by Nashville Health Care Council | Feb 01, 2012

NASHVILLE – A panel of leading health care research analysts told a packed house of nearly 600 health care executives at the Nashville Health Care Council’s annual panel discussion, Wall Street’s View on Prospects for the Health Care Industry, that there is optimism for Nashville’s leading health care industry in 2012, with a promising outlook for deal-making in the strongly entrepreneurial city.

In contrast to the European debt crisis and roller-coaster U.S. market environment in late 2011, panelists see a turnaround in early 2012, with stock and credit markets much more stable, instilling confidence in investors who are ready to deploy capital. See below for video of industry predictions.

Today’s panel was moderated by current board member and former Council Chairman Wayne Smith, chairman, president and CEO, Community Health Systems; and included panelists Adam Feinstein, managing director, Barclays Capital; Darren Lehrich, managing director, Deutsche Bank Securities; Frank Morgan, managing director, RBC Capital Markets; Whit Mayo, senior research analyst, Robert W. Baird & Company; and A.J. Rice, senior financial analyst, Susquehanna Financial Group.

The panel represented diverse sector coverage including hospitals and ambulatory services, medical devices and long-term care. “Though some in health care will proceed cautiously while regulations are defined in an election year,” said Lehrich, “we expect to see a good amount of activity.”

“Nashville is unique from anywhere else in the country as the number one place for health care companies to grow and prosper,” Smith said. “As home to 17 publicly traded health care companies, the region has become known for its industry expertise and the resources to build successful companies.”

Rice agreed that there will be growth in a number of health care industry niches, and added “that expectations are low because of the soft economy and government uncertainty, but we think the surprise for this year, if any, is likely to be a positive one.”

Some of the largest transactions in the U.S. last year came from the health care sector, and panelists see this continuing. “M&A activity is seen as a good growth strategy, and the need and desire for growth is there after a slow end to 2011,” said Feinstein.

“Most interesting to us will be watching many key providers move closer towards their vision of what is an integrated care model,” said Mayo. “We think large, well-established systems that are the must-have in payer networks sit in an advantageous situation with regards to this developing ecosystem.”

“The outlook for most post acute sectors is a mixed message. While volumes will likely be strong, we expect to see pressure on reimbursements,” Morgan said.”

As part of the Council’s mission to further establish Nashville as the nation’s health care industry capital, the organization hosts educational programs monthly to provide executives with timely information on key operational and policy challenges.

“Home to an unparalleled diversity of health care companies, Nashville remains a one-of-a-kind center of innovation in the U.S., with a worldwide impact on the industry landscape,” said Council President Caroline Young. “Our executives continue to be national leaders in setting trends and implementing industry improvements that are later seen across the country. Wall Street continually looks to Nashville’s health care leaders for industry insight.”

About the Nashville Health Care Council
The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an affiliate 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. Worldwide, Nashville’s health care industry generates over 400,000 jobs and more than $70 billion in annual revenue, and is Nashville’s largest and fastest growing employer. For more information on the Council, please visit www.healthcarecouncil.com.

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Photo credit: (c) 2012, Harry Butler, Nashville.