Universal Health Services

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Universal Health Services, Inc.
FoundedApril 1979; 41 years ago (1979-04)
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
HeadquartersKing of Prussia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Key people
Alan B. Miller (Chairman, CEO and Founder)
Number of employees
90,000 (2019)

Universal Health Services (UHS) is an American Fortune 500 company[1] that provides hospital and healthcare services, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. In 2019, its annual revenues were $11.37 billion.[2]

Company history[edit]

Alan B. Miller, who currently serves as the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, founded Universal Health Services, Inc. in 1979. Within 18 months of its founding, UHS owned four hospitals and had management contracts with two additional hospitals.[3]

In 1979, UHS entered Las Vegas with the purchase of Valley Hospital.[4]

In 1980, the company chose its first Board of Directors.[citation needed] In 1981, UHS held its initial public offering.[5] In 1982, UHS purchased five hospitals from the Stewards Foundation,[citation needed] marking the first time a for-profit corporation purchased hospitals from a nonprofit religious organization.[citation needed] In 1983, UHS purchased Qualicare, Inc. for more than $116 million. The purchase included 11 acute care hospitals and four behavioral health hospitals.[citation needed] In 1986, UHS created Universal Health Realty Income Trust,[citation needed] the first REIT in the healthcare industry.[citation needed]

1991, UHS stock trading moved from NASDAQ to NYSE.[citation needed] In 1997, UHS acquired an 80% stake in George Washington University Hospital.[6] In 1999, Debra K. Osteen was appointed vice president of UHS and president of the Behavioral Health Division.[7]

In 2003, Steve Filton was named UHS's Chief Operating Officer.[8] In 2007, UHS formed UHS Development Company, Inc. to build hospitals. Richard C. Wright was named president of UHS Development Company.[citation needed]

In November 2010, UHS reached an agreement in May to acquire Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. for $3,1 billion.[9][10] In June 2012, UHS announced its plans to acquire Ascend Health Corporation for $517 million.[11] In February 2014, UHS bought Palo Verde Mental Health for an undisclosed amount, renaming the facility to Palo Verde Behavioral Health.[12] In April of that year, UHS announced the acquisition of the Psychiatric Institute of Washington.[13] In September of that year, UHS' stock joined the S&P 500 Index and acquired Cygnet Health Care Limited for approximately $335 million.[14][15] In August 2015, UHS acquired Alpha Hospitals Holdings Limited for $148 million from private equity group C&C Alpha Group.[16] In September of that year, UHS announced the acquisition of Foundations Recovery Network based in Brentwood, Tennessee for $350 million.[17][18] In August 2016, UHS bought Desert View Hospital in Pahrump, Nevada for an undisclosed amount.[19] In December of that year, UHS acquired Cambian Group PLC's Adult Services Division.[20] In July 2018, UHS announced its acquisition of the Danshell Group.[21]

On 28 September 2020, Universal Health Services Inc. announced that its network went offline after an unspecified "IT security issue".[22]

In September 2020, consistent with the company's long-standing succession plan, UHS announced that Alan B. Miller would step down as CEO in January 2021.[23]


Hospital licenses[edit]

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) threatened the Rancho Springs Medical Center (Murrieta) and Inland Valley Regional Medical Center (Wildomar) in California with decertification in June 2010 while the State of California warned of a possible hospital license revocation.[24] Universal Health Services implemented a program to address all concerns and in November 2011, the two hospitals passed a CMS Certification Survey.[25] As a result, CMS rescinded its termination notice and the California Department of Public Health withdrew its license revocation notice.

Allegations of noncompliance with same-sex visitation law[edit]

According to a petition started on change.org[26] by Terri-Ann Simonelli of Henderson, Nevada, Spring Valley Hospital (owned and operated by UHS) claimed that their policy required power of attorney for a same-sex partner to make medical decisions on behalf of their partner. If true, this would seemingly violate new Department of Health and Human Services rules enabling same-sex partners to make said decisions, with or without power of attorney.[citation needed]

Fraudulent Medicaid claims[edit]

