Sound Physicians named Jeff Alter as the physician group’s new CEO, succeeding founder Dr. Robert Bessler.
Alter, who joined Sound Physicians on Tuesday, previously led primary, specialty and urgent care provider Summit Health-CityMD. He left the company after it was acquired by Walgreens Boots Alliance subsidiary VillageMD in January for $8.9 billion.
Tacoma, Washington-based Sound Physicians’ more than 4,000 doctors specialize in emergency medicine, critical care and anesthesia and practice at more than 400 hospitals across 45 states. Sound Physicians is partially owned by UnitedHealth Group’s Optum Health, which jointly purchased the group with private equity firm Summit Partners in a $2.2 billion deal completed in 2018.
“The group's patient-centric approach, commitment to physician leadership and thought leadership in value-based care make Sound a destination of choice for clinicians and a partner of choice for hospitals,” Alter said in a news release issued late Wednesday.
Bessler, who founded the company in 2001, will remain on Sound Physicians’ board.
In August, S&P Global Ratings downgraded Sound Physicians’ credit rating from B- to CCC, citing the company’s “weak financial performance and cash flow, very high leverage and low trading levels.” The ratings agency said that the company hired a financial advisory firm. Sound Physicians did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the ratings agency's report.
Moody’s Investors Service in October downgraded Sound Physicians’ credit rating from B3 to Caa2 because of declining cash flow and high long-term debt levels, among other factors, the ratings agency said. Moody’s, which said that Sound Physicians recorded $1.6 billion in revenue in 2021, also noted the looming revenue threat to hospital staffing companies stemming from the No Surprises Act, a heavily litigated 2021 law designed to rein in out-of-network billing.