Private-equity investments were out for SSM Health Care after its investment committee considered risks to liquidity after the upheaval to portfolios in 2009 and the prior year, said Kris Zimmer, senior vice president of finance for SSM Health Care, after his remarks for the Healthcare Financial Management Association Annual National Institute in Orlando, Fla. Zimmer said credit analysts' increased interest in hospitals' available cash to pay off short-term bonds and heightened awareness of liquidity prompted the committee's concerns with private-equity investments.
Avoid overreaction in crisis, exec says
SSM Health Care in 2010 began a significant review of its portfolio, Zimmer said. Turmoil that sharply drained cash from health system balance sheets did not prompt the portfolio review, he said. Nonetheless, Zimmer told attendees the credit crisis' hit to balance sheets could not be ignored and could happen again. The review of SSM Health Care's assets allowed the system to review its risk.
One of the worst decisions can be to overreact during a disruption, he said. “Staying the course is usually the hardest decision to make,” Zimmer told the crowd.
SSM Health Care, based in St. Louis with 14 hospitals in four states, did not exit its more volatile investments for the safety of cash during the low point of the credit upheaval, a decision that allowed the system to profit from the markets' rebound, he said after the presentation. SSM Health Care did not overreact.
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