NASHVILLE – Some of the nation’s foremost health care analysts told Nashville’s health care community that, despite the backdrop of an uncertain economy, our city’s top industry may see opportunities in 2009.

A Nashville Health Care Council panel discussion, Wall Street’s View on Prospects for the Health Care Industry, brought more than 450 executives together to hear trends and forecasts in 2009 for Nashville’s $45 billion health care industry.

Panelists included Thomas Carroll, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets; Gary Lieberman, managing director at Stanford Group Company; Robert Mains, senior health care equity research analyst at Morgan Keegan (parent of Shattuck Hammond Partners); John Ransom, managing director, health care equity research for Raymond James & Associates, and A.J. Rice, senior health care services analyst at Pomeroy Research (provider for Soleil Securities). The program was moderated by Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for health affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

A consistent theme among the panelists was the impact of health care reform, along with the policy and regulatory agenda of the nation’s newly-elected administration, including the economic stimulus package, the reauthorization and expansion of the State-
Children’s Health Insurance Program and changes to Medicaid and Medicare eligibility and payment policies.

Actions in Washington will create opportunities for some in 2009. Speaking of the hospital sector, Rice said: “We’re in the midst of a time where it is good to have a high number of compatriots in your sector that are not-for-profit organizations. That is something that certainly seems to be valued by our current Democratic administration.”

Pointing to the managed care sector, analyst Carroll told attendees: “Compared to last year, we think that 2009 holds the potential to be a better year for managed care companies as the government will become a much larger customer for these organizations.”

However, the year ahead does pose a number of challenges for the health care industry, particularly as it relates to financing. Financing issues such as debt levels, the ability torefinance existing debt on favorable terms, and the ability to access capital remain
significant concerns among panelists for the 2009 year.

While each panelist discussed different sectors of the health care industry, they all agreed on one thing: Nashville industry leaders must engage in the health reform debate and emphasize their innovation, quality and positive outcomes.

The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, 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 on the Council, please visit www.healthcarecouncil.com.