NASHVILLE – Despite uncertainty about financial markets and health care discussions in Washington, experts agree that the health care services industry is well-positioned for growth and will play a major role in the reform of health care delivery in the United States going forward.
“I think turmoil of any kind always creates opportunity and in this particular situation, health care services are being affected less than many other sectors,” said Tom Cigarran, chairman of Healthways, Inc. and the Nashville Health Care Council. Cigarran served as moderator for the Nashville Health Care Council’s annual “Financing the Deal” forum, which drew 350 health care executives to hear from some of the country’s leading private equity firms.
Jim Elrod, managing director with Vestar Capital Partners said health care services are “here to stay” and will continue to attract capital in all forms.
Though securing funding has its challenges in today’s economic climate, Elrod said, “if you’ve got a terrific management team, with a great company and a great idea, there’s going to be plenty of capital available. I’m very upbeat about the opportunities in health care services.”
Duncan Dashiff, managing director with Shattuck Hammond, said “the filter has been turned up in a pretty dramatic way in terms of the caliber of the deals that are getting funded.”
Highly leveraged deals are not getting done in the current economic environment, experts agreed, but the good news is that opportunities remain and Nashville’s health care services sector is going to continue to grow.
“The government is going to spend money in health care, more units of service are going to be provided, more things are going to be covered, more conditions, and the companies that are well managed are going to grow and succeed,” said Bryan Cressey, partner with Cressey & Company.
“We’re going to employ more people and the technologies are going to be part of the solution,” he added. “Software and technology are going to allow care to be provided more efficiently, and I believe the free market system in America will bring additional efficiency to the health care system.”
“My message to anybody who’s thinking about the health care services business,” said Bill Stitt, managing director with Deutsche Bank Securities, “is that it’s not going away, the need is going to continue to be strong, and it’s going to be up to the operators to find out ways to take advantage and capitalize on the changes that we’re going to be seeing in this administration.”
The Nashville Health Care Council is an association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. For more information, please visit www.healthcarecouncil.com.