLUH”) to Saint Louis University, and we agreed to sell our two North Carolina hospitals – Central Carolina Hospital and Frye Regional Medical Center – and related operations to Duke LifePoint Healthcare (which sale was effective January 1, 2016). In addition, in December 2015, we entered into a definitive agreement for the sale and management of our Atlanta-area hospitals, as well as 26 physician clinics, to WellStar Health System. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and other closing conditions and is expected to be completed as early as the end of the first quarter of 2016. We also sold or closed nine outpatient centers in the year ended December 31, 2015.

 

We are committed to providing the communities we serve with high quality, cost-effective healthcare while growing our business, increasing our profitability and creating long-term value for our shareholders. We believe that our success in increasing our profitability depends in part on our success in executing the strategies and managing the trends discussed in detail in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, of Part II of this report. In general, we anticipate the continued influence of major industry trends we have seen emerge over the last several years, and our strategies reflect the belief that: (1) consumers will increasingly select services and providers based on quality and cost; (2) physicians will seek strategic partners with whom they can align clinically; (3) more procedures will shift from the inpatient to the outpatient setting; (4) demand will grow as a result of a strengthening

2


 

economy, shifting demographics and the expansion of coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the “Affordable Care Act” or “ACA”); and (5) payer reimbursements will be constrained and further shift to being more closely tied to performance on quality and service metrics. We believe that our strategies will allow us to achieve our operational and financial targets; however, our ability to execute on these strategies and manage these trends is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from expectations. Information about risks and uncertainties that could affect our results of operations can be found in “Forward-Looking Statements” below and in Item 1A, Risk Factors, of Part I of this report.

 

OPERATIONS

 

HOSPITAL OPERATIONS AND OTHER SEGMENT

 

Hospitals, Ancillary Outpatient Facilities and Related Businesses—At December 31, 2015, our subsidiaries operated 86 hospitals, including three academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals, two specialty hospitals and two critical access hospitals, with a total of 22,525 licensed beds, serving primarily urban and suburban communities in 14 states. Our subsidiaries owned 67 of those hospitals, 12 were owned by entities that are, in turn, jointly owned by a Tenet subsidiary and a strategic partner or group of physicians, and seven were owned by third parties and leased by our subsidiaries. In addition, at December 31, 2015, our subsidiaries operated a long-term acute care hospital and a skilled nursing facility and owned or leased and operated a number of medical office buildings, all of which were located on, or nearby, our hospital campuses. At December 31, 2015, our Hospital Operations and other segment also included: 174 outpatient centers, the majority of which are provider-based diagnostic imaging centers, freestanding urgent care centers, satellite emergency departments and provider-based ambulatory surgery centers; approximately 700 physician practices; and six health plans.

 

Our hospitals classified in continuing operations for financial reporting purposes generated in excess of 83% of our net operating revenues before provision for doubtful accounts for all periods presented in our Consolidated Financial Statements. Factors that affect patient volumes and, thereby, the results of operations at our hospitals and related healthcare facilities include, but are not limited to: (1) the business environment, economic conditions and demographics of local communities in which we operate; (2) the number of uninsured and underinsured individuals in local communities treated at our hospitals; (3) seasonal cycles of illness; (4) climate and weather conditions; (5) physician recruitment, retention and attrition; (6) advances in technology and treatments that reduce length of stay; (7) local healthcare competitors; (8) managed care contract negotiations or terminations; (9) the number of patients with high-deductible health insurance plans; (10) any unfavorable publicity about us, which impacts our relationships with physicians and patients; (11) changes in healthcare regulations and the participation of individual states in federal programs; and (12) the timing of elective procedures.

 

Each of our general hospitals offers acute care services, operating and recovery rooms, radiology services, respiratory therapy services, clinical laboratories and pharmacies; in addition, most have intensive care, critical care and/or coronary care units, physical therapy, and orthopedic, oncology and outpatient services. Many of our hospitals provide tertiary care services, such as open-heart surgery, neonatal intensive care and neurosciences, and some also offer quaternary care in areas such as heart, liver, kidney and bone marrow transplants. Our children’s hospitals provide tertiary and quaternary pediatric services, including bone marrow and kidney transplants, as well as burn services. Moreover, a number of our hospitals offer advanced treatment options for patients, including gamma-knife brain surgery and cyberknife radiation therapy for tumors and lesions in the brain, lung, neck, spine and elsewhere that may previously have been considered inoperable or inaccessible by traditional radiation therapy. Many of our hospitals and physician practices also offer a wide range of clinical research studies, giving patients access to innovative care. We are dedicated to helping our hospitals and physicians participate in medical research that is consistent with state and federal regulations and complies with clinical practice guidelines. Clinical research programs relate to a wide array of ailments, including cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological disorders, genitourinary disease and various cancers, as well as experimental drug and medical device studies. By supporting clinical research, our hospitals are actively involved in medical advancements that can lead to improvements in patient safety and clinical care.

 

3


 

Except as set forth in the table below, each of our acute care hospitals is accredited by The Joint Commission. With such accreditation, our hospitals are deemed to meet the Medicare Conditions of Participation and are eligible to participate in government-sponsored provider programs, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

 

The following table lists, by state, the hospitals wholly owned, owned as part of a joint venture or leased and operated by our subsidiaries at December 31, 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

    

Licensed

    

 

 

Hospital

    

Location

    

Beds

    

Status

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baptist Medical Center Princeton(1)

 

Birmingham

 

505

 

JV

 

Brookwood Medical Center(1)

 

Birmingham

 

607

 

JV

 

Citizens Baptist Medical Center(1)

 

Talladega

 

122

 

JV

 

Shelby Baptist Medical Center(1)

 

Alabaster

 

252

 

JV

 

Walker Baptist Medical Center(1)

 

Jasper

 

267

 

JV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital(2)

 

Phoenix

 

59

 

Owned

 

Abrazo Arrowhead Campus

 

Glendale

 

217

 

Owned

 

Abrazo Central Campus

 

Phoenix

 

221

 

Owned

 

Abrazo Maryvale Campus

 

Phoenix

 

232

 

Owned

 

Abrazo Scottsdale Campus

 

Phoenix

 

136

 

Owned

 

Abrazo West Campus

 

Goodyear

 

188

 

Owned

 

Holy Cross Hospital(3), (4)

 

Nogales

 

25

 

JV

 

St. Joseph's Hospital(3)

 

Tucson

 

486

 

JV

 

St. Mary's Hospital(3)

 

Tucson

 

400

 

JV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Regional Medical Center(5)

 

Palm Springs

 

385

 

Leased

 

Doctors Hospital of Manteca

 

Manteca

 

73

 

Owned

 

Doctors Medical Center of Modesto

 

Modesto

 

461

 

Owned

 

Emanuel Medical Center

 

Turlock

 

209

 

Owned

 

Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center

 

Fountain Valley

 

400

 

Owned

 

Hi-Desert Medical Center(6)

 

Joshua Tree

 

179

 

Leased

 

John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital

 

Indio

 

145

 

Owned

 

Lakewood Regional Medical Center

 

Lakewood

 

172

 

Owned

 

Los Alamitos Medical Center

 

Los Alamitos

 

167

 

Owned

 

Placentia Linda Hospital

 

Placentia

 

114

 

Owned

 

San Ramon Regional Medical Center(7)

 

San Ramon

 

123

 

JV

 

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center

 

San Luis Obispo

 

164

 

Owned

 

Twin Cities Community Hospital

 

Templeton

 

122

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coral Gables Hospital

 

Coral Gables

 

245

 

Owned

 

Delray Medical Center

 

Delray Beach

 

493

 

Owned

 

Florida Medical Center - a campus of North Shore

 

Lauderdale Lakes

 

459

 

Owned

 

Good Samaritan Medical Center

 

West Palm Beach

 

333

 

Owned

 

Hialeah Hospital

 

Hialeah

 

378

 

Owned

 

North Shore Medical Center

 

Miami

 

357

 

Owned

 

Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center(8)

 

Palm Beach Gardens

 

199

 

Leased

 

Palmetto General Hospital

 

Hialeah

 

360

 

Owned

 

St. Mary’s Medical Center

 

West Palm Beach

 

464

 

Owned

 

West Boca Medical Center

 

Boca Raton

 

195

 

Owned

 

 

4


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

    

Licensed

    

 

 

Hospital

    

Location

    

Beds

    

Status

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Medical Center(9)

 

Atlanta

 

762

 

Owned

 

Atlanta Medical Center South Campus(9), (10)

 

East Point

 

 —

 

Owned

 

North Fulton Hospital(9), (11)

 

Roswell

 

202

 

Leased

 

Spalding Regional Hospital(9)

 

Griffin

 

160

 

Owned

 

Sylvan Grove Hospital(9), (12)

 

Jackson

 

25

 

Leased

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital

 

Chicago

 

236

 

Owned

 

MacNeal Hospital

 

Berwyn

 

368

 

Owned

 

West Suburban Medical Center

 

Oak Park

 

234

 

Owned

 

Westlake Hospital

 

Melrose Park

 

230

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MetroWest Medical Center Framingham Union Campus

 

Framingham

 

147

 

Owned

 

MetroWest Medical Center Leonard Morse Campus

 

Natick

 

152

 

Owned

 

Saint Vincent Hospital

 

Worcester

 

283

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children’s Hospital of Michigan

 

Detroit

 

228

 

Owned

 

Detroit Receiving Hospital

 

Detroit

 

273

 

Owned

 

Harper University Hospital

 

Detroit

 

584

 

Owned

 

Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital

 

Commerce Township

 

158

 

Owned

 

Hutzel Women’s Hospital(13)

 

Detroit

 

 —

 

Owned

 

Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan(2)

 

Detroit

 

97

 

Owned

 

Sinai-Grace Hospital

 

Detroit

 

404

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Des Peres Hospital

 

St. Louis

 

143

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central Carolina Hospital(14)

 

Sanford

 

137

 

Owned

 

Frye Regional Medical Center(14), (15)

 

Hickory

 

355

 

Leased

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hahnemann University Hospital

 

Philadelphia

 

496

 

Owned

 

St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

 

Philadelphia

 

189

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Carolina Hospital

 

Hardeeville

 

41

 

Owned

 

East Cooper Medical Center

 

Mount Pleasant

 

140

 

Owned

 

Hilton Head Hospital

 

Hilton Head

 

93

 

Owned

 

Piedmont Medical Center

 

Rock Hill

 

288

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saint Francis Hospital

 

Memphis

 

519

 

Owned

 

Saint Francis Hospital Bartlett

 

Bartlett

 

196

 

Owned

 

 

5


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

    

Licensed

    

 

 

Hospital

    

Location

    

Beds

    

Status

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baptist Medical Center

 

San Antonio

 

623

 

Owned

 

Centennial Medical Center(16)

 

Frisco

 

118

 

Owned

 

Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center

 

Houston

 

181

 

Owned

 

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake(17)

 

Dallas

 

218

 

Owned

 

The Hospitals of Providence East Campus

 

El Paso

 

182

 

Owned

 

The Hospitals of Providence Memorial Campus

 

El Paso

 

480

 

Owned

 

The Hospitals of Providence Sierra Campus

 

El Paso

 

323

 

Owned

 

Houston Northwest Medical Center(18)

 

Houston

 

423

 

JV

 

Lake Pointe Medical Center(19)

 

Rowlett

 

112

 

JV

 

Mission Trail Baptist Hospital

 

San Antonio

 

110

 

Owned

 

Nacogdoches Medical Center

 

Nacogdoches

 

153

 

Owned

 

North Central Baptist Hospital

 

San Antonio

 

387

 

Owned

 

Northeast Baptist Hospital

 

San Antonio

 

371

 

Owned

 

Park Plaza Hospital

 

Houston

 

444

 

Owned

 

Resolute Health Hospital

 

New Braunfels

 

128

 

Owned

 

St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital

 

San Antonio

 

282

 

Owned

 

Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale(20)

 

Sunnyvale

 

70

 

JV/Leased

 

Valley Baptist Medical Center(21)

 

Harlingen

 

586

 

Owned

 

Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville(21)

 

Brownsville

 

280

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Licensed Beds

 

 

 

22,525

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(1)

Owned by a limited liability company formed as part of a joint venture with Baptist Health System, Inc., a not-for-profit, faith-based integrated system of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare services in Alabama; a Tenet subsidiary owned a 60% interest in the limited liability company at December 31, 2015, and Baptist Health System, Inc. owned a 40% interest.

(2)

Specialty hospital.

(3)

Owned by a limited liability company formed as part of a joint venture with Dignity Health and Ascension Arizona, each of which is a not-for-profit, faith-based health system; a Tenet subsidiary owned a 60% interest in the limited liability company at December 31, 2015, Dignity Health owned a 22.5% interest and Ascension Arizona owned a 17.5% interest.

(4)

Designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) as a critical access hospital.

(5)

Lease expires in May 2027.

(6)

Lease expires in July 2045.

(7)

Owned by a limited liability company formed as part of a joint venture with John Muir Health, a not-for-profit integrated system of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare services in the San Francisco Bay area; a Tenet subsidiary owned a 51% interest in the limited liability company at December 31, 2015, and John Muir Health owned a 49% interest.

(8)

Lease expires in February 2017, but may be renewed through at least February 2037, subject to certain conditions contained in the lease.

(9)

Subject of a definitive sales agreement with WellStar Health System.

(10)

Licensed beds for Atlanta Medical Center – South Campus are presented on a combined basis with Atlanta Medical Center.

(11)

Lease expires in February 2020, but may be renewed through at least February 2040, subject to certain conditions contained in the lease.

(12)

Designated by CMS as a critical access hospital. Although it has not sought to be accredited, the hospital participates in the Medicare and Medicaid programs by otherwise meeting the Medicare Conditions of Participation. The current lease term for this facility expires in December 2016, but may be renewed through December 2046, subject to certain conditions contained in the lease.

(13)

Licensed beds for Hutzel Women’s Hospital are presented on a combined basis with Harper University Hospital.

(14)

Sold effective January 1, 2016 to Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

(15)

Lease expires in February 2022, but may be renewed through at least February 2042, subject to certain conditions contained in the lease.

(16)

As of January 1, 2016, managed by a Tenet subsidiary and owned by a limited partnership that is owned by a limited liability partnership (the “JV LLP”) formed as part of a joint venture with Baylor Scott & White Health, a not-for-profit healthcare system; a Tenet subsidiary owns a 25% interest in the JV LLP, and BSW owns a 75% interest.

(17)

As of January 1, 2016, managed by a Tenet subsidiary and owned by the JV LLP.

(18)

Owned by a limited liability company in which a Tenet subsidiary owned an 87.48% interest at December 31, 2015 and is the managing member.

(19)

At December 31, 2015, owned by a limited liability company in which a Tenet subsidiary owned a 94.67% interest and was the managing member. As of January 1, 2016, managed by a Tenet subsidiary and owned by a limited liability company in which the JV LLP indirectly owns the 94.67% interest.

(20)

At December 31, 2015, leased by a limited liability company in which a Tenet subsidiary owned a 55% interest and was the managing member. As of January 1, 2016, managed by a Tenet subsidiary and leased by a limited liability company in which the JV LLP indirectly owns the 55% interest. The current lease term for this hospital expires in November 2029, but may be renewed through at least November 2049, subject to certain conditions contained in the lease.

(21)

At December 31, 2014, Valley Baptist Medical Center and Valley Baptist Medical Center –  Brownsville were indirectly owned by a limited liability company formed as part of a joint venture with VB Medical Holdings, a Texas non-profit corporation (“VBMH”); a Tenet subsidiary owned a 51% interest in the limited liability company and was the managing member, and VBMH owned a 49% interest. We subsequently acquired VBMH’s 49% interest in the limited liability company pursuant to the terms of the operating agreement governing the joint venture. As a result, we own 100% of both hospitals as of February 11, 2015.

6


 

Information regarding the total number of hospitals operated by our subsidiaries, the collective number of licensed beds at those facilities, the utilization of licensed beds and other operating statistics at December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 can be found in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, of Part II of this report.

 

At December 31, 2015, our Hospital Operations and other segment also included 69 diagnostic imaging centers, 14 satellite emergency departments, 13 ambulatory surgery centers and seven urgent care centers operated as departments of our hospitals and under the same license, as well as 71 separately licensed, freestanding outpatient centers – typically at locations complementary to our hospitals – consisting of eight diagnostic imaging centers, five emergency departments, three ambulatory surgery centers and 55 urgent care centers, the majority of which are operated under our national MedPost brand. Our subsidiaries wholly own and operate most of the freestanding outpatient centers in our Hospital Operations and other segment. Over 50% of the outpatient centers in our Hospital Operations and other segment at December 31, 2015 were in California, Florida and Texas, the same states where we had the largest concentrations of licensed hospital beds. Strong concentrations of hospital beds and outpatient centers within market areas help us contract more successfully with managed care payers, reduce management, marketing and other expenses, and more efficiently utilize resources. However, these concentrations increase the risk that, should any adverse economic, regulatory, environmental or other condition occur in these areas, our overall business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected.

