LifePoint Health, Inc. (LPNT)

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LifePoint Hospitals, Inc. (LPNT)

Q1 2008 Earnings Call

May 1, 2008 9:00 am ET


Bill Carpenter - President, Chief Executive Officer

David Dill - Chief Financial Officer


Whit Mayo - Stephens Inc.

Adam Feinstein - Lehman Brothers

Jason Gurda - Bear, Stearns & Co.

Melissa Jaffe - Merrill Lynch

Darren Lehrich - Deutsche Bank

Shelley Nall - Goldman Sachs

Gary Lieberman - Stanford Group Company

Robert Hawkins - Stifel Nicolaus & Company

Bill Bonello - Wachovia Securities

David Bachman - Longbow Research



Welcome to the LifePoint Hospitals first quarter earnings conference call. (Operator Instructions) It's my pleasure and honor to turn this conference to Mr. Bill Carpenter, President and Chief Executive Officer at LifePoint Hospitals.

Bill Carpenter

Before we get into the business of the call, it's important to me and to the company to recognize the passing of Bill Lapham, one of the founding Board members of LifePoint and the Chair of our Audit and Compliance Committee. Last week Bill lost his courageous battle with cancer. During his long tenure with the company, among many other things, Bill helped to set the tone and culture of the company, one founded on integrity and doing the right thing every day for each of our constituents - our patients, our physicians, our employees, our communities, and certainly, our stockholders.

Last year, in fact, our Board recognized Bill's efforts in this regard by creating the William V. Lapham Award for Extraordinary Integrity. This award is considered a high honor at the company and will be given not more than once a year to a person associated with the company or one of its hospitals who has clearly demonstrated a truly exceptional commitment to the highest standards of personal or financial integrity. Bill Lapham will be missed.

Consistent with our commitment to succession planning, the Board has named Greg Bier, one of our directors, as Chair of the Audit and Compliance Committee of our Board. You might recall that Greg joined our Board last year, following a nationwide search to identify candidates well-qualified to chair our Audit and Compliance Committee.

Now, let's talk about the first quarter results. On today's call we will be making forward-looking statements based upon management's current expectations. Numerous factors could cause our results to differ from those expectations. We outlined those in our filings with the SEC and encourage you to review these filings.

We also ask that you please review the cautionary language under the caption "Important Legal Information" in our press release. The company undertakes no obligation to update or make any other forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

In a few minutes David will summarize the quarter and then we'll take your questions, but first I think it'd be helpful if I put the strategic direction of the company into context and to provide a little color on how our strategic efforts have changed the way we approach our business.

I've talked about our strategic initiatives before, and I don't plan to go through them again today. You know what we're focused on. I do, however, want to emphasize the significance of the steps that we've taken. I know from visiting various stockholders and reading a few analyst reports that many of you do understand the significance of our strategic efforts, but I want to make sure that all of our stakeholders share a clear understanding of the significance of our strategic focus.

The comprehensive and multifaceted strategies that we formulated in 2007 encompass a plan for growth, a plan for efficiency and a plan for our people. Together with a strong balance sheet, these strategies position LifePoint to provide substantial returns to our shareholders over the next two to three years. I'm confident that our financial results will be positively impacted by these efforts over that timeframe.

While we don't claim to have a silver bullet, what we're doing today is a fundamental shift in how we approach our business. For instance, you know that we have conducted deep dive reviews of seven of our largest hospitals. We're beginning to implement the market-specific plans developed during these reviews, and more importantly, we're beginning to see results from these initiatives.

As a result of these efforts, together with other of our strategic initiatives, we're on track to meet our internal EBITDA targets for 2008. We're pleased about that. You've all seen our proxy statement, and you know that our incentive compensation, including my own, are tied to the high end of the guidance that we gave you in February for 2008. And let me assure you, our targets for growth from these strategic initiatives over the next two to three years are substantially higher than our 2008 targets.

As this suggests, my expectations for our corporate and hospital-level leaders are very high. We're also tracking and holding people accountable for the actual results of our efforts in a way that we never have before.

I'm convinced that the key element of our success over the next two to three years is execution of our strategic plan, without taking our eye off the core competencies that have made LifePoint an industry leader in health care operations.

If we do these things, and I'm confident we will, we'll achieve organic growth from existing assets, and we'll seize market share in existing communities. We'll build and better leverage existing resources in our corporate center for the benefit of all our hospitals and, in a concerted effort; we'll share best practices throughout the company.

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