Universal Health Services expects no major fallout from a BuzzFeed investigative story that caused a 12% drop in the provider's stock prices on the day it published, Universal Health CFO Steve Filton told analysts Thursday.
The story claims UHS routinely admitted psychiatric patients and kept them longer than necessary to milk insurance.
Filton, who was scheduled weeks ago to speak at the Citi 2016 Global Healthcare Conference, used the opportunity to refute the story. He said it relies on anecdotes that are belied by company data showing that lengths-of-stays at UHS facilities are solidly middle-of-the-pack by industry standards.
And Filton particularly questioned implications that UHS clinicians could unilaterally keep patients when insurers and payers first approve admissions and then approve or deny stay extensions based on clinical reports.
Filton said that he heard from colleagues that the story did not reflect an in-depth “understanding” of how behavioral-health facilities must operate in a regulated environment.
UHS is the nation's largest provider of behavioral-health services. It generates about two-thirds of its revenue from behavioral health and one-third from its acute-care hospitals.
The King of Prussia, Penn.-based company posted net profit of $152 million and revenue of $2.4 billion in the third quarter of this year.
Filton said he expected no drop-off of patient referrals from physicians and clinicians as a result of the story.
The company used the battering in the market Wednesday to buy back shares at reduced prices, Filton said.
UHS's share price rebounded $1.12 Thursday, or 1%, to close at $112.48.