 

Health Plans and Accountable Care Networks—During the year ended December 31, 2015, we operated six health plans with approximately 139,000 members:

 

·

VHS Phoenix Health Plan, Inc. (formerly known as VHS Phoenix Health Plan, LLC), a Medicaid-managed health plan operating as Phoenix Health Plan (“PHP”) in Arizona;

 

·

Phoenix Health Plans, Inc. (formerly known as Abrazo Advantage Health Plan, Inc.), a Medicare, Medicaid dual-eligible and public health insurance exchange managed health plan operating in Arizona;

 

·

Golden State Medicare Health Plan, a health maintenance organization (“HMO”) that specializes in the care of seniors in Southern California who are eligible for benefits under the Medicare Advantage program;

 

·

Chicago Health System, Inc. (“CHS”), a contracting entity formed to establish a preferred provider network for inpatient and outpatient services provided by MacNeal Hospital, Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital and participating physicians in the Chicago area;

 

·

Harbor Health Plan, Inc. (formerly known as ProCare Health Plan, Inc.), a Medicaid-managed, Medicare Advantage and public health insurance exchange health plan operating in Michigan; and

 

·

Allegian Insurance Company (formerly known as Valley Baptist Insurance Company), doing business as Allegian Health Plan, which offers HMO, preferred provider organization (“PPO”), and self-funded products to its members in the form of large group, small group and individual product offerings in south Texas, as well as a Medicare Advantage and public health insurance exchange health plan.

 

We believe these health plans complement and enhance our market position. Specifically, PHP provides us with insights into state initiatives to manage the Arizona Medicaid population, which is valuable in light of the expansion of health coverage to previously uninsured individuals in the state pursuant to the Affordable Care Act and various other healthcare reform laws. In addition, through CHS, our Chicago-based preferred provider network, we manage capitated contracts covering inpatient, outpatient and physician services. We believe our ownership of CHS allows us to gain additional experience with risk-bearing contracts and delivery of care in low-cost settings, including our network of health centers.

 

We also own, control or operate 14 accountable care networks – in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas – and participate in three additional accountable care networks with other healthcare providers in our markets in Arizona, California and Massachusetts. These networks operate using a

7


 

range of payment and delivery models that seek to align provider reimbursement in a way that encourages improved quality metrics and efficiencies in the total cost of care for an assigned population of patients through cooperation of the providers. We believe that our experience operating health plans and accountable care networks gives us a solid framework upon which to build and expand our population health strategies.

 

AMBULATORY CARE SEGMENT

 

On June 16, 2015, we completed the transaction that combined our freestanding ambulatory surgery and imaging center assets with the short-stay surgical facility assets of United Surgical Partners International, Inc. into our new USPI joint venture. We have a 50.1% ownership interest in the USPI joint venture, while Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a private equity firm that specializes in healthcare investments, owns approximately 47% and Baylor University Medical Center owns approximately 3% of the joint venture. In addition, we completed the acquisition of Aspen Healthcare in the United Kingdom on June 16, 2015. In the three months ended June 30, 2015, we began reporting Ambulatory Care as a separate reportable business segment. Our Ambulatory Care segment is comprised of the operations of our USPI joint venture and our Aspen facilities. Our interests in the 49 ambulatory surgery centers and 20 imaging centers we contributed to the USPI joint venture had previously been included in our Hospital Operations and other segment.

 

USPI’s Business—Our USPI joint venture acquires and develops its facilities primarily through the formation of strategic relationships with physicians and health system partners. Subsidiaries of the USPI joint venture hold ownership interests in the facilities directly or indirectly and operate the facilities on a day-to-day basis through management services contracts. We believe that this acquisition and development strategy and operating model will enable our USPI joint venture to continue to grow because of several previously noted industry trends we have seen emerge over the last several years, namely that: (1) consumers will increasingly select services and providers based on quality and cost; (2) physicians will seek strategic partners with whom they can align clinically; (3) more procedures will shift from the inpatient to the outpatient setting; (4) demand will grow as a result of a strengthening economy, shifting demographics and the expansion of coverage under the Affordable Care Act; and (5) payer reimbursements will be constrained and further shift to being more closely tied to performance on quality and service metrics.

 

The facilities in our USPI joint venture primarily specialize in non-emergency surgical cases and are licensed as ambulatory surgery centers, specialty hospitals or hospitals. We believe surgery centers and surgical hospitals offer many advantages to patients and physicians, including predictability and convenience. Medical emergencies at acute care hospitals often demand the unplanned use of operating rooms and result in the postponement or delay of scheduled surgeries, disrupting physicians’ practices and inconveniencing patients. Outpatient facilities generally provide physicians with greater scheduling flexibility, more consistent nurse staffing and faster turnaround time between cases. In addition, many physicians choose to perform surgery in outpatient facilities because their patients prefer the comfort of a less institutional atmosphere and the convenience of simplified admissions and discharge procedures.

 

New surgical techniques and technology, as well as advances in anesthesia, have significantly expanded the types of surgical procedures that are being performed in surgery centers and have helped drive the growth in outpatient surgery. Improved anesthesia has shortened recovery time by minimizing post-operative side effects, such as nausea and drowsiness, thereby avoiding the need for overnight hospitalization in many cases. Furthermore, some states permit surgery centers to keep a patient for up to 23 hours, which allows for more complex surgeries, previously performed only in an inpatient setting, to be performed in a surgery center.

 

In addition to these technological and other clinical advancements, a changing payer environment has contributed to the growth of outpatient surgery relative to all surgery performed. Government programs, private insurance companies, managed care organizations and self-insured employers have implemented cost-containment measures to limit increases in healthcare expenditures, including procedure reimbursement. Furthermore, as self-funded employers are looking to curb annual increases in premiums, they continue to shift additional financial responsibility to patients through higher co-pays, deductibles and premium contributions. These cost-containment measures have contributed to the shift in the delivery of healthcare services away from traditional inpatient hospitals to more cost-effective alternate sites, including short-stay surgical facilities. We believe that surgeries performed at short-stay surgical facilities are generally less expensive than hospital-based outpatient surgeries because of lower facility development

8


 

costs, more efficient staffing and space utilization, and a specialized operating environment focused on quality of care and cost containment.

 

We believe that our USPI joint venture’s facilities (1) enhance the quality of care and the healthcare experience of patients, (2) offer a strategic approach for physicians that provides them with significant administrative, clinical and economic benefits, (3) offer a strategic approach for our health system partners to diversify and expand capacity and access within the markets they serve, and (4) offer an efficient and low-cost alternative for payers and employers. We operate our facilities, structure our strategic relationships, and adopt staffing, scheduling, and clinical systems and protocols with the goal of increasing physician productivity. We believe that this focus on physician satisfaction, combined with providing high-quality healthcare in a friendly and convenient environment for patients, will continue to increase the number of procedures performed at our facilities each year. Our strategic relationships enable healthcare systems to offer patients, physicians and payers the cost advantages, convenience and other benefits of ambulatory care in a freestanding facility and, in certain markets, establish networks needed to manage the full continuum of care for a defined population. Further, these relationships allow the healthcare systems to focus their attention and resources on their core business without the challenge of acquiring, developing and operating these facilities.

 

At December 31, 2015, our USPI joint venture operated 249 ambulatory surgery centers, 20 short-stay surgical hospitals, 20 imaging centers and 35 urgent care centers (acquired from CareSpot Express Healthcare on that date) in 28 states. Of these 324 facilities, 181 are jointly owned with health system partners. Due in large part to these relationships, we do not consolidate the financial results of 139 of the facilities in which our USPI joint venture has an ownership interest, meaning that while we record a share of their net profit within our operating income as equity earnings of unconsolidated affiliates, we do not include their revenues and expenses in the consolidated revenue and expense line items of our consolidated financial statements. For additional information, see Note 1 to our Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

Aspen’s Business—The United Kingdom provides government-funded healthcare to all of its residents through the National Health Service; however, due to funding and capacity limitations, the demand for healthcare services exceeds the public system’s capacity. In response to these shortfalls, private healthcare networks and private insurance companies have developed in the U.K. Aspen Healthcare’s nine facilities offer patients a complete range of private healthcare and clinical services as described below:

 

·

Cancer Centre London in South West London provides advanced outpatient cancer treatment, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, as well as a number of related support services; inpatient cancer treatment is provided at our nearby Parkside Hospital.

 

·

The Chelmsford, a private day surgery hospital located northeast of London in Essex, specializes in outpatient and minimally invasive treatment and surgery.

 

·

Claremont Private Hospital, a 41-bed acute care facility in Sheffield, offers an extensive range of inpatient and outpatient services.

 

·

The Edinburgh Clinic, a private surgical hospital in Scotland, offers outpatient procedures and on-site diagnostic imaging.

 

·

Highgate Private Hospital, located in North London, is a 43-bed facility providing a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services.

 

·

The Holly Private Hospital, a 55-bed facility located in Essex, is an acute care inpatient hospital that also offers numerous outpatient services.

 

·

Midland Eye, a private ambulatory surgery center located in West Midlands, provides specialist eye care and surgery in a dedicated facility.

 

9


 

·

Nova Healthcare, a private clinic housed within Leeds Cancer Centre, offers treatment to private patients diagnosed with cancer, blood disorders and a range of neurological diseases.

 

·

Parkside Hospital, located in Wimbledon, a suburb southwest of London, has 69 registered acute care beds and an outpatient surgery unit.

 

As with our USPI joint venture, a number of Aspen’s facilities are owned jointly with physicians and health system partners.

 

CONIFER SEGMENT

 

Our Conifer subsidiary provides a number of services primarily to healthcare providers to assist them in generating sustainable improvements in their operating margins, while also enhancing patient, physician and employee satisfaction. At December 31, 2015, Conifer provided one or more of the business process services described below from 20 service centers to more than 800 Tenet and non-Tenet hospital and other clients in over 40 states.

 

Revenue Cycle Management—Conifer provides comprehensive operational management for patient access, accounts receivable management, health information management, revenue integrity and patient financial services, including:

 

·

centralized insurance and benefit verification, financial clearance, pre-certification, registration and check‑in services;

 

·

financial counseling services, including reviews of eligibility for government healthcare programs, for both insured and uninsured patients;

 

·

productivity and quality improvement programs, revenue cycle assessments and optimization recommendations, and The Joint Commission and other preparedness services;

 

·

coding and compliance support, billing assistance, auditing, training, and data management services at every step in the revenue cycle process;

 

·

accounts receivable management, third-party billing and collections; and

 

·

ongoing measurement and monitoring of key revenue cycle metrics.

 

These revenue cycle management solutions assist hospitals, physician practices and other healthcare organizations in improving cash flow, increasing revenue, and advancing physician and patient satisfaction.

 

Patient Communications and Engagement Services—Conifer offers customized communications and engagement solutions to optimize the relationship between providers and patients. Conifer’s trained customer service representatives provide direct, 24-hour, multilingual support for (1) physician referrals, calls regarding maternity services and other patient inquiries, (2) community education and outreach, (3) scheduling and appointment reminders, and (4) employee recruitment. Conifer also coordinates and implements mail-based marketing programs to keep patients informed of screenings, seminars and other events and services, as well as conducts patient quality and satisfaction surveys to provide valuable feedback to its clients. In addition, Conifer provides clinical admission reviews that are intended to provide evidence-based support for physician decisions on patient status and reduce staffing costs.

 

Management Services—Conifer also supports value-based performance through clinical integration, financial risk management and population health management, all of which assist hospitals, physicians, accountable care organizations (“ACOs”), health plans, self-insured employers and government agencies in improving the cost and quality of healthcare delivery, as well as patient outcomes. Conifer helps clients build clinically integrated networks that provide predictive analytics and quality measures across the care continuum. In addition, Conifer assists clients in improving both the cost and quality of care by aligning and managing financial incentives among healthcare

10


 

stakeholders through risk modeling and management for various payment models. Furthermore, Conifer offers clients tools and analytics to improve quality of care and provide care management support for patients with chronic diseases by identifying high-risk patients and monitoring clinical outcomes.

 

We intend to continue to market and expand Conifer’s revenue cycle management, patient communications and engagement services, and management services businesses. We believe that our success in growing Conifer and increasing its profitability depends in part on our success in executing the following strategies: (1) attracting as new clients hospitals and other healthcare providers who currently handle their revenue cycle management processes internally; (2) generating new client relationships through opportunities from USPI and Tenet’s acute care hospital corporate development activities; (3) expanding revenue cycle management and value-based care service offerings through organic development and small acquisitions; (4) leveraging data from tens of millions of patient interactions to capture new opportunities and service the value-based care environment to drive competitive differentiation; and (5) developing services for our Ambulatory Care segment, leveraging USPI’s capabilities.

 

In May 2012, Conifer entered into a 10-year agreement with Catholic Health Initiatives to provide revenue cycle services for 56 of CHI’s hospitals. As part of this initial relationship, CHI received a minority ownership interest in Conifer’s revenue cycle solutions subsidiary, Conifer Health Solutions, LLC. In January 2015, Conifer announced a 10‑year extension and expansion of its agreement with CHI to provide patient access, revenue integrity and patient financial services to 92 CHI hospitals through 2032. As further described in Note 16 to our Consolidated Financial Statements, at that time, CHI increased its minority ownership position in Conifer Health Solutions, LLC to approximately 23.8%.

 

The loss of Conifer’s key customers, primarily Tenet and CHI, in the future could have a material adverse impact on the segment; however, CHI is not a key customer to Tenet on a consolidated basis. Financial and other information about our Conifer operating segment is provided in the Consolidated Financial Statements included in this report.

 

REAL PROPERTY

 

The locations of our hospitals and the number of licensed beds at each hospital at December 31, 2015 are set forth in the table beginning on page 4. We lease the majority of our outpatient facilities in both our Hospital Operations and other segment and our Ambulatory Care segment. These leases typically have initial terms ranging from five to 20 years, and most of the leases contain options to extend the lease period, in some cases for up to 10 additional years. Our subsidiaries also operate a number of medical office buildings, all of which are located on, or nearby, our hospital campuses. We own nearly all of our medical office buildings; the remainder are owned by third parties and leased by our subsidiaries.

 

Our corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas. In addition, we maintain administrative and regional offices in markets where we operate hospitals and other businesses, including our USPI joint venture and Conifer. We typically lease our office space under operating lease agreements. We believe that all of our properties are suitable for their respective uses and are, in general, adequate for our present needs.

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

 

We rely on a combination of trademark, copyright and trade secret laws, as well as contractual terms and conditions, to protect our rights in our intellectual property assets. However, third parties may develop intellectual property that is similar or superior to ours. Conversely, although we do not believe the intellectual property we utilize infringes any intellectual property right held by a third party, we could be prevented from utilizing such property and could be subject to significant damage awards if it is found to do so.

 

We control access to and the use of our application capabilities through a combination of internal and external controls. We also license some of our software through agreements that impose specific restrictions on customers’ ability to use the software, such as prohibiting reverse engineering and limiting the use of copies.

 

11


 

We incorporate third-party commercial and, on occasion, open source software products into our technology platform. We employ third-party licensed software in order to simplify our development and maintenance efforts, support our own technology infrastructure or test a new capability.

 

PHYSICIANS AND EMPLOYEES

 

Physicians—Our operations depend in significant part on the number, quality, specialties, and admitting and scheduling practices of the licensed physicians who have been admitted to the medical staffs of our hospitals and who affiliate with us and use our facilities as an extension of their practices. Under state laws and other licensing standards, medical staffs are generally self-governing organizations subject to ultimate oversight by the facility’s local governing board. Members of the medical staffs of our hospitals also often serve on the medical staffs of facilities we do not operate, and they are free to terminate their association with our hospitals or admit their patients to competing facilities at any time. At December 31, 2015, we owned approximately 700 physician practices, and we employed (where permitted by state law) or otherwise affiliated with over 2,000 physicians; however, we have no contractual relationship with the overwhelming majority of the physicians who practice at our hospitals and outpatient centers. It is essential to our ongoing business that we attract an appropriate number of quality physicians in the specialties required to support our services and that we maintain good relations with those physicians. In some of our markets, physician recruitment and retention are affected by a shortage of physicians in certain specialties and the difficulties that physicians can experience in obtaining affordable malpractice insurance or finding insurers willing to provide such insurance.

 

Employees—At December 31, 2015, we employed over 130,000 people (of which 23% were part-time employees) in the following categories:

 

 

 

 

 

Hospital Operations and other(1)

    

102,850

 

  Administrative offices

 

2,100

 

Ambulatory Care(2)

 

14,820

 

Conifer

 

14,860

 

Total

 

134,630

 


(1)

Includes employees at (a) our general hospitals, specialty hospitals, critical access hospitals, long-term acute care hospital and skilled nursing facility, (b) the ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, urgent care centers and satellite emergency departments in our Hospital Operations and other segment, (c) our physician practices, (d) our health plans and accountable care networks, and (e) and other related healthcare operations.

(2)

Includes employees at (a) the short-stay surgical facilities, imaging centers and urgent care centers in our Ambulatory Care segment, and (b) Aspen’s four acute care hospitals, one cancer center and four outpatient facilities, as well as corporate and administrative employees supporting those facilities.

 

We are subject to federal minimum wage and hour laws and various state labor laws, and maintain a number of different employee benefit plans.

 

In addition to physicians, the operations of our facilities are dependent on the efforts, abilities and experience of our facilities management and medical support employees, including nurses, therapists, pharmacists and lab technicians. We compete with other healthcare providers in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel responsible for the day-to-day operations of our facilities. In some markets, there is a limited availability of experienced medical support personnel, which drives up the local wages and benefits required to recruit and retain employees. In particular, like others in the healthcare industry, we continue to experience a shortage of critical-care nurses in certain disciplines and geographic areas. Moreover, we hire many newly licensed nurses in addition to experienced nurses, requiring us to invest in their training.