In September 2012, UHS and its subsidiaries, Keystone Education and Youth Services LLC and Keystone Marion LLC d/b/a Keystone Marion Youth Center agreed to pay over $6.9 million to resolve allegations that they submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid. Between October 2004 and March 2010, the entities allegedly provided substandard psychiatric counseling and treatment to adolescents in violation of the Medicaid requirements. The United States alleged that UHS falsely represented Keystone Marion Youth Center as a residential treatment facility providing inpatient psychiatric services to Medicaid enrolled children, when in fact it was a juvenile detention facility. The United States further alleged that neither a medical director nor licensed psychiatrist provided the required direction for psychiatric services or for the development of initial or continuing treatment plans. The settlement further resolved allegations that the entities filed false records or statements to Medicaid when they filed treatment plans that falsely represented the level of services that would be provided to the patients.[27]

On July 10, 2020, the US Department of Justice announced a $122 Fraudulent Claims case with "Universal Health Services, Inc., UHS of Delaware, Inc.(together, UHS), and Turning Point Care Center, LLC (Turning Point), a UHS facility located in Moultrie, Georgia, have agreed to pay a combined total of $122 million to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act for billing for medically unnecessary inpatient behavioral health services, failing to provide adequate and appropriate services, and paying illegal inducements to federal healthcare beneficiaries." From the announcement: "The government alleged that, between January 2006, and December 2018, UHS’s facilities admitted federal healthcare beneficiaries who were not eligible for inpatient or residential treatment because their conditions did not require that level of care, while also failing to properly discharge appropriately admitted beneficiaries when they no longer required inpatient care. The government further alleged that UHS’s facilities billed for services not rendered, billed for improper and excessive lengths of stay, failed to provide adequate staffing, training, and/or supervision of staff, and improperly used physical and chemical restraints and seclusion. In addition, UHS’s facilities allegedly failed to develop and/or update individual assessments and treatment plans for patients, failed to provide adequate discharge planning, and failed to provide required individual and group therapy services in accordance with federal and state regulations.

Of the $117 million to be paid by UHS to resolve these claims, the federal government will receive a total of $88,124,761.27, and a total of $28,875,238.73 will be returned to individual states, which jointly fund state Medicaid programs." [28]

Buzzfeed investigation[edit]

On December 7, 2016, Buzzfeed published a report detailing questionable practices within UHS psychiatric facilities.[29] The report includes allegations of holding nonthreatening patients against their will, manipulative misinterpretation of patient testimonies to fit guidelines to involuntary confinement, aggressive staff layoffs and understaffing in hospitals, needless patient deaths due to understaffing and misprescription of medication, "violating a patient’s right to be discharged or holding a patient without the proper documentation", and unnecessary extension of stay times to the maximum Medicare payout. UHS denied the conclusions of the report;[30] its stock fell approximately 12% after publication.

According to the Buzzfeed investigative reporter, UHS responded to the report by hiring "a global PR firm that offers specialized crisis management services...UHS didn’t just implement a crisis PR plan. It also fired an employee that the company believed to have spoken to a reporter; it sued a former employee it alleges leaked damaging internal surveillance videos; it threatened to sue other employees; at least one facility held a series of town hall meetings to warn employees from speaking with us; it conducted “in-depth interviews” with nearly two dozen staff, then distributed a public apology that two of them signed; it enlisted one of the most powerful law firms in the United States; it built multiple, high-production-value websites specifically designed to overcome the reputational damage that our reporting might cause."[31]

Cygnet Healthcare[edit]

A UK subsidiary, Cygnet Health Care, was the subject of a BBC investigation that found that staff had been taunting, provoking and scaring vulnerable people.[32] It runs 140 mental health services across the UK. 85% of its services are “rated good or outstanding by our regulators”.[33] New admissions were banned at Cygnet Acer clinic after the Care Quality Commission found it unsafe to use. A patient hanged herself, others self harmed, ligature points were found where patients could hang themselves and too many of the staff were untrained to deal with the highly vulnerable patients at the clinic.[34]

The company bought four inpatient units which were previously operated by the Danshell Group in 2018. All four were condemned by the Care Quality Commission which raised concerns about patients’ “unexplained injuries” and high levels of restraint in 2019.[35]


