Future of HealthSouth N.H. facilities up in the air

There will be no changes in operations at HealthSouth’s 10 New Hampshire health-care and rehabilitation centers, according to company officials, despite yesterday’s announcement that the firm is considering strategic alternatives to operating its outpatient facilities.

According to company spokesperson Kristie Gilmore, HealthSouth is hoping to solidify new financial partnerships, which would allow the company’s outpatient rehabilitation, surgery and diagnostic divisions to spin off into new separate companies operating in the same facilities with the same management.

But sale of the divisions also is a possibility.

“We have no plans to close any of our facilities,” Gilmore said. “They will just begin operating under a new name. Until that time, it will be business as usual.”

Company officials hope to use resulting proceeds from the repositioning to deleverage HealthSouth.

The Alabama-based company reported a pre-tax loss of $28.9 million for the second quarter of 2006. The loss was up $17 million from a second-quarter 2005 loss of $45.9 million.

Of the ten HealthSouth facilities in New Hampshire, eight offer strictly outpatient services. The HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital on Pleasant Street in Concord and the services provided at the Cheshire-Farnum facility in Keene would remain part of HealthSouth, said Gilmore.

Announcement of plans to reposition by HealthSouth closely followed its announcement that they have been cleared to submit an application for the listing of its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Company officials expect HealthSouth to begin trading on the NYSE by October under ticker symbol “HLS.”

HealthSouth also announced it will seek stockholder approval for a one-for-five reverse stock split with hopes of increasing the per-share trading price and decrease the number of outstanding shares. Currently the company has approximately 398.24 million shares outstanding. The reverse stock split will reduce that number to 80 million. – TRACIE STONE

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