 

Union Activity and Labor Relations—At December 31, 2015, approximately 20% of the employees in our Hospital Operations and other segment were represented by labor unions. There were no unionized employees in our Ambulatory Care segment, and less than 1% of Conifer’s employees belong to a union. Unionized employees – primarily registered nurses and service and maintenance workers – are located at 37 of our hospitals, the majority of which are in California, Florida and Michigan. We currently have two expired contracts and are negotiating renewals under extension agreements. We are also negotiating first contracts at two of our hospitals where employees selected union representation. At this time, we are unable to predict the outcome of the negotiations, but increases in salaries,

12


 

wages and benefits could result from these agreements. Furthermore, there is a possibility that strikes could occur during the negotiation process, which could increase our labor costs and have an adverse effect on our patient admissions and net operating revenues. Future organizing activities by labor unions could increase our level of union representation.

 

Mandatory Nurse-Staffing Ratios—At this time, California is the only state in which we operate that requires minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios to be maintained at all times in acute care hospitals. If other states in which we operate adopt mandatory nurse-staffing ratios or if California reduces its minimum nurse-staffing ratios already in place, it could have a significant effect on our labor costs and have an adverse impact on our net operating revenues if we are required to limit patient admissions in order to meet the required ratios.

 

COMPETITION

 

HEALTHCARE SERVICES

 

Our hospitals, outpatient centers and other healthcare businesses operate in competitive environments, primarily at the local level. Generally, other hospitals and outpatient centers in the local communities we serve provide services similar to those we offer, and, in some cases, competing facilities are more established or newer than ours. Furthermore, competing facilities (1) may offer a broader array of services to patients and physicians than ours, (2) may have larger or more specialized medical staffs to admit and refer patients, (3) may have a better reputation in the community, (4) may be more centrally located with better parking or closer proximity to public transportation or (5) may be able to negotiate more favorable reimbursement rates that they may use to strengthen their competitive position. In the future, we expect to encounter increased competition from system-affiliated hospitals and healthcare companies in specific geographic markets.

 

We also face competition from specialty hospitals (some of which are physician-owned) and unaffiliated freestanding outpatient centers for market share in high-margin services and for quality physicians and personnel. Furthermore, some of the hospitals that compete with our hospitals are owned by government agencies or not-for-profit organizations. These tax-exempt competitors may have certain financial advantages not available to our facilities, such as endowments, charitable contributions, tax-exempt financing, and exemptions from sales, property and income taxes. In addition, in certain markets in which we operate, large teaching hospitals provide highly specialized facilities, equipment and services that may not be available at our hospitals.

 

Another major factor in the competitive position of a hospital or outpatient facility is the ability to negotiate contracts with managed care plans. HMOs, PPOs, third-party administrators, and other third-party payers use managed care contracts to encourage patients to use certain hospitals in exchange for discounts from the hospitals’ established charges. Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to retain and renew our managed care contracts and enter into new managed care contracts on competitive terms. Other healthcare providers may affect our ability to enter into acceptable managed care contractual arrangements or negotiate increases in our reimbursement. For example, some of our competitors may negotiate exclusivity provisions with managed care plans or otherwise restrict the ability of managed care companies to contract with us. Furthermore, the trend toward consolidation among non-government payers tends to increase their bargaining power over fee structures.

 

State laws that require findings of need for construction and expansion of healthcare facilities or services (as described in “Healthcare Regulation and Licensing — Certificate of Need Requirements” below) may also have the effect of restricting competition. In addition, in those states that do not have certificate of need requirements or that do not require review of healthcare capital expenditure amounts below a relatively high threshold, competition in the form of new services, facilities and capital spending is more prevalent.

 

Our strategies are designed to help our hospitals and outpatient facilities remain competitive. We believe targeted capital spending on critical growth opportunities, emphasis on higher-demand clinical service lines (including outpatient lines), implementation of new payer contracting strategies, and improved quality metrics at our hospitals will improve our patient volumes. Furthermore, we have significantly expanded our outpatient business, and we have increased our focus on operating our outpatient centers with improved accessibility and more convenient service for patients, increased predictability and efficiency for physicians, and lower costs for payers. We have also sought to include all of our hospitals and other healthcare businesses in the related geographic area or nationally when negotiating

13


 

new managed care contracts, which may result in additional volumes at facilities that were not previously a part of such managed care networks.

 

We are continuing to make significant investments in equipment, technology, education and operational strategies designed to improve clinical quality at all of our facilities. In addition, we continually collaborate with physicians to implement the most current evidence-based medicine techniques to improve the way we provide care, while using labor management tools and supply chain initiatives to reduce variable costs. We believe the use of these practices will promote the most effective and efficient utilization of resources and result in shorter lengths of stay, as well as reductions in readmissions for hospitalized patients. In general, we believe that quality of care improvements may have the effects of: (1) reducing costs; (2) increasing payments from Medicare and certain managed care payers for our services as governmental and private payers move to pay-for-performance models, and the commercial market moves to more narrow networks and other methods designed to encourage covered individuals to use certain facilities over others; and (3) increasing physician and patient satisfaction, which may improve our volumes.

 

In addition, in several markets, we have formed clinically integrated organizations, which are collaborations with independent physicians and hospitals to develop ongoing clinical initiatives designed to control costs and improve the quality of care delivered to patients. Arrangements like these provide a foundation for negotiating with plans under an ACO structure or other risk-sharing model.

 

Further, each hospital has a local governing board, consisting primarily of community members and physicians, that develops short-term and long-term plans for the hospital to foster a desirable medical environment. Each local governing board also reviews and approves, as appropriate, actions of the medical staff, including staff appointments, credentialing, peer review and quality assurance. While physicians may terminate their association with our facilities at any time, we believe that by striving to maintain and improve quality of care and by maintaining ethical and professional standards, we will attract and retain qualified physicians with a variety of specialties.

 

REVENUE CYCLE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

 

Our Conifer subsidiary faces competition from existing participants and new entrants to the revenue cycle management market. In addition, the internal revenue cycle management staff of hospitals and other healthcare providers, who have historically performed many of the functions addressed by our services, in effect compete with us. Moreover, providers who have previously made investments in internally developed solutions sometimes choose to continue to rely on their own resources. We also currently compete with several categories of external participants in the revenue cycle market, most of which focus on small components of the hospital revenue cycle, including:

 

·

software vendors and other technology-supported revenue cycle management business process outsourcing companies;

 

·

traditional consultants, either specialized healthcare consulting firms or healthcare divisions of large accounting firms; and

 

·

large, non-healthcare focused business process and information technology outsourcing firms.

 

We believe that competition for the revenue cycle management and other services Conifer provides is based primarily on: (1) knowledge and understanding of the complex public and private healthcare payment and reimbursement systems; (2) a track record of delivering revenue improvements and efficiency gains for hospitals and other healthcare providers; (3) the ability to deliver solutions that are fully integrated along each step of the revenue cycle; (4) cost-effectiveness, including the breakdown between up-front costs and pay-for-performance incentive compensation; (5) reliability, simplicity and flexibility of the technology platform; (6) understanding of the healthcare industry’s regulatory environment; (7) sufficient infrastructure; and (8) financial stability.

 

To be successful, Conifer must respond more quickly and effectively than its competitors to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards, regulations and customer requirements. Existing or new competitors may introduce technologies or services that render Conifer’s technologies or services obsolete or less marketable. Even if Conifer’s technologies and services are more effective than the offerings of its competitors, current or potential

14


 

customers might prefer competitive technologies or services to Conifer’s technologies and services. Furthermore, increased competition may result in pricing pressures, which could negatively impact Conifer’s margins, growth rate or market share.

 

HEALTHCARE REGULATION AND LICENSING

 

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

 

The Affordable Care Act has changed how healthcare services in the United States are covered, delivered and financed. The primary goal of this comprehensive legislation is to extend health coverage to millions of uninsured legal U.S. residents through a combination of private sector health insurance reforms and public program expansion. To fund the expansion of insurance coverage, the legislation contains measures designed to promote quality and cost efficiency in healthcare delivery and to generate budgetary savings in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In addition, the ACA contains provisions intended to strengthen fraud and abuse enforcement.

 

Health Insurance Market Reforms—One key provision of the ACA is the “individual mandate,” which requires most Americans to maintain “minimum essential” health insurance coverage. Those who do not comply with the individual mandate must make a “shared responsibility payment” to the federal government in the form of a tax penalty. The penalty percentage increases through 2016 and is adjusted for inflation beginning in 2017. For individuals who are not exempt from the individual mandate, and who do not receive health insurance through an employer or government program, the means of satisfying the requirement is to purchase insurance from a private company or a health insurance exchange. Health insurance exchanges are government-regulated organizations that provide competitive markets for buying health insurance by offering individuals and small employers a choice of different health plans, certifying plans that participate, and providing information to help consumers better understand their options. Some states have elected to operate their own exchanges; in most states, however, individuals must utilize the federal government’s health insurance exchange found online at HealthCare.gov. Beginning in 2014, individuals who are enrolled in a health benefits plan purchased through an exchange may be eligible for a premium credit or cost-sharing subsidy. Following legal challenges seeking to limit the availability of premium credits and subsidies only to individuals enrolled in coverage through a state-based exchange, the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2015 upheld U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) regulations extending such subsidies to individuals who purchase coverage through the federal government’s health insurance exchange.

 

The “employer mandate” provision of the ACA requires the imposition of penalties on employers having 50 or more employees who do not offer affordable health insurance coverage to those working 30 or more hours per week. In February 2014, the requirements of the employer mandate were partially delayed. Employers with 100 or more full time equivalent employees were required to insure at least 70% of their employees beginning in 2015 and 95% of their employees by 2016; employers with 50-99 full time equivalent employees are required to start insuring their employees in 2016. We cannot predict what action the federal government might take to lift or extend the delay or the impact of any such action on insurance coverage.

 

The Affordable Care Act also established a number of health insurance market reforms, including bans on lifetime limits and pre-existing condition exclusions, new benefit mandates, and increased dependent coverage. Specifically, group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual coverage:

 

·

may not establish lifetime or annual limits on the dollar value of benefits;

 

·

may not rescind coverage of an enrollee, except in instances where the individual has performed an act or practice that constitutes fraud or makes an intentional misrepresentation of material fact;

 

·

must reimburse hospitals for emergency services provided to enrollees without prior authorization and without regard to whether a participating provider contract is in place; and

 

·

must continue to make dependent coverage available to unmarried dependents until age 26 (coverage for the dependents of unmarried adult children is not required) effective for health plan policy years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 (for plans that offer dependent coverage).

15


 

 

Public Program Reforms—Another key provision of the Affordable Care Act is the expansion of Medicaid coverage. Prior to the passage of the ACA, the Medicaid program offered federal funding to states to assist only limited categories of low-income individuals (including children, pregnant women, the blind and the disabled) in obtaining medical care. The ACA expanded eligibility under existing Medicaid programs to virtually all individuals under 65 years old with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level beginning in 2014. Under the ACA, the federal government will pay 100% of the costs of Medicaid expansion in 2015 and 2016; federal funding will be reduced to 90% over the course of the four-year period from 2017 through 2020, and it will remain at 90% for 2021 and beyond. The expansion of the Medicaid program in each state is not mandatory — it requires state legislative or regulatory action and the approval by CMS of a state Medicaid plan amendment. There is no deadline for a state to undertake expansion and qualify for the enhanced federal funding available under the Affordable Care Act. At December 31, 2015, 31 states and the District of Columbia had taken action to expand Medicaid, and one other was considering action to expand in the near future. We currently operate hospitals in six of the states (Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania) that have expanded their Medicaid programs. We cannot provide any assurances as to whether or when the other states in which we operate might choose to expand their Medicaid programs or whether those states that do expand their Medicaid programs will continue to offer expanded eligibility in the future.

 

Even though the ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility, the law also contains a number of provisions designed to significantly reduce Medicare and Medicaid program spending, including:

 

·

negative adjustments to the annual input price index, or “market basket,” updates for Medicare’s inpatient, outpatient, long-term acute and inpatient rehabilitation prospective payment systems, which began in 2010, as well as additional “productivity adjustments” that began in 2011; and

 

·

reductions to Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (“DSH”) payments, which began for Medicare payments in federal fiscal year (“FFY”) 2014 and will begin for Medicaid payments in FFY 2018, as the number of uninsured individuals declines.

 

The Affordable Care Act also contains a number of provisions intended to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care provided to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. For example, the legislation expands payment penalties based on a hospital’s rates of certain Medicare-designated hospital-acquired conditions (“HACs”). These HACs, which would normally result in a higher payment for an inpatient hospital discharge, will instead be paid as though the HAC is not present. The ACA likewise prohibits the use of federal funds under the Medicaid program to reimburse providers for medical assistance provided to treat HACs. Currently, hospitals with excessive readmissions for certain conditions receive reduced Medicare payments for all inpatient admissions. Beginning in FFY 2015, hospitals that fall into the top 25% of national risk-adjusted HAC rates for all hospitals in the previous year also receive a 1% reduction in Medicare payment rates. Separately, under a Medicare value-based purchasing program that was launched in FFY 2013, hospitals that satisfy certain performance standards receive increased payments for discharges during the following fiscal year. These payments are funded by decreases in payments to all hospitals for inpatient services. For discharges occurring during FFY 2014 and after, the performance standards must assess hospital efficiency, including Medicare spending per beneficiary. In addition, the Affordable Care Act directed CMS to launch a national pilot program to study the use of bundled payments to hospitals, physicians and post-acute care providers relating to a single admission to promote collaboration and alignment on quality and efficiency improvement; the pilot program is currently ongoing through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation within CMS, which has the authority to develop and test new payment methodologies designed to improve quality of care and lower costs.

 

Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act contains provisions relating to recovery audit contractors (“RACs”), which are third-party organizations under contract with CMS that identify underpayments and overpayments under the Medicare program and recoup any overpayments on behalf of the government. The ACA expanded the RAC program’s scope to include Medicaid claims and required all states to enter into contracts with RACs.

 

Program Integrity and Fraud and Abuse—The Affordable Care Act also contains a number of provisions relating to the Medicare and Medicaid anti-kickback and anti-fraud and abuse amendments, Section 1877 of the Social Security Act (commonly referred to as the “Stark” law), and qui tam or “whistleblower” actions, some of which are described in detail below. The ACA provides additional enforcement tools to the government, facilitates cooperation

16


 

between agencies by establishing mechanisms for the sharing of information, and enhances criminal and administrative penalties for non-compliance. For example, the ACA: (1) provides $350 million in increased federal funding over 10 years to fight healthcare fraud, waste and abuse; (2) authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), in consultation with the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”), to suspend Medicare and Medicaid payments to a provider of services or a supplier “pending an investigation of a credible allegation of fraud;” (3) provides Medicare contractors with additional flexibility to conduct random prepayment reviews; and (4) strengthens the rules for returning overpayments made by governmental health programs and expands liability under the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”) to include failure to timely repay identified overpayments.

 

The Impact of Health Reform on Us—As further discussed in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, of Part II of this report, the expansion of health insurance coverage under the ACA has resulted in a material increase in the number of patients using our facilities who have either private or public program coverage and a material decrease in uninsured and charity care admissions. Further, the ACA provides for a value-based purchasing program, the establishment of ACOs and bundled payment pilot programs, which created possible additional sources of revenue for our company. However, it remains difficult to predict the full impact of the Affordable Care Act on our future revenues and operations at this time due to uncertainty regarding a number of material factors, including:

 

·

how many states will ultimately implement the Medicaid expansion provisions and under what terms (a number of states in which we operate, including Florida and Texas, have chosen not to expand their Medicaid programs at this time);

 

·

how many currently uninsured individuals will ultimately obtain and retain insurance coverage (either private health insurance or Medicaid) as a result of the ACA;

 

·

what percentage of our newly insured patients will be covered under the Medicaid program and what percentage will be covered by private health insurers;

 

·

the extent to which states will enroll new Medicaid participants in managed care programs;

 

·

the pace at which insurance coverage expands, including the pace of different types of coverage expansion;

 

·

future changes in the rates paid to hospitals by private payers for newly covered individuals, including those covered through health insurance exchanges and those who might be covered under the Medicaid program under contracts with a state;

 

·

future changes in the rates paid by state governments under the Medicaid program for newly covered individuals;

 

·

the percentage of individuals in the exchanges who select the high-deductible plans, considering that health insurers offering those kinds of products have traditionally sought to pay lower rates to hospitals;

 

·

the extent to which the enhanced program integrity and fraud and abuse provisions lead to a greater number of civil or criminal actions or impact Medicare and Medicaid payments to us; and

 

·

the extent to which the provisions of the Affordable Care Act will put pressure on the profitability of health insurers, which in turn might cause them to seek to reduce payments to hospitals with respect to both newly insured individuals and their existing business.

 

We also cannot predict the outcome of continuing legal challenges to certain provisions of the ACA or what action, if any, Congress might take with respect to the ACA. Any action that negatively impacts the number of individuals who have health insurance coverage could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows.

 

17


 

Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act provides for significant reductions in the growth of Medicare spending, reductions in Medicare and Medicaid DSH payments, and the establishment of programs where reimbursement is tied to quality and clinical integration. Any reductions to our reimbursement under the Medicare and Medicaid programs could adversely affect our business and results of operations to the extent such reductions are not offset by increased revenues from providing care to previously uninsured individuals. It is difficult to predict the future effect on our revenues resulting from reductions to Medicare and Medicaid spending because of uncertainty regarding a number of material factors, including the following:

 

·

the amount of overall revenues we will generate from the Medicare and Medicaid programs when the reductions are fully implemented;

 

·

whether future reductions required by the ACA will be changed by statute prior to becoming effective;

 

·

the size of the annual productivity adjustment to the market basket;

 

·

the reductions to Medicaid DSH payments commencing in FFY 2018;

 

·

what the losses in revenues, if any, will be from the ACA’s quality initiatives;

 

·

how successful accountable care networks and other pilot programs in which we participate will be at coordinating care and reducing costs or whether they will decrease reimbursement; and

 

·

the scope and nature of potential changes to Medicare reimbursement methods, such as an emphasis on bundling payments or coordination of care programs.

