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Community Health Plummets, Repeatedly Hits Circuit Breakers Following Lawsuit From Tenet Claiming Patient Overbilling

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Another day, another circuit breaker triggered. But this time not in some cheap Chinese fraud, but in "legit" hospital company Community Health Services, which is plummeting following the announcement of a lawsuit filed by Tenet "claiming the rival hospital operator improperly
admitted patients to overbill insurers including Medicare." The stock has now been halted not once... not twice... but three times. And every time it is opened, freefall resumes. The chart says it all: and yes, not even the brilliant SEC contraption of circuit breakers can't do much if anything to prevent reality finally meeting anti-gravity.

From Reuters:

Shares of Community Health were down 25 percent at $30.22 on Monday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. Tenet Healthcare shares were down 11.2 percent at $6.70.

The complaint, filed in U.S District Court in Dallas, accuses Community Health of admitting patients to its hospitals for financial reasons who had no clinical need to be admitted, rather than placing the patients under observation.

"CHS's practice of greatly underusing observation status and consequently overusing inpatient admission status has served to overstate its growth statistics, revenues and profits and has created a substantial undisclosed financial and legal liability to the federal government, numerous state governments, private insurance companies and patients," the lawsuit states.

Tenet rejected Community Health's $3.3 billion takeover offer in December, saying it undervalued the company. The $6-a-share cash-and-stock offer represented a 40 percent premium to Tenet's share price at the time.

And yes Tenet is plunging too on concerns the entire space is tainted, and any possible THC bid is gonzo.

 

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Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:49 | 1157716 ZackAttack
ZackAttack's picture

If you eliminated Medicare fraud, you'd probably knock 20% off US GDP.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:54 | 1157740 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

In USSA, health care kills YOU!

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:03 | 1157776 Mike2756
Mike2756's picture

Let's just kill Medicare.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 12:09 | 1157993 ZackAttack
ZackAttack's picture

Yep... Insurance seems to be responsible for inflating any industry it touches.

 

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 08:33 | 1161085 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Just a corollary to the "Other People's Money" Hypothesis...like securitization and/or leverage whenever gamblers get access to OPM, thar bubbles be.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:06 | 1157782 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I think that's being generous...  the problem is that the entire medical industry benefits from the practice...  if doctor X is found to be milking what is the hospital likely to do when it is making a cut?

Further, if medicare/medicaid auditors review the practices and conclude that fraud is not occurring or only require a 10% putback, then what is likely to happen in the future?

What no one wants to talk about in the healthcare reform debate is that medical professionals of all types (including my family members) must take large pay cuts given the unsustainability of the system...  presuming they will even have a job...  there will be a demand for their services, but little/no ability to pay them for their services...

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:18 | 1157831 DonnieD
DonnieD's picture

Agreed. I always felt like the insurance companies were straw men in the healthcare debate. They charge a lot and everyone hates dealing with them so they are easy to pick on. But behind the scenes, providers and suppliers are making a ton of money and the only way they get away with it is because they can get insurance companies to raise premiums to pay for their ever more expensive products and services. The consumer and government keeping picking up the ever larger tab while more and more money flows through the industry. It's a very complex industry which makes change very difficult but I think it's coming sooner rather than later.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:32 | 1157878 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

It's all a racket, really.  The insurance companies play their role... which is primarily to keep consumers uninformed as to the real cost of X, Y or Z.  Insurance companies are, more or less, worthless overhead.  The do not provide for healthcare or well care or research or anything to improve the value of what it is that we receive.  They are bureaucratic (or parasitic) overhead... nothing more, nothing less.  But I do agree... they are not the beginning, middle and end to our current healthcare challenges.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:34 | 1157879 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

It's all a racket, really.  The insurance companies play their role... which is primarily to keep consumers uninformed as to the real cost of X, Y or Z.  Insurance companies are, more or less, worthless overhead.  The do not provide for healthcare or well care or research or anything to improve the value of what it is that we receive.  They are bureaucratic (or parasitic) overhead... nothing more, nothing less.  But I do agree... they are not the beginning, middle and end to our current healthcare challenges.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:43 | 1157913 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Insurance companies allow medical professionals to obfuscate their transgressions.  Ultimately, any action by the government or insurance professionals to curb unwanted practices or costs are merely ex post facto police actions.  In other words, they are reactive and, thus, perpetually one step behind medical professionals.  If machine X has been cut back to $Y/hr. by insurance company Z, then we'll substitute X with A (similar, but newer model) and keep billing at our desired rate.  Further, a significant amount of decisions are within the reasonable discretion of medical professionals (I wonder which way they are going to lean given their incentives).  The possibilities are endless and the fact that no material changes have occurred is basically a testament.

I'm really not sure how to fix it...  but so long as inflation is allowed to remain rampant, I do not think anyone (especially governmental workers, whether de jure or de facto) is going to be willing to take a pay cut...

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:49 | 1157717 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:54 | 1157732 Loco Vida
Loco Vida's picture

those 2 aspirin will be billed at 150 bucks today

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:55 | 1157751 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Or due to rampant overbilling fraud, $1,500.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:15 | 1157812 Dr. Kenneth Noi...
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's picture

And you better get a script if you want to use your HSA to buy them..

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:52 | 1157726 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Meanwhile, Abercrombie and Fitch and JC Penney continue their relentless climb.

Money will simply leave the blown up stocks, and a desperate attempt will be made to "make it all back" by chasing any mo-mo queen which has a chart that appears to be "working".

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:53 | 1157954 Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh's picture

Are you still long Estee Lauder...looks like it may be putting in an island reversal top...but with a P/E of 31 who cares since there is a lot of "value".

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:54 | 1157737 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Hilarious.

