Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Future of Healthcare: Deal Making Millionaires & Hospital Closures


Distinguished speaker Denny Shelton will deliver the Community Lectureship in the Humanities at ASU on September 6th. The past CEO of Triad Hospitals will talk on "The Future of Healthcare". If he's the example, the future involves investment deals making millionaires out of insiders.

Triad sold out to Community Health Systems for $54 per share. Between his stock holdings and stock option rights Denny pocketed the big money. According to SEC filings, Mr. Shelton owned over 416,000 shares of Triad. This converts to over $22.5 million. He had the right to purchase another 877,000 shares via option grants. His net from exercising those amounted to another $20 million.

Denny's gain on the sale of his company amounted to over $42 million. How much did the Bush capital gains tax cut save him? From his stock options alone, Mr. Shelton pocketed an extra $1,000,000. Depending on the cost basis of his owned shares, Denny likely save another $500,000 to $750,000. I wonder if any of the 200,000 kids thrown off Texas Children's Health Insurance the last few years could have used that $1.5 to $1.75 million to pay their health care bills? Denny will have time to ponder the question in his retirement, funded by the company at $7.6 million. (Between May 8th and May 29th, Denny got an additional $3 million worth of stock and $500,000 added to his retirement. Not bad for less than a month's work.)

Fellow board member and health economist, Dr. Uwe Reinhardt also made millions off the Triad sale to Community Health Systems. The policy advisor to state and federal governments put himself in a sweet spot to benefit financially. But don't worry, Uwe has two more health care board positions to milk.

As for Community Health Systems, they see a different future than Denny. The company is dismantling Triad's for-profit joint ventures with nonprofit community hospitals. Leaving hospitals to struggle isn't new for either company. In 2004 Triad backed out of their hospital in Terrell, Texas under Denny's command. Earlier this year closure loomed for that ex-Triad facility. In yet another deal, the facility became Renaissance Hospital-Terrell.

It seems there are numerous crystal balls around. The common ground is making and breaking deals. Consider where many of the top 100 health care leaders in 2003 are today? Numbers 10 and 68 (mentioned above) are like many of their counterparts, swimming in ka-ching. So where are clinicians and patients in all this? Nowhere to be seen...