 

In addition, we may continue to experience a high level of bad debt expense and have to provide uninsured discounts and charity care for undocumented immigrants who are not permitted to enroll in a health insurance exchange or government healthcare insurance program.

 

ANTI-KICKBACK AND SELF-REFERRAL REGULATIONS

 

Anti-Kickback Statute—Medicare and Medicaid anti-kickback and anti-fraud and abuse amendments codified under Section 1128B(b) of the Social Security Act (the “Anti-kickback Statute”) prohibit certain business practices and relationships that might affect the provision and cost of healthcare services payable under the Medicare and Medicaid programs and other government programs, including the payment or receipt of remuneration for the referral of patients whose care will be paid for by such programs. Specifically, the law prohibits any person or entity from offering, paying, soliciting or receiving anything of value, directly or indirectly, for the referral of patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs or the leasing, purchasing, ordering or arranging for or recommending the lease, purchase or order of any item, good, facility or service covered by these programs. In addition to addressing other matters, as discussed below, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) also amended Title XI (42 U.S.C. Section 1301 et seq.) to broaden the scope of fraud and abuse laws to include all health plans, whether or not payments under such health plans are made pursuant to a federal program. Moreover, the Affordable Care Act amended the Anti-kickback Statute to provide that intent to violate the Anti-kickback Statute is not required; rather, intent to violate the law generally is all that is required.

 

Sanctions for violating the Anti-kickback Statute include criminal and civil penalties, as well as fines and mandatory exclusion from government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, under the Affordable Care Act, submission of a claim for services or items generated in violation of the Anti-kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim and may be subject to additional penalties under the federal False Claims Act. Furthermore, it is a violation of the federal Civil Monetary Penalties Law to offer or transfer anything of value to Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries that is likely to influence their decision to obtain covered goods or services from one provider or service over another. Many states have statutes similar to the federal Anti-kickback Statute, except that the state statutes usually apply to referrals for services reimbursed by all third-party payers, not just federal programs.

 

18


 

The federal government has also issued regulations that describe some of the conduct and business relationships that are permissible under the Anti-kickback Statute. These regulations are often referred to as the “Safe Harbor” regulations. Currently, there are safe harbors for various activities, including the following: investment interests; space rental; equipment rental; practitioner recruitment; personal services and management contracts; sales of practices; referral services; warranties; discounts; employees; group purchasing organizations; waivers of beneficiary coinsurance and deductible amounts; managed care arrangements; obstetrical malpractice insurance subsidies; investments in group practices; ambulatory surgery centers; and referral agreements for specialty services. The fact that certain conduct or a given business arrangement does not meet a Safe Harbor does not necessarily render the conduct or business arrangement illegal under the Anti-kickback Statute. Rather, such conduct and business arrangements may be subject to increased scrutiny by government enforcement authorities and should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

 

Stark Law—The Stark law generally restricts referrals by physicians of Medicare or Medicaid patients to entities with which the physician or an immediate family member has a financial relationship, unless one of several exceptions applies. The referral prohibition applies to a number of statutorily defined “designated health services,” such as clinical laboratory, physical therapy, radiology, and inpatient and outpatient hospital services; the prohibition does not apply to health services provided by an ambulatory surgery center if those services are included in the surgery center’s composite Medicare payment rate. However, if the ambulatory surgery center is separately billing Medicare for designated health services that are not covered under the ambulatory surgery center’s composite Medicare payment rate, or if either the ambulatory surgery center or an affiliated physician is performing (and billing Medicare) for procedures that involve designated health services that Medicare has not designated as an ambulatory surgery center service, the Stark law’s self-referral prohibition would apply and such services could implicate the Stark Law. Exceptions to the Stark law’s referral prohibition cover a broad range of common financial relationships. These statutory and the subsequent regulatory exceptions are available to protect certain permitted employment relationships, relocation arrangements, leases, group practice arrangements, medical directorships, and other common relationships between physicians and providers of designated health services, such as hospitals. A violation of the Stark law may result in a denial of payment, required refunds to patients and the Medicare program, civil monetary penalties of up to $15,000 for each violation, civil monetary penalties of up to $100,000 for “sham” arrangements, civil monetary penalties of up to $10,000 for each day that an entity fails to report required information, and exclusion from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs and other federal programs. In addition, the submission of a claim for services or items generated in violation of the Stark law may constitute a false or fraudulent claim, and thus be subject to additional penalties under the FCA. Many states have adopted self-referral statutes similar to the Stark Law, some of which extend beyond the related state Medicaid program to prohibit the payment or receipt of remuneration for the referral of patients and physician self-referrals regardless of the source of the payment for the care. Our participation in and development of joint ventures and other financial relationships with physicians could be adversely affected by the Stark law and similar state enactments.

 

The Affordable Care Act also made changes to the “whole hospital” exception in the Stark law, effectively preventing new physician-owned hospitals after March 23, 2010 and limiting the capacity and amount of physician ownership in existing physician-owned hospitals. As revised, the Stark law prohibits physicians from referring Medicare patients to a hospital in which they have an ownership or investment interest unless the hospital had physician ownership and a Medicare provider agreement as of March 23, 2010 (or, for those hospitals under development at the time of the ACA’s enactment, as of December 31, 2010). A physician-owned hospital that meets these requirements is still subject to restrictions that limit the hospital’s aggregate physician ownership percentage and, with certain narrow exceptions for hospitals with a high percentage of Medicaid patients, prohibit expansion of the number of operating rooms, procedure rooms or beds. The legislation also subjects a physician-owned hospital to reporting requirements and extensive disclosure requirements on the hospital’s website and in any public advertisements.

 

Implications of Fraud and Abuse Laws—At December 31, 2015, three of our hospitals in our Hospital Operations and other segment, and the majority of the facilities that operate as hospitals in our Ambulatory Care segment, are owned by joint ventures that include some physician owners and are subject to the limitations and requirements in the Affordable Care Act on physician-owned hospitals. Furthermore, the majority of ambulatory surgery centers in our Ambulatory Care segment, which are owned by joint ventures that include some physician and health system partners, are subject to the Anti-kickback Statute and, in certain circumstances, may be subject to the Stark law. In addition, we have contracts with physicians and non-physician referral services providing for a variety of financial arrangements, including employment contracts, leases and professional service agreements, such as medical director

19


 

agreements. We have also provided financial incentives to recruit physicians to relocate to communities served by our hospitals, including income and collection guarantees and reimbursement of relocation costs, and will continue to provide recruitment packages in the future. Furthermore, new payment structures, such as ACOs and other arrangements involving combinations of hospitals, physicians and other providers who share payment savings, could potentially be seen as implicating anti-kickback and self-referral provisions.

 

Our operations could be adversely affected by the failure of our arrangements to comply with the Anti‑Kickback Statute, the Stark Law, billing laws and regulations, current state laws, or other legislation or regulations in these areas adopted in the future. We are unable to predict whether other legislation or regulations at the federal or state level in any of these areas will be adopted, what form such legislation or regulations may take or how they may impact our operations. For example, we cannot predict whether physicians may ultimately be restricted from holding ownership interests in hospitals or whether the exception relating to services provided by ambulatory surgery centers could be eliminated. We are continuing to enter into new financial arrangements with physicians and other providers in a manner we believe complies in all material respects with applicable anti-kickback and anti-fraud and abuse laws. However, governmental officials responsible for enforcing these laws may nevertheless assert that we are in violation of these provisions. In addition, these statutes or regulations may be interpreted and enforced by the courts in a manner that is not consistent with our interpretation.

 

In accordance with our ethics and compliance program, which is described in detail under “Compliance and Ethics” below, we have policies and procedures in place concerning compliance with the Anti-kickback Statute and the Stark law, among others. In addition, our ethics and compliance, law and audit services departments systematically review a substantial number of our arrangements with referral sources to determine the extent to which they comply with our policies and procedures and with the Anti-kickback Statute, the Stark law and similar state statutes. On the one hand, we may be less willing than some of our competitors to take actions or enter into business arrangements that do not clearly satisfy the safe harbors and exceptions to the fraud and abuse laws described above; as a result, this unwillingness may put us at a competitive disadvantage. On the other hand, we cannot assure you that the regulatory authorities that enforce these laws will not determine that some of our arrangements violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark law or other applicable regulations. An adverse determination could subject us to liabilities under the Social Security Act, including criminal penalties, civil monetary penalties and exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid or other federal healthcare programs, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, any determination by a federal or state agency or court that our USPI joint venture or its subsidiaries has violated any of these laws could give certain of our health system partners a right to terminate their relationships with us; and any similar determination with respect to Conifer or any of its subsidiaries could give Conifer’s customers the right to terminate their services agreements with us. Moreover, any violations by and resulting penalties or exclusions imposed upon USPI’s health system partners or Conifer’s customers could adversely affect their financial condition and, in turn, have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

 

Title II, Subtitle F of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act mandates the adoption of specific standards for electronic transactions and code sets that are used to transmit certain types of health information. HIPAA’s objective is to encourage efficiency and reduce the cost of operations within the healthcare industry. To protect the information transmitted using the mandated standards and the patient information used in the daily operations of a covered entity, HIPAA also sets forth federal rules protecting the privacy and security of protected health information (“PHI”). The privacy and security regulations address the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information and the rights of patients to understand and control how their information is used and disclosed. The law provides both criminal and civil fines and penalties for covered entities that fail to comply with HIPAA.

 

To receive reimbursement from CMS for electronic claims, healthcare providers and health plans must use HIPAA’s electronic data transmission (transaction and code set) standards when transmitting certain healthcare information electronically. Effective October 1, 2015, CMS changed the formats used for certain electronic transactions and began requiring the use of updated standard code sets for certain diagnoses and procedures known as ICD-10 code sets. Although use of the ICD-10 code sets required significant modifications to our payment systems and processes, we believe that the cost of compliance with these regulations has not had and is not expected to have a material adverse

20


 

effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or revenues. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act required HHS to adopt standards for additional electronic transactions and to establish operating rules to promote uniformity in the implementation of each standardized electronic transaction. Our electronic data transmissions are compliant with current standards.

 

Under HIPAA, covered entities must establish administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of electronic PHI maintained or transmitted by them or by others on their behalf. The covered entities we operate are in material compliance with the privacy, security and National Provider Identifier requirements of HIPAA. In addition, most of Conifer’s customers are covered entities, and Conifer is a business associate to many of those customers under HIPAA as a result of its contractual obligations to perform certain functions on behalf of and provide certain services to those customers. As a business associate, Conifer’s use and disclosure of PHI is restricted by HIPAA and the business associate agreements Conifer is required to enter into with its covered entity customers.

 

In 2009, HIPAA was amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act to impose certain of the HIPAA privacy and security requirements directly upon business associates of covered entities and significantly increase the monetary penalties for violations of HIPAA. Regulations that took effect in late 2009 also require business associates such as Conifer to notify covered entities, who in turn must notify affected individuals and government authorities, of data security breaches involving unsecured PHI. Since the passage of the HITECH Act, enforcement of HIPAA violations has increased. A knowing breach of the HIPAA privacy and security requirements made applicable to business associates by the HITECH Act could expose Conifer to criminal liability, and a breach of safeguards and processes that is not due to reasonable cause or involves willful neglect could expose Conifer to significant civil penalties and the possibility of civil litigation under HIPAA and applicable state law.

 

In May 2011, the Office for Civil Rights of HHS proposed new regulations to implement changes to the HIPAA requirements set forth in the HITECH Act that state that covered entities and business associates must account for disclosures of PHI to carry out treatment, payment and healthcare operations if such disclosures are through an electronic health record. The proposed regulations seek to expand the scope of the requirements under the HITECH Act and create a new patient right to an “access report,” which would be required to list every person who has accessed, for any reason, PHI about the individual contained in any electronic designated record set. Because our facilities currently utilize multiple, independent modules that may meet the definition of “electronic designated record set,” our ability to produce an access report that satisfies the proposed regulatory requirements would likely require new technology solutions to map across those multiple record sets. It is our understanding that many providers have expressed significant concerns to CMS regarding the access report requirement created by the proposed rule. In January 2013, HHS issued final regulations modifying the requirements set forth in the HITECH Act. While we were in material compliance with the new regulations as of the compliance date of September 23, 2013, the new regulations did not address the proposed “access report” requirement. Because we cannot predict the requirements of any future final rule regarding access reports, we are unable to estimate the costs of compliance, if any, at this time.

 

We have developed a comprehensive set of policies and procedures in our efforts to comply with HIPAA, and similar state privacy laws, under the guidance of our ethics and compliance department. Our compliance officers and information security officers are responsible for implementing and monitoring compliance with our HIPAA privacy and security policies and procedures throughout our company. We have also created an internal web-based HIPAA training program, which is mandatory for all U.S.-based employees. Based on existing regulations and our experience with HIPAA to this point, we continue to believe that the ongoing costs of complying with HIPAA will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

HEALTH PLAN REGULATORY MATTERS

 

Our health plans are subject to numerous federal and state laws and regulations related to their business operations, including, but not limited to:  the form and content of member contracts, including certain mandated benefits; premium rates and medical loss ratios; the content of agreements with participating providers; claims processing and appeals; underwriting practices; reinsurance arrangements; protecting the privacy and confidentiality of the information received from members; risk-sharing arrangements with providers; the quality of care provided to beneficiaries; reimbursement or payment levels for Medicare services; the provision of products or services to employer-sponsored

21


 

health benefit plans; the expansion into new service areas; participation on the health insurance exchanges; the award, administration and performance of federal contracts; the administration of strategic alliances with competitors, including information sharing; and advertising, marketing and sales activities.

 

Each of our health plans must also be licensed by one or more agencies in the states in which they conduct business and must submit periodic filings to and respond to inquiries from such agencies. State insurance regulators may require expanded governance practices, periodic risk and solvency assessment reports, and the establishment of minimum capital or cash reserve requirements. Some state insurance holding company laws and regulations require prior regulatory approval of acquisitions and material intercompany transfers of assets, as well as transactions between the regulated companies and their parent holding companies or affiliates. Furthermore, our health plan operations, accounts, and other books and records are subject to examination at regular intervals by regulatory agencies, including CMS and state insurance and health and welfare departments, to assess their compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Although we have extensive policies and procedures in place to facilitate compliance in all material respects with the laws, rules and regulations affecting our health plans, if a determination is made that we were in violation of such laws, rules or regulations with respect to one or more of our health plans, that aspect of our business could be materially adversely affected.

 

GOVERNMENT ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS AND QUI TAM LAWSUITS

 

Both federal and state government agencies continue heightened and coordinated civil and criminal enforcement efforts against the healthcare industry. The operational mission of the Office of Inspector General is to protect the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and the well-being of program beneficiaries by: detecting and preventing waste, fraud and abuse; identifying opportunities to improve program economy, efficiency and effectiveness; and holding accountable those who do not meet program requirements or who violate federal laws. The OIG carries out its mission by conducting audits, evaluations and investigations and, when appropriate, imposing civil monetary penalties, assessments and administrative sanctions. Although we have extensive policies and procedures in place to facilitate compliance in all material respects with the laws, rules and regulations affecting the healthcare industry, these policies and procedures may not be effective. If we are alleged or found to have violated such laws, rules or regulations, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected.

 

Healthcare providers are also subject to qui tam or “whistleblower” lawsuits under the federal False Claims Act, which allows private individuals to bring actions on behalf of the government, alleging that a hospital or healthcare provider has defrauded a government program, such as Medicare or Medicaid. If the government intervenes in the action and prevails, the defendant may be required to pay three times the actual damages sustained by the government, plus mandatory civil penalties for each false claim submitted to the government. As part of the resolution of a qui tam case, the party filing the initial complaint may share in a portion of any settlement or judgment. If the government does not intervene in the action, the qui tam plaintiff may continue to pursue the action independently. There are many potential bases for liability under the FCA. Liability often arises when an entity knowingly submits a false claim for reimbursement to the federal government. The FCA defines the term “knowingly” broadly. Though simple negligence will not give rise to liability under the FCA, submitting a claim with reckless disregard to its truth or falsity constitutes a “knowing” submission under the FCA and, therefore, will qualify for liability. The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 expanded the scope of the FCA by, among other things, creating liability for knowingly and improperly avoiding repayment of an overpayment received from the government and broadening protections for whistleblowers. Under the Affordable Care Act, the knowing failure to report and return an overpayment within 60 days of identifying the overpayment or by the date a corresponding cost report is due, whichever is later, constitutes a violation of the FCA. Further, the Affordable Care Act expands the scope of the FCA to cover payments in connection with health insurance exchanges if those payments include any federal funds. Qui tam actions can also be filed under certain state false claims laws if the fraud involves Medicaid funds or funding from state and local agencies. Like other companies in the healthcare industry, we are subject to qui tam actions from time to time. We are unable to predict the future impact of such actions on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. For information regarding material pending legal proceedings in which we are involved, including qui tam actions, see Note 15 to our Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

22


 

HEALTHCARE FACILITY LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

 

The operation of healthcare facilities is subject to federal, state and local regulations relating to personnel, operating policies and procedures, fire prevention, rate-setting, the adequacy of medical care, and compliance with building codes and environmental protection laws. Various licenses and permits also are required in order to dispense narcotics, operate pharmacies, handle radioactive materials and operate certain equipment. Our facilities are subject to periodic inspection by governmental and other authorities to assure continued compliance with the various standards necessary for licensing and accreditation. We believe that all of our healthcare facilities hold all required governmental approvals, licenses and permits material to the operation of their business.

