HCA Healthcare
February 09, 2024


Source: Nashville Business Journal
Author: Nikki Ross
Date: February 9, 2024

Health care analysts, and HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen, believe behavioral health is where investors should put their money in 2024. 

Health care investment was one of the key topics discussed during the Nashville Health Care Council’s 2024 Wall Street Perspective on the Healthcare Industry Wednesday, where Hazen took the stage as moderator.

Panelists said demand for behavioral health services is on the rise, making it a key investment area in 2024.

“There’s money being thrown at behavioral health right now,” said Brian Tanquilut, health care services equity research analyst for Jefferies LLC. “I think utilization is high.”

Behavioral health providers help people with things like substance use disorders, self-harm and eating disorders. HCA’s behavioral health division also includes mental health services. 

HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA) — Nashville’s largest publicly traded company — has 58 behavioral health inpatient programs and more than 153 outpatient programs across 17 states, including Tennessee. 

The pandemic shone a light on the nation’s mental health crisis, with 22.8% of U.S. adults experiencing a mental illness in 2021, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. Nashville's health care leaders have spoken publicly about how the health and well-being of residents directly impacts the local economy and business world.

The panelists also listed off a number of other areas for investments in 2024.

“The demand for bigger profits is off the charts,” Hazen said of the health care investment space. "I think there's a disconnect that we're left with demand and supply."

Tanquilut said hospitals, surgery centers and biotech are areas of focus that will do well in the coming year.  

“I think there’s still a shift from inpatient to outpatient for certain procedures,” he said. 

Gary Taylor, managing director of health care facilities and managed care for TD Cowen, said for 2024, it’s about providers over payers — and nonprofits are struggling. 

“They’re still struggling out of the pandemic, they didn’t handle it nearly as well," Taylor said.

Founded in 1995, the Nashville Health Care Council is the most prominent organization representing Nashville’s massive health care industry. Often referred to as the “campfire” around which the city’s health care leaders gather, the council is made up of more than 315 corporate members. The group hosts its Wall Street perspective event annually.