Athenahealth stock struggling after poor earnings; Bush partly blames Trump

CEO Jonathan Bush said that all the uncertainty around healthcare legislation has been bad for business.
By Bill Siwicki
12:58 PM
Anthenahealth stock

Shares of Athenahealth are still struggling to make up ground after the company’s stock price fell 17 percent on disappointing earnings, and CEO Jonathan Bush said President Donald Trump is partly responsible.

The health IT company said its first-quarter revenue fell because a lower number of doctor visits and reduced reimbursements pushed down claims and collections, prompting its stock price to bottom out at around $96 a share Friday. 

As of noontime Tuesday, shares were still trading around $99 apiece, still nearly 20 percent lower than the roughly $120 a share they were trading at before Friday’s earnings release.

[Also: Jonathan Bush: Athenahealth relishes 'stealing patients']

In the Friday investor call, Bush said that all the uncertainty around healthcare legislation has bad for business, and that comes back to Trump.

“I believe some of this is the national breath-holding around what's Trumpcare going to be and some of this is the continuing rise of deductibles,” he said.

But the CEO, known for making bold statements, rising deductibles sting most at the beginning of a calendar year.

“Deductibles every year having materially larger share – beneficiaries with high deductibles have an increasingly higher share of the covered base, and so they’re increasingly sheepish about going to the doctor, particularly in Q1 when everybody’s deductibles are refreshed,” he said.

Athenahealth posted a first-quarter loss of $1.4 million, or 3 cents a share,  compared with a loss of $800,000 in the same period last year.

“We understand what it means for our shareholders when reviewing our (execution) against our financial and operational goals,” Karl A. Stubelis, athenahealth’s CFO, said during the earnings call. “And we’re not satisfied with our performance in the first quarter and we are challenging ourselves to set expectations that we are confident we can deliver on this year.”

On April 25, Bush sold 8,000 shares of athenahealth stock for about $120 per share in a pre-scheduled transaction that netted him $960,000, according to an SEC document.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
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