 

UTILIZATION REVIEW COMPLIANCE AND HOSPITAL GOVERNANCE

 

In addition to certain statutory coverage limits and exclusions, federal laws and regulations, specifically the Medicare Conditions of Participation, generally require healthcare providers, including hospitals that furnish or order healthcare services that may be paid for under the Medicare program or state healthcare programs, to ensure that claims for reimbursement are for services or items that are (1) provided economically and only when, and to the extent, they are medically reasonable and necessary, (2) of a quality that meets professionally recognized standards of healthcare, and (3) supported by appropriate evidence of medical necessity and quality. The Social Security Act established the Utilization and Quality Control Peer Review Organization program, now known as the Quality Improvement Organization (“QIO”) program, to promote the effectiveness, efficiency, economy and quality of services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries and to ensure that those services are reasonable and necessary. CMS administers the program through a network of QIOs that work with consumers, physicians, hospitals and other caregivers to refine care delivery systems to ensure patients receive the appropriate care at the appropriate time, particularly among underserved populations. The QIO program also safeguards the integrity of the Medicare trust fund by reviewing Medicare patient admissions, treatments and discharges, and ensuring payment is made only for medically necessary services, and investigates beneficiary complaints about quality of care. The QIOs have the authority to deny payment for services provided and recommend to HHS that a provider that is in substantial noncompliance with certain standards be excluded from participating in the Medicare program.

 

There has been recent increased scrutiny of hospitals’ Medicare observation rates from outside auditors, government enforcement agencies and industry observers. The term “Medicare observation rate” is defined as total unique observation claims divided by the sum of total unique observation claims and total inpatient short-stay acute care hospital claims. A low rate may raise suspicions that a hospital is inappropriately admitting patients that could be cared for in an observation setting. In our affiliated hospitals, we use the independent, evidence-based clinical criteria developed by McKesson Corporation, commonly known as InterQual Criteria, to determine whether a patient qualifies for inpatient admission. The industry anticipates increased scrutiny and litigation risk, including government investigations and qui tam suits, related to inpatient admission decisions and the Medicare observation rate. In addition, effective October 1, 2013, CMS established a new concept, referred to as the “two-midnight rule,” to guide practitioners admitting patients and contractors conducting payment reviews on when it is appropriate to admit individuals as hospital inpatients. Under the two-midnight rule, CMS has indicated that a Medicare patient should generally be admitted on an inpatient basis only when there is a reasonable expectation that the patient’s care will cross two midnights, and, if not, then the patient generally should be treated as an outpatient. Following a transition period, full implementation and enforcement of the two-midnight rule began on January 1, 2016. We do not believe enforcement of the two-midnight rule will have a material impact on inpatient admission rates at our hospitals.

 

Medical and surgical services and practices are extensively supervised by committees of staff doctors at each of our healthcare facilities, are overseen by each facility’s local governing board, the members of which primarily are community members and physicians, and are reviewed by our clinical quality personnel. The local hospital governing board also helps maintain standards for quality care, develop short-term and long-range plans, and establish, review and enforce practices and procedures, as well as approves the credentials, disciplining and, if necessary, the termination of privileges of medical staff members.

 

23


 

CERTIFICATE OF NEED REQUIREMENTS

 

Some states require state approval for construction, acquisition and closure of healthcare facilities, including findings of need for additional or expanded healthcare facilities or services. Certificates or determinations of need, which are issued by governmental agencies with jurisdiction over healthcare facilities, are at times required for capital expenditures exceeding a prescribed amount, changes in bed capacity or services, and certain other matters. Our subsidiaries operate hospitals in nine states that require a form of state approval under certificate of need programs applicable to those hospitals. The certificate of need programs in most of these states, along with several others, also apply to ambulatory surgery centers.

 

Failure to obtain necessary state approval can result in the inability to expand facilities, add services, acquire a facility or change ownership. Further, violation of such laws may result in the imposition of civil sanctions or the revocation of a facility’s license. We are unable to predict whether we will be required or able to obtain any additional certificates of need in any jurisdiction where they are required, or if any jurisdiction will eliminate or alter its certificate of need requirements in a manner that will increase competition and, thereby, affect our competitive position. In those states that do not have certificate of need requirements or that do not require review of healthcare capital expenditure amounts below a relatively high threshold, competition in the form of new services, facilities and capital spending is more prevalent.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS

 

Our healthcare operations are subject to a number of federal, state and local environmental laws, rules and regulations that govern, among other things, our disposal of solid waste, as well as our use, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous and toxic materials (including radiological materials). Our operations also generate medical waste that must be disposed of in compliance with laws and regulations that vary from state to state. In addition, although we are not engaged in manufacturing or other activities that produce meaningful levels of greenhouse gas emissions, our operating expenses could be adversely affected if legal and regulatory developments related to climate change or other initiatives result in increased energy or other costs. We could also be affected by climate change and other environmental issues to the extent such issues adversely affect the general economy or result in severe weather affecting the communities in which our facilities are located. At this time, based on current climate conditions and our assessment of existing and pending environmental rules and regulations, as well as treaties and international accords relating to climate change, we do not believe that the costs of complying with environmental laws and regulations, including regulations relating to climate change issues, will have a material adverse effect on our future capital expenditures, results of operations or cash flows.

 

ANTITRUST LAWS

 

The federal government and most states have enacted antitrust laws that prohibit specific types of anti-competitive conduct, including price fixing, wage fixing, concerted refusals to deal, price discrimination and tying arrangements, as well as monopolization and acquisitions of competitors that have, or may have, a substantial adverse effect on competition. Violations of federal or state antitrust laws can result in various sanctions, including criminal and civil penalties.

 

Antitrust enforcement in the healthcare industry is currently a priority of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). In recent years, the FTC has filed multiple administrative complaints challenging hospital transactions in several states. The FTC has focused its enforcement efforts on preventing hospital mergers that may, in the government’s view, leave insufficient local options for inpatient services. In addition to hospital merger enforcement, the FTC has given increased attention to the effect of combinations involving other healthcare providers, including physician practices. The FTC has also entered into numerous consent decrees in the past several years settling allegations of price-fixing among providers.

 

We believe we are in compliance with federal and state antitrust laws, but there can be no assurance that a review of our practices by courts or regulatory authorities would not result in a determination that could adversely affect our operations.

 

24


 

 

REGULATIONS AFFECTING CONIFER’S OPERATIONS

 

As described below, Conifer and certain of its subsidiaries are subject to laws, rules and regulations regarding their consumer finance, debt collection and credit reporting activities.

 

DEBT COLLECTION ACTIVITIES

 

The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) regulates persons who regularly collect or attempt to collect, directly or indirectly, consumer debts owed or asserted to be owed to another person. Certain of the accounts receivable handled by Conifer’s debt collection agency subsidiary, Syndicated Office Systems, LLC (“SOS”), are subject to the FDCPA, which establishes specific guidelines and procedures that debt collectors must follow in communicating with consumer debtors, including the time, place and manner of such communications. The FDCPA also places restrictions on communications with individuals other than consumer debtors in connection with the collection of any consumer debt. In addition, the FDCPA contains various notice and disclosure requirements and imposes certain limitations on lawsuits to collect debts against consumers. Debt collection activities are also regulated at the state level. Most states have laws regulating debt collection activities in ways that are similar to, and in some cases more stringent than, the FDCPA.

 

Many states also regulate the collection practices of creditors who collect their own debt. These state regulations are often the same or similar to state regulations applicable to third-party collectors. Certain of the accounts receivable Conifer manages for its clients are subject to these state regulations.

 

In certain situations, the activities of SOS are also subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). The FCRA regulates the collection, dissemination and use of consumer information, including consumer credit information. State credit reporting laws, to the extent they are not preempted by the FCRA, may also apply to SOS.

 

The federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (“FACTA”) requires Conifer to adopt (1) written guidance and procedures for detecting, preventing and responding appropriately to mitigate identity theft, and (2) coworker policies and procedures (including training) that address the importance of protecting non-public personal information and aid Conifer in detecting and responding to suspicious activity, including suspicious activity that may suggest a possible identity theft red flag, as appropriate.

 

Conifer and its subsidiaries are also subject to regulation by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). Both the FTC and the CFPB have the authority to investigate consumer complaints relating to laws such as the FDCPA, FCRA and FACTA, and to initiate enforcement actions, including actions to seek restitution and monetary penalties from, or to require changes in business practices of, regulated entities. State officials typically have authority to enforce corresponding state laws. In addition, affected consumers may bring suits, including class action suits, to seek monetary remedies (including statutory damages) for violations of the federal and state provisions discussed above.

 

PAYMENT ACTIVITY RISKS

 

Conifer accepts payments from patients of the facilities for which it provides services using a variety of methods, including credit card, debit card, direct debit from a customer’s bank account, and physical bank check. For certain payment methods, including credit and debit cards, Conifer pays interchange and other fees, which may increase over time, thereby raising operating costs. Conifer relies on third parties to provide payment processing services, including the processing of credit cards, debit cards and electronic checks, and it could disrupt Conifer’s business if these companies become unwilling or unable to provide these services. Conifer is also subject to payment card association operating rules, including data security rules, certification requirements and rules governing electronic funds transfers, which could change or be reinterpreted to make it difficult or impossible for Conifer to comply. If Conifer fails to comply with these rules or requirements, or if its data security systems are breached or compromised, Conifer may be liable for card issuing banks’ costs, be subject to fines and higher transaction fees, and lose its ability to accept credit and debit card payments from customers, process electronic funds transfers, or facilitate other types of online payments.

 

25


 

COMPLIANCE AND ETHICS

 

General—Our ethics and compliance department maintains our multi-faceted, values-based ethics and compliance program, which is designed to (1) help staff in our corporate, USPI and Conifer offices, hospitals, outpatient centers, health plan offices and physician practices meet or exceed applicable standards established by federal and state laws and regulations, as well as industry practice, and (2) monitor and raise awareness of ethical issues among employees and others, and stress the importance of understanding and complying with our Standards of Conduct. The ethics and compliance department operates with independence — it has its own operating budget; it has the authority to hire outside counsel, access any Tenet document and interview any of our personnel; and our chief compliance officer reports directly to the quality, compliance and ethics committee of our board of directors.

 

Program Charter—Our Quality, Compliance and Ethics Program Charter is the governing document for our ethics and compliance program. Our adherence to the charter is intended to:

 

·

support and maintain our present and future responsibilities with regard to participation in federal healthcare programs; and

 

·

further our goals of operating an organization that (1) fosters and maintains the highest ethical standards among all employees, officers and directors, physicians practicing at Tenet facilities and contractors that furnish healthcare items or services, (2) values compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations as a foundation of its corporate philosophy, and (3) aligns its behaviors and decisions with Tenet’s core values of quality, integrity, service, innovation and transparency.

 

The primary focus of our quality, compliance and ethics program is compliance with the requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and other federally funded healthcare programs. Pursuant to the terms of the charter, our ethics and compliance department is responsible for the following activities: (1) annually assessing, critiquing and (as appropriate) drafting and distributing company policies and procedures; (2) developing, providing and tracking ethics training for all employees, directors and, as applicable, contractors and agents; (3) developing, providing and tracking job-specific training to those who work in clinical quality, coding, billing, cost reporting and referral source arrangements; (4) developing, providing and tracking annual training on ethics and clinical quality oversight to the members of each hospital governing board; (5) creating and disseminating the company’s Standards of Conduct and obtaining certifications of adherence to the Standards of Conduct as a condition of employment; (6) maintaining and promoting Tenet’s Ethics Action Line, which allows confidential reporting of issues on an anonymous basis and emphasizes Tenet’s no retaliation policy; (7) responding to and resolving all compliance-related issues that arise from the Ethics Action Line and compliance reports received from our facilities, hospital compliance officers or any other source; (8) ensuring that appropriate corrective and disciplinary actions are taken when non-compliant conduct or improper contractual relationships are identified; (9) monitoring and measuring adherence to all applicable Tenet policies and legal and regulatory requirements related to federal healthcare programs; (10) directing an annual screening of individuals for exclusion from federal healthcare program participation as required by federal regulations; (11) maintaining a database of all arrangements involving the payment of anything of value between Tenet and any physician or other actual or potential source of healthcare business or referrals to or from Tenet; and (12) overseeing annual audits of clinical quality, referral source arrangements, outliers, charging, coding, billing and other compliance risk areas as may be identified from time to time.

 

Standards of Conduct—All of our employees, including our chief executive officer, chief financial officer and principal accounting officer, are required to abide by our Standards of Conduct to advance our mission that our business be conducted in a legal and ethical manner. The members of our board of directors and many of our contractors are also required to abide by our Standards of Conduct. The standards reflect our basic values and form the foundation of a comprehensive process that includes compliance with all corporate policies, procedures and practices. Our standards cover such areas as quality patient care, compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, appropriate use of our assets, protection of patient information and avoidance of conflicts of interest.

 

As part of the program, we provide annual training sessions to every employee, as well as our board of directors and certain physicians and contractors. All employees are required to report incidents that they believe in good faith may be in violation of the Standards of Conduct, and are encouraged to contact our 24-hour toll-free Ethics Action Line when

26


 

they have questions about the standards or any ethics concerns. All reports to the Ethics Action Line are kept confidential to the extent allowed by law, and employees have the option to remain anonymous. Incidents of alleged financial improprieties reported to the Ethics Action Line or the ethics and compliance department are communicated to the audit committee of our board of directors. Reported cases that involve a possible violation of the law or regulatory policies and procedures are referred to the ethics and compliance department for investigation. Retaliation against employees in connection with reporting ethical concerns is considered a serious violation of our Standards of Conduct, and, if it occurs, it will result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

 

Availability of Documents—The full text of our Quality, Compliance and Ethics Program Charter, our Standards of Conduct, and a number of our ethics and compliance policies and procedures are published on our website, at www.tenethealth.com, under the “Ethics and Compliance” caption in the “About” section. A copy of our Standards of Conduct is also available upon written request to our corporate secretary. Information about how to contact our corporate secretary is set forth under “Company Information” below. Amendments to the Standards of Conduct and any grant of a waiver from a provision of the Standards of Conduct requiring disclosure under applicable Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules will be disclosed at the same location as the Standards of Conduct on our website.

 

INSURANCE

 

Property Insurance—We have property, business interruption and related insurance coverage to mitigate the financial impact of catastrophic events or perils that is subject to deductible provisions based on the terms of the policies. These policies are on an occurrence basis.

 

Professional and General Liability Insurance—As is typical in the healthcare industry, we are subject to claims and lawsuits in the ordinary course of business. The healthcare industry has seen significant increases in the cost of professional liability insurance due to increased litigation. In response, we maintain captive insurance companies to self-insure a substantial portion of our professional and general liability risk. We also own two captive insurance companies that write professional liability insurance for a small number of physicians, including employed physicians, who are on the medical staffs of certain of our hospitals.

 

Claims in excess of our self-insurance retentions are insured with commercial insurance companies. If the aggregate limit of any of our professional and general liability policies is exhausted, in whole or in part, it could deplete or reduce the limits available to pay any other material claims applicable to that policy period. Any losses not covered by or in excess of the amounts maintained under insurance policies will be funded from our working capital.

 

In addition to the reserves recorded by our captive insurance subsidiaries, we maintain reserves, including reserves for incurred but not reported claims, for our self-insured professional liability retentions and claims in excess of the policies’ aggregate limits, based on modeled estimates of losses and related expenses. Also, we provide standby letters of credit to certain of our insurers, which can be drawn upon under certain circumstances, to collateralize the deductible and self-insured retentions under a selected number of our professional and general liability insurance programs.

 

COMPANY INFORMATION

 

Tenet Healthcare Corporation was incorporated in the State of Nevada in 1975. We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other documents with the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Our reports, proxy statements and other documents filed electronically with the SEC are available at the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov.

 

Our website, www.tenethealth.com, also offers, free of charge, access to our annual, quarterly and current reports (and amendments to such reports), and other filings made with, or furnished to, the SEC as soon as reasonably practicable after such documents are submitted to the SEC. The information found on our website is not part of this or any other report we file with or furnish to the SEC.

 

Inquiries directed to our corporate secretary may be sent to Corporate Secretary, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, P.O. Box 139003, Dallas, Texas 75313-9003 or by e-mail at CorporateSecretary@tenethealth.com.

27


 

 

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

 

Information about our executive officers, as of February 22, 2016, is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name

    

Position

    

Age

Trevor Fetter

 

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

 

56

Daniel J. Cancelmi

 

Chief Financial Officer

 

53

Keith B. Pitts

 

Vice Chairman

 

58

Britt T. Reynolds

 

President of Hospital Operations

 

50

Audrey T. Andrews

 

Senior Vice President and General Counsel

 

49

 

Mr. Fetter was named Tenet’s president in November 2002; he was appointed chief executive officer in September 2003 and chairman in May 2015. From March 2000 to November 2002, Mr. Fetter was chairman and chief executive officer of Broadlane, Inc. From October 1995 to February 2000, he served in several senior management positions at Tenet, including chief financial officer. Mr. Fetter began his career with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, where he concentrated on corporate finance and advisory services for the entertainment and healthcare industries. In 1988, he joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., where he had a broad range of corporate and operating responsibilities, rising to executive vice president and chief financial officer. Mr. Fetter holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is a member of the board of directors of one other public company, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

 

Mr. Cancelmi was appointed Tenet’s chief financial officer in September 2012. He previously served as senior vice president from April 2009, principal accounting officer from April 2007 and controller from September 2004. Mr. Cancelmi was a vice president and assistant controller at Tenet from September 1999 until his promotion to controller. He joined the Company as chief financial officer of Hahnemann University Hospital. Prior to that, he held various positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, including in the firm’s National Accounting and SEC office in New York City. Mr. Cancelmi is a certified public accountant who holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida and Pennsylvania Institutes of Certified Public Accountants.

