Tenet's next play for ASC profitability's 'tremendous opportunity'  

The ambulatory growth of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, parent company of ASC giant United Surgical Partners International, is surging, and the company has big plans for the future. 

"We see a tremendous opportunity with our ambulatory platform," CEO Saum Sutaria, MD, said, speaking May 14 at the Bank of America Securities 2024 Health Care Conference. "We're in this unique space of innovation and ambulatory care growth, which creates a significant amount of value and savings for the system, but it's also unique in the sense that it's value-based care that actually creates value for shareholders.

As of 2024, USPI has 512 ASCs and 25 surgical hospitals spanning 38 states in its portfolio, making it the largest ASC chain in the U.S. The company is investing $450 million into growing its ambulatory business in 2024 and acquired 45 ASCs, while selling nine hospitals for proceeds of $4 billion. 

As the company bolsters its ambulatory pipeline, its acute care hospital portfolio is becoming "more focused" and its physician platform is "growing and building," Dr. Sutaria added. 

"We're really happy with the pipeline that we see looking forward. There are significant numbers of opportunities and high quality assets," Dr. Sutaria said, adding that there are still de novo projects in the works that will open over the next couple of years.

Last year saw record breaking growth in the ambulatory segment, which will likely shift to a more steady growth at USPI as COVID-19 recovery has leveled, Dr. Sutaria said. Tenet is focused on acuity and net revenue per case as a marker for growth, which is "where the value is created for the system."

Orthopedics is the number one growth opportunity for Tenet, but the company is also innovating in areas like urology and robotics, with more than 100 robotics programs in ASCs. 

"What we're chasing, same as in the ASC business and in the acute care business, is a high-acuity emergent and elective platform built around specialists that drive profitability," Dr. Sutaria said. 

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