  1. ^ "Health care groups that made this year's Fortune 500 list". advisory.com. The Advisory Board Company. 2014-06-03. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  2. ^ "UNIVERSAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC. -- FORM 10-K". Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  3. ^ Kepos, Paula (1992). International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 6. St. James Press. ISBN 9781558621763.
  4. ^ "How UHS' Alan B. Miller built a successful hospital in the middle of nowhere". Modern Healthcare. 2019-08-03. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  5. ^ www.bizjournals.com https://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/blog/health-care/2015/05/investor-recapitalize-universal-health-services.html. Retrieved 2020-05-13. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Fischer, Ben (2012-04-06). "30 Years: Universal Health buys control of George Washington University Hospital (July 22, 1997)". Washington Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  7. ^ "Debbie Osteen". National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  8. ^ SEC. "Universal Health Services Inc 2003 Current Report 8-K". SEC.report. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  9. ^ Burling, Stacey (16 November 2010). "UHS completes $3.1 billion Psychiatric Solutions acquisition". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  10. ^ Grantham, Dennis (2011-01-01). "Patience ... Patients: How Universal Health Systems became the top inpatient psychiatric services provider". Behavioral Healthcare. Vendome Group. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  11. ^ Evans, Melanie (2012-06-04). "UHS to acquire Ascend Health in $517 million deal". Modern Healthcare. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  12. ^ Szekely, Balazs (2014-03-08). "Universal Health Services Acquires Palo Verde Mental Health Facility". Commercial Property Executive. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  13. ^ HealthLeaders. "Universal Health Services acquires Psychiatric Solutions in $3.1B deal". www.healthleadersmedia.com. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  14. ^ "Universal Health Services, Inc. Announces Acquisition of Cygnet Health Care Limited and is Added to the S&P 500 Index". The Globe and Mail. Phillip Crawley. 2014-09-26. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  15. ^ "BRIEF-S&P 500 to add United Rentals, Universal Health Services; drop Graham Holdings, Peabody Energy". Reuters. 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  16. ^ Burdo, Alison (2015-08-20). "KoP firm buys English hospitals for $148M". Philadelphia Business Journal. Sandy Smith. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  17. ^ Powderly, Henry (21 September 2015). "Universal Health Services acquires Foundations Recovery Network". Healthcare Finance News. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  18. ^ George, John (2015-09-18). "UHS buys provider of substance-abuse treatment services for $350M". Philadelphia Business Journal. Sandy Smith. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  19. ^ Usufzy, Pashtana (2016-08-17). "Universal Health Services buys Desert View Hospital in Pahrump". Las Vegas Review-Journal. News + Media Capital Group LLC. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  20. ^ "ACQUISITION BY UNIVERSAL HEALTH SERVICES INC. (THROUGH CYGNET HEALTH CARE ..." www.lawinsider.com. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  21. ^ "UHS significantly expands UK presence: 3 things to know". www.beckershospitalreview.com. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  22. ^ Satter, Raphael (2020-09-28). "Universal Health Services offline due to 'IT security issue'". Reuters. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  23. ^ https://ir.uhsinc.com/news-releases/news-release-details/universal-health-services-inc-announces-founder-alan-b-miller
  24. ^ Dunn, Lindsey (28 September 2010). "UHS Reaches Agreement With CMS, California Department of Health to Keep Southwest Healthcare System's License". Becker's Hospital Review. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  25. ^ Oh, Jaimie (2011-11-08). "CMS: Two Southwest Healthcare Hospitals Back in Compliance". Becker's ASC Review. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  26. ^ Vogel, Ed (2012-08-19). "Same-sex couple in Henderson upset with hospital's treatment". Las Vegas Review-Journal. News + Media Capital Group LLC. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  27. ^ "The Department of Health and Human Services and The Department of Justice Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2012" (PDF). Justice.gov. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  28. ^ "Universal Health Services, Inc. And Related Entities To Pay $122 Million To Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating To Medically Unnecessary Inpatient Behavioral Health Services And Illegal Kickbacks". www.justice.gov. 2020-07-10. Retrieved 2020-10-03.
  29. ^ Adams, Rosalind (2016-12-07). "Intake: Locked On The Psych Ward". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  30. ^ Jamerson, Joshua (2015-12-08). "Universal Health Services denies BuzzFeed report claiming poor patient treatment". Marketwatch. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  31. ^ "How a Giant Psychiatric Hospital Company Tried To Spin Us — And Silence Its Staff". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2020-10-03.
  32. ^ "Secret filming reveals abuse of disabled and autistic patients". 23 May 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  33. ^ "US corporations expand across NHS mental healthcare". Financial Times. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  34. ^ New inpatients banned at mental health unit rated unsafe The Guardian
  35. ^ "Mental Health Matters: An inpatient care crisis". Health Service Journal. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2019.

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