 

Mr. Pitts was appointed vice chairman following Tenet’s acquisition of Vanguard Health Systems, Inc. (“Vanguard”) in October 2013. He was Vanguard’s vice chairman from May 2001 until the acquisition and an executive vice president from August 1999 until May 2001. Mr. Pitts also served as a director of Vanguard from August 1999 until September 2004. Before joining Vanguard, Mr. Pitts was the chairman and chief executive officer of Mariner Post-Acute Network and its predecessor, Paragon Health Network, a nursing home management company, from November 1997 until June 1999. He served as the executive vice president and chief financial officer for OrNda HealthCorp, prior to its acquisition by Tenet, from August 1992 to January 1997, and, before that, as a consultant to many healthcare organizations, including as a partner in Ernst & Young’s healthcare consulting practice. Mr. Pitts is a certified public accountant who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Pitts currently serves as chair of the Federation of American Hospitals, a position he also held from 2007 to 2008.

 

Mr. Reynolds was appointed president of hospital operations in January 2012. From December 2008 through December 2011, he served as senior vice president and division president of Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA), overseeing HMA’s largest division, with 20 hospitals and related facilities in seven states. Prior to joining HMA, Mr. Reynolds served as a multi-facility divisional vice president of Community Health Systems, Inc. from December 2002 to December 2008, primarily in the northeast, midwest and southeast. Mr. Reynolds holds an M.B.A. from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Louisville. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

 

Ms. Andrews was appointed senior vice president and general counsel in January 2013. From July 2008 until that appointment, she served as senior vice president and chief compliance officer and, prior to that, served as vice president and chief compliance officer from November 2006. She joined Tenet in 1998 as hospital operations counsel. Ms. Andrews holds a J.D. and a bachelor’s degree in government, both from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a

28


 

member of the board of directors of the Federation of American Hospitals, and is also a member of the American and Texas Bar Associations and the American Health Lawyers Association.

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This report includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Exchange Act, each as amended. All statements, other than statements of historical or present facts, that address activities, events, outcomes, business strategies and other matters that we plan, expect, intend, assume, believe, budget, predict, forecast, project, estimate or anticipate (and other similar expressions) will, should or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements represent management’s current expectations, based on currently available information, as to the outcome and timing of future events. They involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors – many of which we are unable to predict or control – that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or healthcare industry results, to be materially different from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

·

The future impact of the Affordable Care Act on our business and the enactment of, or changes in, laws and regulations affecting the healthcare industry generally;

 

·

The effect that adverse economic conditions have on our volumes and our ability to collect outstanding receivables on a timely basis, among other things;

 

·

Adverse regulatory developments, government investigations or litigation, including any significant monetary resolution or other undesirable consequences of the Clinica de la Mama qui tam action and criminal investigation described in Note 15 to our Consolidated Financial Statements;

 

·

Our ability to enter into managed care provider arrangements on acceptable terms;

 

·

Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid payment rates or changes in reimbursement practices;

 

·

Competition;

 

·

Our success in implementing our business development plans and integrating newly acquired businesses, including our USPI joint venture;

 

·

Our ability to hire and retain qualified personnel, especially healthcare professionals;

 

·

The availability and terms of capital to fund the expansion of our business;

 

·

Our ability to continue to expand and realize earnings contributions from Conifer’s revenue cycle management, healthcare information management, capitation management and patient communications services businesses;

 

·

Our ability to identify and execute on measures designed to save or control costs or streamline operations;

 

·

The impact of our significant indebtedness;

 

·

Our success in completing recently announced corporate development transactions;

 

·

Our success in operating our health plans and accountable care networks; and

 

·

Other factors and risks referenced in this report and our other public filings.

 

29


 

Also included among the foregoing factors are the positive and negative effects of health reform legislation on reimbursement and utilization, as well as the future design of provider networks and insurance plans, including pricing, provider participation, coverage, and co-pays and deductibles.

 

When considering forward-looking statements, a reader should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements in this report. Should one or more of the risks and uncertainties described in this report occur, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results and plans could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. We specifically disclaim any obligation to update any information contained in a forward-looking statement or any forward-looking statement in its entirety and, therefore, disclaim any resulting liability for potentially related damages.

 

All forward-looking statements attributable to us are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

 

Our business is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties – many of which are beyond our control – that may cause our actual operating results or financial performance to be materially different from our expectations. If one or more of the events discussed in this report were to occur, actual outcomes could differ materially from those expressed in or implied by any forward-looking statements we make in this report or our other filings with the SEC, and our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity could be materially adversely affected; furthermore, the trading price of our common stock could decline and our shareholders could lose all or part of their investment.

 

We cannot predict with certainty the ultimate net effect that the Affordable Care Act may have on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

The Affordable Care Act has changed how healthcare services in the United States are covered, delivered and financed. The expansion of health insurance coverage under the law has resulted in a material increase in the number of patients using our facilities who have either private or public program coverage and a material decrease in uninsured and charity care admissions. However, it remains difficult to predict the full impact of the ACA on our future revenues and operations at this time due to uncertainty regarding a number of material factors, including:

 

·

how many states will ultimately implement the Medicaid expansion provisions and under what terms (a number of states in which we operate, including Florida and Texas, have chosen not to expand their Medicaid programs at this time);

 

·

how many currently uninsured individuals will ultimately obtain and retain insurance coverage (either private health insurance or Medicaid) as a result of the ACA;

 

·

what percentage of our newly insured patients will be covered under the Medicaid program and what percentage will be covered by private health insurers;

 

·

the extent to which states will enroll new Medicaid participants in managed care programs;

 

·

the pace at which insurance coverage expands, including the pace of different types of coverage expansion;

 

·

future changes in the rates paid to hospitals by private payers for newly covered individuals, including those covered through health insurance exchanges and those who might be covered under the Medicaid program under contracts with a state;

 

·

future changes in the rates paid by state governments under the Medicaid program for newly covered individuals;

 

30


 

·

the percentage of individuals in the exchanges who select the high-deductible plans, considering that health insurers offering those kinds of products have traditionally sought to pay lower rates to hospitals;

 

·

the extent to which the enhanced program integrity and fraud and abuse provisions lead to a greater number of civil or criminal actions or impact Medicare and Medicaid payments to us; and

 

·

the extent to which the provisions of the Affordable Care Act will put pressure on the profitability of health insurers, which in turn might cause them to seek to reduce payments to hospitals with respect to both newly insured individuals and their existing business.

 

Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act provides for significant reductions in the growth of Medicare spending, reductions in Medicare and Medicaid DSH payments, and the establishment of programs where reimbursement is tied to quality and clinical integration. A substantial portion of both our patient volumes and, as result, our revenues is derived from government healthcare programs, principally Medicare and Medicaid. Any reductions to our reimbursement under the Medicare and Medicaid programs could adversely affect our business and results of operations to the extent such reductions are not offset by increased revenues from providing care to previously uninsured individuals. It is difficult to predict the future effect on our revenues resulting from reductions to Medicare and Medicaid spending because of uncertainty regarding a number of material factors, including the following:

 

·

the amount of overall revenues we will generate from the Medicare and Medicaid programs when the reductions are fully implemented;

 

·

whether future reductions required by the ACA will be changed by statute prior to becoming effective;

 

·

the size of the annual productivity adjustment to the market basket;

 

·

the reductions to Medicaid DSH payments commencing in FFY 2018;

 

·

what the losses in revenues, if any, will be from the ACA’s quality initiatives;

 

·

how successful accountable care networks and other pilot programs in which we participate will be at coordinating care and reducing costs or whether they will decrease reimbursement; and

 

·

the scope and nature of potential changes to Medicare reimbursement methods, such as an emphasis on bundling payments or coordination of care programs.

 

In addition, we may continue to experience a high level of bad debt expense and have to provide uninsured discounts and charity care for undocumented immigrants who are not permitted to enroll in a health insurance exchange or government healthcare insurance program.

 

In general, there is still uncertainty with respect to the positive and negative effects the Affordable Care Act may have on reimbursement, utilization and the future design of provider networks and insurance plans (including pricing, provider participation, coverage, co-pays and deductibles), and the multiple models that attempt to forecast those effects may differ materially from our expectations. We are unable to predict the net effect of the ACA on our future revenues and operations at this time due to uncertainty regarding the ultimate number of uninsured individuals who will obtain and retain insurance coverage, uncertainty regarding future negotiations with payers, uncertainty regarding Medicaid expansion, and gradual and, in some cases, delayed implementation of certain provisions of the law. We also cannot predict the outcome of continuing legal challenges to certain provisions of the ACA or what action, if any, Congress might take with respect to the ACA. Any action that negatively impacts the number of individuals who have health insurance coverage could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows.

 

31


 

If we are unable to enter into and maintain managed care contractual arrangements on acceptable terms, if we experience material reductions in the contracted rates we receive from managed care payers or if we have difficulty collecting from managed care payers, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

We currently have thousands of managed care contracts with various HMOs and PPOs. The amount of our managed care net patient revenues during the year ended December 31, 2015 was $10.6 billion, which represented approximately 60% of our total net patient revenues before provision for doubtful accounts. Approximately 62% of our managed care net patient revenues for the year ended December 31, 2015 was derived from our top ten managed care payers. In the year ended December 31, 2015, our commercial managed care net inpatient revenue per admission from our acute care hospitals was approximately 76% higher than our aggregate yield on a per admission basis from government payers, including managed Medicare and Medicaid insurance plans. In addition, at December 31, 2015, approximately 59% of our net accounts receivable related to continuing operations were due from managed care payers.

 

Our ability to negotiate favorable contracts with HMOs, insurers offering preferred provider arrangements and other managed care plans significantly affects the revenues and operating results of our hospitals. In addition, private payers are increasingly attempting to control healthcare costs through direct contracting with hospitals to provide services on a discounted basis, increased utilization reviews and greater enrollment in managed care programs, such as HMOs and PPOs. The trend toward consolidation among private managed care payers tends to increase their bargaining power over prices and fee structures. Our future success will depend, in part, on our ability to renew existing managed care contracts and enter into new managed care contracts on competitive terms. Other healthcare companies, including some with greater financial resources, greater geographic coverage or a wider range of services, may compete with us for these opportunities. For example, some of our competitors may negotiate exclusivity provisions with managed care plans or otherwise restrict the ability of managed care companies to contract with us. Any material reductions in the contracted rates we receive for our services or any significant difficulties in collecting receivables from managed care payers could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Any material adverse effects resulting from future reductions in payments from private payers could be exacerbated if we are not able to manage our operating costs effectively.

 

Further changes in the Medicare and Medicaid programs or other government healthcare programs could have an adverse effect on our business.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2015, approximately 20.4% of our net patient revenues before provision for doubtful accounts for our Hospital Operations and other segment were related to the Medicare program, and approximately 8.7% of our net patient revenues before provision for doubtful accounts for our Hospital Operations and other segment were related to various state Medicaid programs, in each case excluding Medicare and Medicaid managed care programs. In addition to the changes affected by the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare and Medicaid programs are subject to: other statutory and regulatory changes, administrative rulings, interpretations and determinations concerning patient eligibility requirements, funding levels and the method of calculating payments or reimbursements, among other things; requirements for utilization review; and federal and state funding restrictions, all of which could materially increase or decrease payments from these government programs in the future, as well as affect the cost of providing services to our patients and the timing of payments to our facilities, which could in turn adversely affect our overall business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Any material adverse effects resulting from future reductions in payments from government programs could be exacerbated if we are not able to manage our operating costs effectively.

 

Several states in which we operate face budgetary challenges that have resulted, and likely will continue to result, in reduced Medicaid funding levels to hospitals and other providers. Because most states must operate with balanced budgets, and the Medicaid program is generally a significant portion of a state’s budget, states can be expected to adopt or consider adopting future legislation designed to reduce or not increase their Medicaid expenditures. In addition, some states delay issuing Medicaid payments to providers to manage state expenditures. As an alternative means of funding provider payments, many of the states in which we operate have adopted provider fee programs or have received federal government waivers allowing them to test new approaches and demonstration projects to improve care. Continuing pressure on state budgets and other factors could result in future reductions to Medicaid payments, payment delays or additional taxes on hospitals.

 

32


 

In general, we are unable to predict the effect of future government healthcare funding policy changes on our operations. If the rates paid by governmental payers are reduced, if the scope of services covered by governmental payers is limited, or if we or one or more of our subsidiaries’ hospitals are excluded from participation in the Medicare or Medicaid program or any other government healthcare program, there could be a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

The industry trend toward value-based purchasing and alternative payment models may negatively impact our revenues.

 

Value-based purchasing and alternative payment model initiatives of both governmental and private payers tying financial incentives to quality and efficiency of care will increasingly affect the results of operations of our hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and may negatively impact our revenues if we are unable to meet expected quality standards. The Affordable Care Act contains a number of provisions intended to promote value-based purchasing in federal healthcare programs. Medicare now requires providers to report certain quality measures in order to receive full reimbursement increases for inpatient and outpatient procedures that were previously awarded automatically. In addition, hospitals that meet or exceed certain quality performance standards will receive increased reimbursement payments, and hospitals that have “excess readmissions” for specified conditions will receive reduced reimbursement. Furthermore, Medicare no longer pays hospitals additional amounts for the treatment of certain hospital-acquired conditions, also known as HACs, unless the conditions were present at admission. Beginning in FFY 2015, hospitals that rank in the worst 25% of all hospitals nationally for HACs in the previous year receive reduced Medicare reimbursements. The ACA also prohibits the use of federal funds under the Medicaid program to reimburse providers for treating certain provider-preventable conditions.

 

The Secretary of HHS also recently announced a goal of tying 30% of traditional Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models or bundled payment arrangements by the end of 2016, and tying 50% of payments to these models by the end of 2018. In furtherance of this goal, in November 2015, CMS finalized a new five-year demonstration project, called the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (“CJR”) model, set to begin on April 1, 2016, which will hold hospitals accountable for the quality of care they deliver to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries for hip and knee replacements (and other major leg procedures) from surgery through recovery. As a result, the hospital in which a lower extremity joint replacement (“LEJR”) procedure takes place will be held financially accountable for quality and costs for the entire episode of care, from the date of surgery through 90 days post-discharge, including services not provided by the hospital, such as physician, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing and home health services. Through the CJR payment model, beginning in 2017, participating hospitals in 67 geographic areas across the country – including 20 of our acute care hospitals and four short-stay surgical facilities operated by our USPI joint venture – will be eligible to receive incentive payments or will be subject to payment reductions within certain corridors based on their performance against quality and spending criteria. We anticipate that CMS will develop additional, similar, alternative payment models for other conditions in the future.

 

There is also a trend among private payers toward value-based purchasing and alternative payment models for healthcare services. Many large commercial payers expect hospitals to report quality data, and several of these payers will not reimburse hospitals for certain preventable adverse events. We expect value-based purchasing programs, including programs that condition reimbursement on patient outcome measures, to become more common and to involve a higher percentage of reimbursement amounts.

 

We are unable at this time to predict how this trend will affect our results of operations, but it could negatively impact our revenues, particularly if we are unable to meet the quality and cost standards established by both governmental and private payers under new value-based purchasing and alternative payment models.

 

Our hospitals, outpatient centers and other healthcare businesses operate in competitive environments, and competition in our markets can adversely affect patient volumes.

 

The healthcare business is highly competitive, and competition among hospitals and other healthcare providers for patients has intensified in recent years. Generally, other hospitals and outpatient centers in the local communities we serve provide services similar to those we offer, and, in some cases, competing facilities (1) are more established or newer than ours, (2) may offer a broader array of services to patients and physicians than ours, and (3) may have larger

33


 

or more specialized medical staffs to admit and refer patients, among other things. Furthermore, healthcare consumers are now able to access hospital performance data on quality measures and patient satisfaction, as well as standard charges for services, to compare competing providers; if any of our hospitals achieve poor results (or results that are lower than our competitors) on quality measures or patient satisfaction surveys, or if our standard charges are higher than our competitors, we may attract fewer patients. Additional quality measures and future trends toward clinical transparency may have an unanticipated impact on our competitive position and patient volumes.

 

In the future, we expect to encounter increased competition from system-affiliated hospitals and healthcare companies in specific geographic markets. We also face competition from specialty hospitals (some of which are physician-owned) and unaffiliated freestanding outpatient centers for market share in high margin services and for quality physicians and personnel. Furthermore, some of the hospitals that compete with our hospitals are owned by government agencies or not-for-profit organizations supported by endowments and charitable contributions and can finance capital expenditures and operations on a tax-exempt basis. As is the case with our hospitals, some of our health plan competitors are owned by governmental agencies or non-profit corporations that have greater financial resources than we do. If our competitors are better able to attract patients, recruit physicians, expand services or obtain favorable managed care contracts at their facilities than we are, we may experience an overall decline in patient volumes.

 

Our business and financial results could be harmed if we are alleged to have violated existing regulations or if we fail to comply with new or changed regulations.

 

Our hospitals, outpatient centers and related healthcare businesses are subject to extensive federal, state and local regulation relating to, among other things, licensure, contractual arrangements, conduct of operations, privacy of patient information, ownership of facilities, physician relationships, addition of facilities and services, and reimbursement rates for services. The laws, rules and regulations governing the healthcare industry are extremely complex and, in certain areas, the industry has little or no regulatory or judicial interpretation for guidance. Moreover, pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, the OIG is permitted to suspend Medicare and Medicaid payments to a provider of services “pending an investigation of a credible allegation of fraud.” The potential consequences for violating such laws, rules or regulations include reimbursement of government program payments, the assessment of civil monetary penalties, including treble damages, fines, which could be significant, exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs, or criminal sanctions against current or former employees, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or cash flows. Even a public announcement that we are being investigated for possible violations of law could have a material adverse effect on the value of our common stock and our business reputation could suffer.

