HOSPITALS: Soothing Kool-Aid Served at Tenet Shareholder Meeting, by MATT QUINN

The LA Times reports that, in opposition to last year’s meeting, the mood was “calm” at Tenet’s annual shareholder meeting.

There were so few issues to discuss that, in sharp contract to last year’s “raucous showdown” with shareholders, Tenet Chairman Edward Kangas adjourned the meeting in just under an hour after answering only two questions. It seems that Tenet’s leadership is claiming that is has solved all of the company’s myriad problems in the nine months since the last meeting:

    “We were struggling in the aftermath of the company’s failed pricing strategy and its many other problems,” said Trevor Fetter, who at the time had been acting chief executive for less than two months. “It’s remarkable isn’t it?…There were a lot of people angry about a lot of things, and we, one by one, checked things off the list.”

So…apart from two perfunctory questions (one about margins in comparison to HCA and another about the stock price), all of Tenet’s problems have been “checked off the list”.

Revenue to replace improper Medicare billing scheme – solved.

Culture of executive entitlement – solved.

Huge losses – solved.

New federal investigations – solved.

Hospital divestiture – solved

Allegations of unnecessary heart procedures – solved

I could go on, but what’s the point. Everything is hunky-dory. (Reading from “talking points”:) Problems all in past; turning corner; future bright. And – evidently – shareholders at the meeting were buying it. Or maybe they were just high at the time.

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