Some serious heatmapping of some low grade junkers will be necessary to make up for this bomb out.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:56 | 1157746 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Wow thanks for posting the same chart the article posts.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:00 | 1157758 Larry Darrell
Larry Darrell's picture

SheepDog

I know you hold a special disdain for Robo, but his post does give that one added effect.  The second chart shows the volume.

And forgive me if it seems cruel, but I find it

ABSOLUTELY FUCKING HILARIOUS

to see in pure, unadulterated picture form that in this "market" any spike in volume only has one outcome for these POS stocks -- cliffdiving.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:11 | 1157797 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

People holding this arent having a very happy market morning for sure. 

And yes it does show the fragile rice paper nature of this market, in the reason given of 'overbilling' for admitting patients instead of placing them on observation? Seems like just a subjective doctor call and if the patient agrees...well I dont see what the big deal is really. Doctors call. 

Sure shows how weak and skittish things really are though.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:11 | 1157795 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Dr. = human mechanics

Hospital = human repair shop

Health Insurance = human asset productivity insurance

Humans = capital resources for the profit of the glorious capitalists

Capitalists = overlords who justify brutal power based on ill-gotten gains through means of unmerited means: illegal, inheritance, luck

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:44 | 1157925 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

You are definitely your namesake.

An apologist and supporter of stalin and.communism seems to fit you well.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:40 | 1157898 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Be careful about the government agenda. I do some work in medicare dependent rural hospitals. While the care may be gold.plated, it is hardly fraud. The government is trying really hard to expand the definitions of fraud, abuse, and overbilling, while drastically narrowing the definition of medically necessary care.

When the government has to drastically cut back on medicare spending, it still wants to say everyone gets all medically necessary care. The 20 to 50 percent that was cut back? Well...all that care was fraud, abuse, medically unnecessary, and overbilling.

George Orwell was prescient in many ways.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:41 | 1157905 Hubbs
Hubbs's picture

To all those CEOs of Hospital Chains, HMOs ,etc...

You have been engaged in an arms race to have the best equipment, biggest buildings, and latest and greatest technology, especially if it has "laser" or "robotic" to the name, to market your medical services.

You have been justifying all this expenditure because "the baby boomers are going to require more health care than we can currently provide."

REALITY: It is not the aging of the baby boomers that will drive UP the demand for health care, rather it is the lack of money to pay for it that will effectively drive DOWN the demand, and therefore the need for all this high tech gadgetry and over building.

 

And guess what? The old argument that we doctors have to order more tests to cover our butts against medical malpractice?  Well , the hospitals and their gadget makers don't complain, because that simply means they can charge more...providing of course the patient is insured. Those consultants can get in on the act too. In fact, a whole pseudo-bureaucracy has been  built around the health care system. To that end, I prophesize, and revisit, the 4 horsemen (bubbles) of the apocalypse:

 

1.) The internet stock bubble: people bought stock they could not afford, through margin, home equity loans etc.

 

2.) The real estate bubble: homes they could not afford.

 

3.) The education bubble: Chasing higher tuition costs and buying college education through school loans that  can not be paid back, and /or degrees that have no ROI.

4.) The health care bubble: people buying (thanks to govt Medicare, Medicaid, and other govt paid for health care which comprises 50% of the health care spending) more health care than they or our govt can afford.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:48 | 1157932 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Healthcare is definitely a bubble if you.consider the NHS as a baseline.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:43 | 1157906 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

The Bernank has launch MORP, or the 'Medical Overbilling Relief Program,' by which he is going to ensure that all overcharges get paid off in full because this represents a systemic threat to the economy, in his opinion.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:49 | 1157943 Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh's picture

Fortunately algorithmic trading had no effect on pummeling this stock into the ground as if it was no longer a going concern...the full-fledged casino continues unabated after all those black boxes provide so much "liquidity".

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:51 | 1157944 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

Gotta pay off those banksters loans and mers cmbs mortgages, ya know. (oh wait you don't.) So is the federal reserve and the big banks complicit? Sure are.  Legally. Sure not.  'This is ourselves....under pressure.'

Another TEPCO type situation, where paying debts was more important than actually running the business correctly.

Oh yes, those guilty of the crimes should do the time, but are the ones that put them into this position to be held accountable in their own way as well? 

Glass-Steagall

 

 

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 14:06 | 1158387 DoctoRx
DoctoRx's picture

Hilarious that it is Tenet, of all companies, accusing CYH of crookedness.  Because Tenet has such a clean past . . . (/sarc of course (for those not watching THC a decade ago)

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 14:41 | 1158482 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

And the lawsuit attacking their suitor / competitor is really working out well for THC shareholders (-14% today).  

Excellent trial lawyer strategy -- lets everyone sue each other into oblivion.   

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 15:44 | 1158731 nah
nah's picture

doctors are the healthcare system... all the buttons and colored pieces of paper otherwise is just fancy

.

a real doctor can probably figure out 99% of the populations healthcare history onesy twoesy in 30 seconds just by talkin

.

big business figured out how to sell doctor worship

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 19:23 | 1159583 Helix6
Helix6's picture

Yep.  What Zackman said

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 19:28 | 1159599 Helix6
Helix6's picture

The real issue is 3rd party payers.  As soon as a 3rd party enters, the fundamental cost control of a doctor and patient discussing courses of treatment and their cost evaporates into a fetid cloud of grossly oversized paperwork, abuse, and fraud.  If the US wants a government-sponsored health care program, the only workable alternatives are government-run health care, or a voucher system.  Any system involving a 3rd party is doomed to inefficiency and abuse.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 22:47 | 1160225 luckly123
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Tue, 04/12/2011 - 01:10 | 1160626 HungrySeagull
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