 

Furthermore, healthcare, as one of the largest industries in the United States, continues to attract much legislative interest and public attention. We are unable to predict the future course of federal, state and local healthcare regulation or legislation, including Medicare and Medicaid statutes and regulations. Further changes in the regulatory framework negatively affecting healthcare providers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

We are also required to comply with various federal and state labor laws, rules and regulations governing a variety of workplace wage and hour issues. From time to time, we have been and expect to continue to be subject to regulatory proceedings and private litigation concerning our application of such laws, rules and regulations.

 

We could be subject to substantial uninsured liabilities or increased insurance costs as a result of significant legal actions.

 

We are subject to medical malpractice lawsuits, class action lawsuits and other legal actions in the ordinary course of business. Some of these actions may involve large demands, as well as substantial defense costs. Even in states that have imposed caps on damages, litigants are seeking recoveries under new theories of liability that might not be subject to such caps. Our professional and general liability insurance does not cover all claims against us, and it may not continue to be available at a reasonable cost for us to maintain at adequate levels, as the healthcare industry has seen significant increases in the cost of such insurance due to increased litigation. We cannot predict the outcome of current or future legal actions against us or the effect that judgments or settlements in such matters may have on us or on our insurance costs. Additionally, all professional and general liability insurance we purchase is subject to policy limitations.

34


 

If the aggregate limit of any of our professional and general liability policies is exhausted, in whole or in part, it could deplete or reduce the limits available to pay any other material claims applicable to that policy period. Any losses not covered by or in excess of the amounts maintained under insurance policies will be funded from our working capital. Furthermore, one or more of our insurance carriers could become insolvent and unable to fulfill its or their obligations to defend, pay or reimburse us when those obligations become due. In that case or if payments of claims exceed our estimates or are not covered by our insurance, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

It is essential to our ongoing business that we attract an appropriate number of quality physicians in the specialties required to support our services and that we maintain good relations with those physicians.

 

The success of our business depends in significant part on the number, quality, specialties, and admitting and scheduling practices of the licensed physicians who have been admitted to the medical staffs of our hospitals and who affiliate with us and use our facilities as an extension of their practices. Although we operate physician practices and, where permitted by law, employ physicians, physicians are often not employees of the hospitals or surgery centers at which they practice. Furthermore, members of the medical staffs of our hospitals also often serve on the medical staffs of hospitals we do not operate, and they are free to terminate their association with our hospitals or admit their patients to competing hospitals at any time. In addition, although physicians who own interests in our facilities are generally subject to agreements restricting them from owning an interest in competitive facilities, we may not learn of, or be unsuccessful in preventing, our physician partners from acquiring interests in competitive facilities. In some of our markets, physician recruitment and retention are affected by a shortage of physicians in certain specialties and the difficulties that physicians can experience in obtaining affordable malpractice insurance or finding insurers willing to provide such insurance. If we are unable to attract and retain sufficient numbers of quality physicians by providing adequate support personnel, technologically advanced equipment, and facilities that meet the needs of those physicians and their patients, physicians may be discouraged from referring patients to our facilities, admissions and outpatient visits may decrease and our operating performance may decline.

 

Our new USPI joint venture and our recent hospital-based joint ventures depend on existing relationships with key health system partners. If we are not able to maintain historical relationships with these health system partners, or enter into new relationships, we may be unable to implement our business strategies successfully.

 

Our new USPI joint venture and our recent hospital-based joint ventures depend in part on the efforts, reputations and success of health system partners and the strength of our relationships with those health systems. Our joint ventures could be adversely affected by any damage to those health systems’ reputations or to our relationships with them. In many cases, our joint venture agreements are structured to comply with current IRS revenue rulings, as well as case law, relevant to joint ventures between for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare entities. Material changes in these authorities could adversely affect our relationships with health system partners. If we are unable to maintain existing arrangements on favorable terms or enter into relationships with additional health system partners, we may be unable to implement our business strategies for our joint ventures successfully.

 

Our labor costs could be adversely affected by competition for staffing, the shortage of experienced nurses and labor union activity.

 

The operations of our facilities are dependent on the efforts, abilities and experience of our management and medical support personnel, including nurses, therapists, pharmacists and lab technicians, as well as our employed physicians. We compete with other healthcare providers in recruiting and retaining employees, and, like others in the healthcare industry, we continue to experience a shortage of critical-care nurses in certain disciplines and geographic areas. As a result, from time to time, we may be required to enhance wages and benefits to recruit and retain experienced employees, make greater investments in education and training for newly licensed medical support personnel, or hire more expensive temporary or contract employees. Furthermore, state-mandated nurse-staffing ratios in California affect not only our labor costs, but, if we are unable to hire the necessary number of experienced nurses to meet the required ratios, they may also cause us to limit patient admissions with a corresponding adverse effect on our net operating revenues. In general, our failure to recruit and retain qualified management, experienced nurses and other medical support personnel, or to control labor costs, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

35


 

 

Increased labor union activity is another factor that could adversely affect our labor costs. At December 31, 2015, approximately 20% of the employees in our Hospital Operations and other segment were represented by labor unions. There were no unionized employees in our Ambulatory Care segment, and less than 1% of Conifer’s employees belong to a union. Unionized employees – primarily registered nurses and service and maintenance workers – are located at 37 of our hospitals, the majority of which are in California, Florida and Michigan. We currently have two expired contracts and are negotiating renewals under extension agreements. We are also negotiating first contracts at two of our hospitals where employees selected union representation. At this time, we are unable to predict the outcome of the negotiations, but increases in salaries, wages and benefits could result from these agreements. Furthermore, there is a possibility that strikes could occur during the negotiation process, which could increase our labor costs and have an adverse effect on our patient admissions and net operating revenues. Future organizing activities by labor unions could increase our level of union representation; to the extent a greater portion of our employee base unionizes, it is possible our labor costs could increase materially.

 

Conifer’s future success also depends in part on our ability to attract, hire, integrate and retain key personnel. Competition for the caliber and number of employees we require at Conifer is intense. We may face difficulty identifying and hiring qualified personnel at compensation levels consistent with our existing compensation and salary structure. In addition, we invest significant time and expense in training Conifer’s employees, which increases their value to competitors who may seek to recruit them. If we fail to retain our Conifer employees, we could incur significant expenses in hiring, integrating and training their replacements, and the quality of Conifer’s services and its ability to serve its customers could diminish, resulting in a material adverse effect on that segment of our business.

 

Our business and financial results could be harmed by a national or localized outbreak of a highly contagious or epidemic disease.

 

If an outbreak of an infectious disease such as the Zika virus or the Ebola virus were to occur nationally or in one of the regions our hospitals serve, our business and financial results could be adversely effected. The treatment of a highly contagious disease at one of our facilities may result in a temporary shutdown or diversion of patients. In addition, unaffected individuals may decide to defer elective procedures or otherwise avoid medical treatment, resulting in reduced patient volumes and operating revenues. Furthermore, we cannot predict the costs associated with the potential treatment of an infectious disease outbreak by our hospitals or preparation for such treatment.

 

Conifer operates in a highly competitive industry, and its current or future competitors may be able to compete more effectively than Conifer does, which could have a material adverse effect on Conifer’s margins, growth rate and market share.

 

We intend to continue to market and expand Conifer’s revenue cycle management, patient communications and engagement services, and management services businesses. However, the market for Conifer’s solutions is highly competitive, and we expect competition may intensify in the future. Conifer faces competition from existing participants and new entrants to the revenue cycle management market (including software vendors and other technology-supported revenue cycle management outsourcing companies, traditional consultants and information technology outsourcing firms), as well as from the staffs of hospitals and other healthcare providers who handle these processes internally. To be successful, Conifer must respond more quickly and effectively than its competitors to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards, regulations and customer requirements. Moreover, existing or new competitors may introduce technologies or services that render Conifer’s technologies or services obsolete or less marketable. Even if Conifer’s technologies and services are more effective than the offerings of its competitors, current or potential customers might prefer competitive technologies or services to Conifer’s technologies and services. Furthermore, increased competition may result in pricing pressures, which could negatively impact Conifer’s margins, growth rate or market share.

 

The failure to comply with consumer financial, debt collection and credit reporting laws and regulations could subject Conifer and its subsidiaries to fines and other liabilities, as well as harm Conifer’s business and reputation.

 

Conifer and its subsidiaries are subject to numerous federal, state and local consumer financial, debt collection and credit reporting laws, rules and regulations. Regulations governing debt collection are subject to changing

36


 

interpretations that may be inconsistent among different jurisdictions. In addition, a regulatory determination made by, or a settlement or consent decree entered into with, one regulatory agency, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, may not be binding upon, or preclude, investigations or regulatory actions by state or local agencies. Conifer’s failure to comply with consumer financial, debt collection and credit reporting requirements could result in, among other things, the issuance of cease and desist orders (which can include orders for restitution or rescission of contracts, as well as other kinds of affirmative relief), the imposition of fines or refunds, and other civil and criminal penalties, some of which could be significant in the case of knowing or reckless violations. In addition, Conifer’s failure to comply with the laws and regulations applicable to it could result in reduced demand for its services, invalidate all or portions of some of Conifer’s services agreements with its customers, or give customers the right to terminate Conifer’s services agreements with them, among other things, any of which could have an adverse effect on Conifer’s business. Furthermore, if Conifer or its subsidiaries become subject to fines or other penalties, it could harm Conifer’s reputation, thereby making it more difficult for Conifer to retain existing customers or attract new customers

 

Our business could be negatively affected by security threats, catastrophic events and other disruptions affecting our information technology and related systems.

 

As a provider of healthcare services, information technology is a critical component of the day-to-day operation of our business. We rely on our information technology to process, transmit and store sensitive and confidential data, including protected health information, personally identifiable information of our patients and employees, and our proprietary and confidential business performance data. We utilize electronic health records and other health information technology, along with additional technology systems, in connection with our operations, including for, among other things, billing, supply chain and labor management. Our systems, in turn, interface with and rely on third-party systems. Although we monitor and routinely test our security systems and processes and have a diversified data network that provides redundancies as well as other measures designed to protect the security and availability of the data we process, transmit and store, our information technology and infrastructure have been, and will likely continue to be, subject to computer viruses, attacks by hackers, or breaches due to employee error or malfeasance. While we are not aware of having experienced a material breach of cybersecurity, the preventive actions we take to reduce the risk of such incidents and protect our information technology may not be sufficient in the future. As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve, we may not be able to anticipate certain attack methods in order to implement effective protective measures, and we may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify and strengthen our security measures, investigate and remediate any vulnerabilities in our information systems and infrastructure, or invest in new technology designed to mitigate security risks. Third parties to whom we outsource certain of our functions, or with whom our systems interface, are also subject to the risks outlined above and may not have or use appropriate controls to protect confidential information. A breach or attack affecting one of our third-party service providers or partners could harm our business even if we do not control the service that is attacked. Further, successful cyber-attacks at other healthcare services companies, whether or not we are impacted, could lead to a general loss of customer confidence in our industry that could negatively affect us, including harming the market perception of the effectiveness of our security measures or of the healthcare industry in general, which could result in reduced use of our services. Though we have insurance against some cyber-risks and attacks, it may not be sufficient to offset the impact of a material loss event.

 

Furthermore, our networks and technology systems are subject to disruption due to events such as a major earthquake, fire, telecommunications failure, terrorist attack or other catastrophic event. Any such breach or system interruption could result in the unauthorized disclosure, misuse or loss of confidential, sensitive or proprietary information, could negatively impact our ability to conduct normal business operations (including the collection of revenues), and could result in potential liability under privacy, security, consumer protection or other applicable laws, regulatory penalties, negative publicity and damage to our reputation, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

 

We cannot provide any assurances that our corporate development activities will achieve their business goals or the cost and service synergies we expect.

 

We have completed, or have announced plans to complete, a number of acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and strategic alliances as part of our business strategy, and we expect to enter into similar transactions in the future. We cannot provide any assurances that these transactions will achieve their business goals or the cost and service synergies we expect. In particular, our USPI joint venture represents an increased strategic focus on ambulatory and short-stay surgical

37


 

facilities, as well as related imaging services businesses, and we cannot provide any assurances that this strategy will be successful. Furthermore, with respect to acquisitions, we may not be able to identify suitable candidates, consummate transactions on terms that are favorable to us, or achieve expected returns, synergies or other benefits in a timely manner or at all. With respect to proposed divestitures of assets or businesses, we may encounter difficulties in finding acquirers or alternative exit strategies on terms that are favorable to us, which could delay the accomplishment of our strategic objectives. In addition, our divestiture activities have required, and may in the future require, us to recognize impairment charges or to agree to contractual restrictions that limit our ability to reenter the applicable market, which may be material.

 

Companies or operations acquired or joint ventures created may not be profitable or may not achieve the profitability that justifies the investments made. Furthermore, the nature of a joint venture requires us to consult with and share certain decision-making powers with unaffiliated third parties, some of which may be not-for-profit healthcare systems. If our joint venture partners do not fulfill their obligations, the affected joint venture may not be able to operate according to its business or strategic plans. In that case, our results could be adversely affected or we may be required to increase our level of financial commitment to the joint venture. Moreover, differences in economic or business interests or goals among joint venture participants could result in delayed decisions, failures to agree on major issues and even litigation. If these differences cause the joint ventures to deviate from their business or strategic plans, or if our joint venture partners take actions contrary to our policies, objectives or the best interests of the joint venture, our results could be adversely affected. In addition, our relationships with not-for-profit healthcare systems and the joint venture agreements that govern these relationships are intended to be structured to comply with current revenue rulings published by the IRS, as well as case law relevant to joint ventures between for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare entities. Material changes in these authorities could adversely affect our relationships with not-for-profit healthcare systems and related joint venture arrangements.

 

Our corporate development activities may present financial and operational risks, including diversion of management attention from existing core businesses and the integration or separation of personnel and financial and other systems. Future acquisitions could also result in potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, the incurrence of additional debt, contingent liabilities and amortization expenses related to certain intangible assets, and increased operating expenses, any of which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our existing joint ventures may limit our flexibility with respect to such jointly owned investments and could, thereby, have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition, as well as our ability to sell the underlying assets or ownership interests in the joint ventures.

 

We have invested in a number of joint ventures with other entities when circumstances warranted the use of these structures, and we may form additional joint ventures in the future. Our participation in joint ventures is subject to the risks that:

 

·

We could experience an impasse on certain decisions because we do not have sole decision-making authority, which could require us to expend additional resources on resolving such impasses or potential disputes.

 

·

We may not be able to maintain good relationships with our joint venture partners (including health system partners), which could limit our future growth potential and could have an adverse effect our business strategies.

 

·

Our joint venture partners could have investment or operational goals that are not consistent with our corporate-wide objectives, including the timing, terms and strategies for investments or future growth opportunities.

 

·

Our joint venture partners might become bankrupt, fail to fund their share of required capital contributions or fail to fulfill their obligations as joint venture partners, which may require us to infuse our own capital into any such venture on behalf of the related joint venture partner or partners despite other competing uses for such capital.

 

38


 

·

Many of our existing joint ventures require that one of our wholly owned affiliates provide a working capital line of credit to the joint venture, which could require us to allocate substantial financial resources to the joint venture potentially impacting our ability to fund our other short-term obligations.

 

·

Some of our existing joint ventures require mandatory capital expenditures for the benefit of the applicable joint venture, which could limit our ability to expend funds on other corporate opportunities.

 

·

Our joint venture partners may have exit rights that would require us to purchase their interests upon the occurrence of certain events, which could impact our financial condition by requiring us to incur additional indebtedness in order to complete such transactions or, alternatively, in some cases we may have the option to issue shares of our common stock to our joint venture partners to satisfy such obligations, which would dilute the ownership of our existing stockholders.

 

·

Our joint venture partners may have competing interests in our markets that could create conflict of interest issues.

 

·

Any sale or other disposition of our interest in a joint venture or underlying assets of the joint venture may require consents from our joint venture partners, which we may not be able to obtain.

 

·

Certain corporate-wide or strategic transactions may also trigger other contractual rights held by a joint venture partner (including termination or liquidation rights) depending on how the transaction is structured, which could impact our ability to complete such transactions.

 

The put/call arrangements set forth in the Put/Call Agreement (as defined below) may require us to utilize our cash flow or incur additional indebtedness to satisfy the payment obligations in respect of such arrangements.

 

On June 16, 2015, we entered into a Contribution and Purchase Agreement (the “Contribution and Purchase Agreement”) with USPI Group Holdings, Inc. (“USPI Holdings”), Ulysses JV Holding I L.P. (“Ulysses Holding I”), Ulysses JV Holding II L.P. (“Ulysses Holding II” and, together with Ulysses Holding I, the “USPI LPs”), and the newly formed USPI Holding Company, Inc., our USPI joint venture. USPI Holdings is the parent company of United Surgical Partners International, Inc. USPI Holdings, through USPI and its other subsidiaries, is engaged in the business of owning and managing ambulatory surgery centers, surgical hospitals and related businesses. Pursuant to the terms of the Contribution and Purchase Agreement, at the closing, the USPI LPs collectively sold and contributed 100% of the equity interests of USPI Holdings to the USPI joint venture in exchange for certain shares of common stock of the USPI joint venture (the “USPI Contribution”), and we sold and contributed certain of our equity interests and other assets that comprised a portion of our ambulatory surgery center and imaging center business to the USPI joint venture (the “Tenet Contribution” and, together with the USPI Contribution, the “Contributions”).We also purchased certain shares of the USPI joint venture (the “Purchase” and, together with the Contributions, the “Contribution and Purchase Transactions”) from the USPI LPs such that, after giving effect to the Contribution and Purchase Transactions, we owned 50.1% and the USPI LPs, in the aggregate, owned 49.9% of the fully diluted equity interests of the USPI joint venture. In December 2015, the USPI LPs sold 3.01% of the fully diluted equity interests of the USPI joint venture to Baylor University Medical Center.

