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UMC parent company up for sale?

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The actions regarding employees benefits has led to speculation as to whether HMA, and therefore UMC along with the parent companys other hospitals, might be up for sale. The possibility of a sale has been fueled by comments in financial circles that Community Health Systems of Franklin might be interested in HMA, as noted in an article in the Nashville daily newspaper on Sunday.


That article noted that HMAs shares have risen since the final week of May, attributed in part to the companys chief executive officers announcement that he is planning to retire next month.


HMA, along with other hospital chains, has seen a decline in the number of patients, but the article noted that HMA has fared worse and cited a recent report from CBS 60 Minutes about a federal investigation into the companys billing and admission procedures as having a negative effect.


For its part, HMA officials have reportedly told the CEOs of its 71 hospitals not to comment on the matter.


We dont comment on rumors or speculation, said Jera Sangworn of UMCs Marketing Department.


Regarding employees benefits, Sangworn released a statement from HMA which said the following: University Medical Center is proud of the history of healthcare services provided over the past 34 years in Middle Tennessee. Our hospital has much to offer, in part because we have invested in services and technology but more importantly, because we have such great people delivering the care. With this in mind, we were deeply disappointed when our nations elected officials failed to achieve a balanced budget resulting in sequestration. As a result, hospitals throughout the country, including ours, are seeing reduced payment for services while the cost of care continues to increase.


It is critical we respond to the declining reimbursement so we can provide not only the highest quality care, but also the most efficient care for generations to come. As a result we have been forced to tighten some employee benefits. We are proud of the dedication our Associates display in providing high quality care for our patients and deeply regret having to take these steps, but the federal spending cuts leave us no choice. During 2013, a study sponsored by The American Hospital Association predicted that the direct negative employment impact is estimated to be more nearly 212,000 jobs and we are working hard to avoid any additional job losses. We are very disappointed in the failure by our nations elected officials to pass a budget a failure which resulted in the sequester and urge them to take action to repair the damage they have done by passing a responsible budget.


In the meantime, HMAs board of directors is expected to name a new CEO for the company.HMA, according to the 60 Minutes report, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.


The company has denied any wrongdoing and is cooperating with the investigation.


Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com.

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