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J Healthc Manag. 2012 Sep-Oct;57(5):342-56; discussion 357.

The impact of HCA's 2006 leveraged buyout on hospital performance.

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Department of Health Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA.


Leveraged buyout (LBO) arrangements are a reorganization strategy whereby a firm assumes a substantial amount of debt to buy back its publicly held stock to become privately held. LBOs offer a firm several advantages and have the potential to increase efficiency. In the past 20 years, several healthcare firms have engaged in LBOs, but the literature on performance changes in healthcare organizations as a result of an LBO is limited. In this article, we report on a study that examined the performance of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) hospitals before and after the LBO that was initiated in 2006. We used data from the Medicare Hospital Cost Report Information System and analyzed data from 130 HCA hospitals and 490 comparison hospitals. Findings show that HCA hospitals reduced expenses and their number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) relative to local competitor hospitals. HCA hospitals' cash-flow-margin ratio was substantially higher when adjusted for its local competing hospitals at the beginning of the LBO as well as at end of the LBO. When compared to local hospitals, HCA hospitals had a significant decrease in their capital investment in fixed assets from 2006 to 2009. These findings underscore the effectiveness of HCA's management strategies to repay debt and increase the value of the company, and they are informative for healthcare firms and their managers who are considering LBOs.

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