 

In connection with the Contribution and Purchase Agreement, we, the USPI LPs and the USPI joint venture entered into a stockholders agreement pursuant to which we and the USPI LPs agreed to certain rights and obligations with respect to the governance of the USPI joint venture. In addition, we entered into a put/call agreement (the “Put/Call Agreement”) that contains put and call options with respect to the equity interests in the USPI joint venture held by the USPI LPs. Each year starting in 2016, the USPI LPs must put to us at least 12.5%, and may put up to 25%, of the USPI joint venture shares held by them immediately after the closing of the Contribution and Purchase Agreement. In each year that the USPI LPs are to deliver a put and do not put the full 25% of USPI joint venture shares allowable, we may call the difference between the number of USPI joint venture shares the USPI LPs put and the maximum number of USPI joint venture shares the USPI LPs could have put that year. In addition, the Put/Call Agreement contains certain other call options pursuant to which we will have the ability to acquire all of the ownership interests held by the USPI LPs by 2020. In the event of a put by the USPI LPs, we will have the ability to choose whether to settle the purchase price in cash or shares

39


 

of our common stock and, in the event of a call by us, the USPI LPs will have the ability to choose whether to settle the purchase price in cash or shares of our common stock.

 

We have also entered into a separate put/call agreement (the “Baylor Put/Call Agreement”) with Baylor that contains put and call options with respect to the equity interests in the USPI joint venture held by Baylor.  Each year starting in 2021, Baylor may put up to 33.3% of their total shares in the USPI joint venture held as of January 1, 2017. In each year that Baylor does not put the full 33.3% of the USPI joint venture’s shares allowable, we may call the difference between the number of shares Baylor put and the maximum number of shares they could have put that year. In addition, the Baylor Put/Call Agreement contains a call option pursuant to which we have the ability to acquire all of Baylor’s ownership interest by 2024. We have the ability to choose whether to settle the purchase price for the Baylor put/call in cash or shares of our common stock.

 

The put and call arrangements described above, to the extent settled in cash, may require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow to satisfy our payment obligations in respect of such arrangements, which may reduce the amount of funds available for our operations, capital expenditures and corporate development activities. Similarly, we may be required to incur additional indebtedness to satisfy our payment obligations in respect of such arrangements, which could have important consequences to our business and operations, as described more fully below under “—Our level of indebtedness could, among other things, adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, and prevent us from meeting our obligations under the agreements relating to our indebtedness.”

 

Economic factors have affected, and may continue to impact, our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We believe broad economic factors – including high unemployment rates in some of the markets our facilities serve and instability in consumer spending – have affected our volumes and our ability to collect outstanding receivables. The United States economy remains unpredictable. If industry trends (including reductions in commercial managed care enrollment and patient decisions to postpone or cancel elective and non-emergency healthcare procedures) or general economic conditions worsen, we may not be able to sustain future profitability, and our liquidity and ability to repay our outstanding debt may be harmed.

 

Furthermore, the availability of liquidity and credit to fund the continuation and expansion of many business operations worldwide has been limited in recent years. Our ability to access the capital markets on acceptable terms may be severely restricted at a time when we would like, or need, to access those markets, which could have a negative impact on our growth plans, our flexibility to react to changing economic and business conditions, and our ability to refinance existing debt. An economic downturn or other economic conditions could also adversely affect the counterparties to our agreements, including the lenders under our credit facilities, causing them to fail to meet their obligations to us.

 

Trends affecting our actual or anticipated results may require us to record charges that would negatively impact our results of operations.

 

As a result of factors that have negatively affected our industry generally and our business specifically, we have been required to record various charges in our results of operations. Our impairment tests presume stable, improving or, in some cases, declining operating results in our hospitals, which are based on programs and initiatives being implemented that are designed to achieve the hospitals’ most recent projections. If these projections are not met, or negative trends occur that impact our future outlook, future impairments of long-lived assets and goodwill may occur, and we may incur additional restructuring charges. Future restructuring of our operating structure that changes our goodwill reporting units could also result in future impairments of our goodwill. Any such charges could negatively impact our results of operations.

 

40


 

Our level of indebtedness could, among other things, adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, and prevent us from meeting our obligations under the agreements relating to our indebtedness.

 

At December 31, 2015, we had approximately $14.4 billion of total long-term debt, as well as approximately $110 million in standby letters of credit outstanding in the aggregate, under our senior secured revolving credit facility (“Credit Agreement”) and our letter of credit facility agreement (“LC Facility”). Our Credit Agreement is collateralized by patient accounts receivable of substantially all of our domestic wholly owned acute care and specialty hospitals, and our LC Facility is guaranteed and secured by a first priority pledge of the capital stock and other ownership interests of certain of our hospital subsidiaries on an equal ranking basis with our existing senior secured notes. From time to time, we expect to engage in additional capital market, bank credit and other financing activities, depending on our needs and financing alternatives available at that time.

 

Our substantial indebtedness could have important consequences, including the following:

 

·

Our substantial indebtedness may limit our ability to adjust to changing market conditions and place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt.

 

·

We may be more vulnerable in the event of a deterioration in our business, in the healthcare industry or in the economy generally, or if federal or state governments substantially limit or reduce reimbursement under the Medicare or Medicaid programs.

 

·

Our debt service obligations reduce the amount of funds available for our operations, capital expenditures and corporate development activities, and may make it more difficult for us to satisfy our financial obligations.

 

·

Our substantial indebtedness could limit our ability to obtain additional financing to fund future capital expenditures, working capital, acquisitions or other needs.

 

·

Some of our borrowings accrue interest at variable rates, exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates.

 

Furthermore, our Credit Agreement, LC Facility and the indentures governing our outstanding notes contain, and any future debt obligations may contain, covenants that, among other things, restrict our ability to pay dividends, incur additional debt and sell assets. See —“Restrictive covenants in the agreements governing our indebtedness may adversely affect us.”

 

We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service all of our indebtedness, and we may be forced to take other actions to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness, which may not be successful.

 

Our ability to make scheduled payments on or to refinance our indebtedness depends on our financial and operating performance, which is subject to prevailing economic and competitive conditions and to financial, business and other factors beyond our control. We cannot assure you that we will maintain a level of cash flows from operating activities sufficient to permit us to pay the principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness.

 

In addition, our ability to meet our debt service obligations is dependent upon the operating results of our subsidiaries and their ability to pay dividends or make other payments or advances to us. We hold most of our assets at, and conduct most of our operations through, direct and indirect subsidiaries. Moreover, we are dependent on dividends or other intercompany transfers of funds from our subsidiaries to meet our debt service and other obligations, including payment on our outstanding debt. The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other payments or advances to us will depend on their operating results and will be subject to applicable laws and restrictions contained in agreements governing the debt of such subsidiaries. Our less than wholly owned subsidiaries may also be subject to restrictions on their ability to distribute cash to us in their financing or other agreements and, as a result, we may not be able to access their cash flows to service their respective debt obligations.

 

41


 

If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service obligations, we may be forced to reduce or delay capital expenditures, including those required for operating our existing hospitals, for integrating our historical acquisitions or for future corporate development activities. We also may be forced to sell assets or operations, seek additional capital, or restructure or refinance our indebtedness. We cannot assure you that we would be able to take any of these actions, that these actions would be successful and permit us to meet our scheduled debt service obligations, or that these actions would be permitted under the terms of our existing or future debt agreements, including our Credit Agreement, LC Facility and the indentures governing our outstanding notes.

 

Restrictive covenants in the agreements governing our indebtedness may adversely affect us.

 

Our Credit Agreement, LC Facility and the indentures governing our outstanding notes contain various covenants that, among other things, limit our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to:

 

·

incur, assume or guarantee additional indebtedness;

 

·

incur liens;

 

·

make certain investments;

 

·

provide subsidiary guarantees;

 

·

consummate asset sales;

 

·

redeem debt that is subordinated in right of payment to outstanding indebtedness;

 

·

enter into sale and lease-back transactions;

 

·

enter into transactions with affiliates; and

 

·

consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets.

 

These restrictions are subject to a number of important exceptions and qualifications.

 

In addition, so long as any obligation or commitment is outstanding under our Credit Agreement and LC Facility, the terms of such facilities require us to maintain a financial ratio relating to our ability to satisfy certain fixed expenses, including interest payments. Our ability to meet these restrictive covenants and financial ratio may be affected by events beyond our control, and we cannot assure you that we will meet those tests. These restrictions could limit our ability to obtain future financing, make acquisitions or needed capital expenditures, withstand economic downturns in our business or the economy in general, conduct operations or otherwise take advantage of business opportunities that may arise. In addition, a breach of any of these covenants could cause an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could require us to repay the indebtedness immediately. Under these conditions, we are not certain whether we would have, or be able to obtain, sufficient funds to make accelerated payments.

 

Despite current indebtedness levels, we may be able to incur substantially more debt. This could further exacerbate the risks described above.

 

We have the ability to incur additional indebtedness in the future, subject to the restrictions contained in our Credit Agreement, LC Facility and the indentures governing our outstanding notes. We may decide to incur additional secured or unsecured debt in the future to finance our operations and any judgments or settlements or for other business purposes.

 

Our Credit Agreement provides for revolving loans in an aggregate principal amount of up to $1 billion, with a $300 million subfacility for standby letters of credit. Based on our eligible receivables, approximately $995 million was available for borrowing under the Credit Agreement at December 31, 2015. Our LC Facility provides for the issuance of

42


 

standby and documentary letters of credit in an aggregate principal amount of up to $180 million (subject to increase to up to $200 million). At December 31, 2015, we had approximately $105 million of standby letters of credit outstanding under the LC Facility. If new indebtedness is added to our current debt levels, the related risks that we now face could intensify.

 

The utilization of our tax losses could be substantially limited if we experience an ownership change as defined in the Internal Revenue Code.

 

At December 31, 2015, we had federal net operating loss (“NOL”) carryforwards of approximately $1.8 billion pretax available to offset future taxable income. These NOL carryforwards will expire in the years 2024 to 2034. Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes an annual limitation on the amount of a company’s taxable income that may be offset by the NOL carryforwards if it experiences an “ownership change” as defined in Section 382 of the Code. An ownership change occurs when a company’s “five-percent shareholders” (as defined in Section 382 of the Code) collectively increase their ownership in the company by more than 50 percentage points (by value) over a rolling three-year period. (This is different from a change in beneficial ownership under applicable securities laws.) These ownership changes include purchases of common stock under share repurchase programs, a company’s offering of its stock, the purchase or sale of company stock by five-percent shareholders, or the issuance or exercise of rights to acquire company stock. While we expect to be able to realize our total NOL carryforwards prior to their expiration, if an ownership change occurs, our ability to use the NOL carryforwards to offset future taxable income will be subject to an annual limitation and will depend on the amount of taxable income we generate in future periods. There is no assurance that we will be able to fully utilize the NOL carryforwards. Furthermore, we could be required to record a valuation allowance related to the amount of the NOL carryforwards that may not be realized, which could adversely impact our results of operations.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

 

The disclosure required under this Item is included in Item 1, Business, of Part I of this report.

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

Because we provide healthcare services in a highly regulated industry, we have been and expect to continue to be party to various lawsuits, claims and regulatory investigations from time to time. For information regarding material pending legal proceedings in which we are involved, see Note 15 to our Consolidated Financial Statements, which is incorporated by reference.

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

 

 

 

43


 

PART II.

 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

Common Stock. Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “THC.” The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the high and low sales prices per share of our common stock on the NYSE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

High

    

 

Low

 

Year Ended December 31, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter

 

$

52.69

 

$

41.47

 

Second Quarter

 

 

59.21

 

 

46.33

 

Third Quarter

 

 

60.93

 

 

35.76

 

Fourth Quarter

 

 

39.75

 

 

26.60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter

 

$

48.70

 

$

38.40

 

Second Quarter

 

 

50.25

 

 

37.95

 

Third Quarter

 

 

63.61

 

 

44.20

 

Fourth Quarter

 

 

59.65

 

 

46.01

 

 

On February 12, 2016, the last reported sales price of our common stock on the NYSE composite tape was $24.00 per share. As of that date, there were 4,414 holders of record of our common stock. Our transfer agent and registrar is Computershare. Shareholders with questions regarding their stock certificates, including inquiries related to exchanging or replacing certificates or changing an address, should contact the transfer agent at (866) 229-8416.

 

Cash Dividends on Common Stock. We have not paid cash dividends on our common stock since the first quarter of fiscal 1994. We currently intend to retain future earnings, if any, for the operation and development of our business and, accordingly, do not currently intend to pay any cash dividends on our common stock. Our board of directors will evaluate our future earnings, results of operations, financial condition and capital requirements in determining whether to pay any cash dividends in the future. Our senior secured revolving credit agreement and our letter of credit facility agreement contain provisions that limit the payment of cash dividends on our common stock if we do not meet certain financial ratios.

 

Equity Compensation. Refer to Item 12, Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters, of Part III of this report for information regarding securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans.

 

Stock Performance Graph. The following graph shows the cumulative, five-year total return for our common stock compared to three indices, each of which includes us. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index includes 500 companies representing all major industries. The Standard & Poor’s Health Care Composite Index is a group of 56 companies involved in a variety of healthcare-related businesses. Because the Standard & Poor’s Health Care Composite Index is heavily weighted by pharmaceutical and medical device companies, we believe that at times it may be less useful than the Hospital Management Peer Group Index included below. We compiled this Peer Group Index by selecting publicly traded companies that have as their primary business the management of acute care hospitals and that have been in business for all five of the years shown. These companies are: Community Health Systems, Inc. (CYH), Tenet Healthcare Corporation (THC) and Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS).

 

44


 

Performance data assumes that $100.00 was invested on December 31, 2010 in our common stock and each of the indices. The data assumes the reinvestment of all cash dividends and the cash value of other distributions. Stock price performance shown in the graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

 

COMPARISON OF FIVE-YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN

 

Picture 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

12/10

   

12/11

   

12/12

   

12/13

   

12/14

   

12/15

 

Tenet Healthcare Corporation

 

$

100.00 

 

$

76.68 

 

$

121.34 

 

$

157.40 

 

$

189.35 

 

$

113.23 

 

S&P 500

 

$

100.00 

 

$

102.11 

 

$

118.45 

 

$

156.82 

 

$

178.29 

 

$

180.75 

 

S&P Health Care

 

$

100.00 

 

$

112.73 

 

$

132.90 

 

$

188.00 

 

$

235.63 

 

$

251.87 

 

Peer Group

 

$

100.00 

 

$

71.77 

 

$

105.66 

 

$

153.32 

 

$

203.42 

 

$

161.65 

 

 

Repurchase of Common Stock. In November 2015, we announced that our board of directors had authorized the repurchase of up to $500 million of our common stock through a share repurchase program that expires in December 2016.  Under the program, shares may be purchased in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions in a manner consistent with applicable securities laws and regulations. The program may be suspended for periods or discontinued at any time. The timing and amount of repurchase transactions will be based on an evaluation of market conditions, share purchase prices, the timing of divestiture proceeds and other factors. Purchases during the year ended December 31, 2015 are shown in the table in Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements, which table is incorporated by reference.

45


 

 

 

 

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

OPERATING RESULTS

 

The following tables present selected consolidated financial data for Tenet Healthcare Corporation and its wholly owned and majority-owned subsidiaries for the years ended December 31, 2011 through 2015.  Effective June  16,  2015, we completed the transaction that combined our freestanding ambulatory surgery and imaging center assets with the short-stay surgical facility assets of United Surgical Partners International, Inc. (“USPI”) into our new USPI joint venture. The table below includes USPI results in the 2015 column for the post-acquisition period only. We acquired Vanguard Health Systems, Inc. (“Vanguard”) on October 1, 2013. The 2013 columns in the tables below include results of operations for Vanguard and its consolidated subsidiaries for the three months ended December 31 2013 only. All amounts related to shares, share prices and earnings per share for periods ending prior to October 11, 2012 have been restated to give retrospective presentation for the one-for-four reverse stock split we announced on October 1, 2012. The tables should be read in conjunction with Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and our Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto included in this report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

 

    

2015

    

2014

    

2013

    

2012

    

2011

 

 

 

(In Millions, Except Per-Share Amounts)

 

Net operating revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net operating revenues before provision for doubtful accounts

 

$

20,111

 

$

17,908

 

$

12,059

 

$

9,896

 

$

9,363

 

Less: Provision for doubtful accounts

 

 

1,477

 

 

1,305

 

 

972

 

 

785

 

 

717

 

Net operating revenues

 

 

18,634

 

 

16,603

 

 

11,087

 

 

9,111

 

 

8,646

 

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates

 

 

99

 

 

12

 

 

15

 

 

8

 

 

8

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salaries, wages and benefits

 

 

9,011

 

 

8,023

 

 

5,371

 

 

4,257

 

 

4,015

 

Supplies

 

 

2,963

 

 

2,630

 

 

1,784

 

 

1,552

 

 

1,548

 

Other operating expenses, net