Amid Brookdale Home Health Deal, HCA Healthcare Shows Interest in Behavioral Opportunities

HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA) — a publicly traded health system with national scale — could be in the market for behavioral health assets. 

Headquartered in Nashville, HCA operates more than 2,000 care sites across 21 states and the United Kingdom. Those locations include surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, diagnostic and imaging centers, walk-in clinics and physician clinics.

HCA also bills itself as one of the largest acute care psychiatric providers in the U.S, with more than 70 inpatient locations and counting. On top of that, behavioral health is one of its fastest growing service lines, according to the company’s website.


And after coming off a strong 2020, from which HCA emerged in a better financial position than the previous year, it seems the pace of that growth could pick up even faster. 

In the company’s Q4 and year-end 2020 earning call, CEO Sam Hazen said HCA’s strong performance last year gives it “sufficient capital resources” to put toward its growth and capital deployment plans, while “still maintaining ample balance sheet capacity to use for other strategic opportunities that may develop, including acquisitions.”

Hazen went on to identify behavioral health as one of the high growth areas in which the company is interested. Specifically, he said HCA sees the opportunity to add services to supplement its current offerings. 


“A lot of our patients have behavioral health needs, many of which we can take care of,” Hazen said during the Feb. 2 call. “But there are opportunities for us to add programs and add capacity in some markets to deal with some of the mental health challenges that exist across the country.”

Hazen made those comments just weeks before HCA announced that it has agreed to purchase a 80% stake in Brookdale Senior Living’s (NYSE: BKD) home health, hospice and outpatient therapy service line, Brookdale Health Care Services (BHS). 

The $400 million deal suggests that HCA is ready and willing to make transactions in hot areas of health care that will complement its current service offerings. However, HCA leaders stopped short of specifically confirming whether they’d consider similar deals in behavioral health. 

When Behavioral Health Business reached out to HCA for comment, a spokesperson told BHB that the company had nothing to add beyond what Hazen said during HCA’s recent earnings call. 

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