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In addition, the stock market has in the past experienced price and volume fluctuations that have particularly affected companies in the healthcare and managed care markets resulting in changes in the market price of the stock of many companies, which may not have been directly related to the operating performance of those companies.
Due to the foregoing factors, and the other risks discussed in this report, investors should not rely on periodto-period comparisons of our results of operations as an indication of our future performance.
The market price and trading volume of our common stock may be volatile, which could result in rapid and substantial losses for our stockholders.
The market price of our common stock may be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations. In addition, the trading volume in our common stock may fluctuate and cause significant price variations to occur.
The stock market has in the past experienced price and volume fluctuations that have particularly affected companies in the healthcare and managed care markets resulting in changes in the market price of the stock of many companies, which may not have been directly related to the operating performance of those companies. We cannot assure you that the market price of our common stock will not fluctuate or decline significantly in the future.
We cannot assure our stockholders that our stock repurchase program will enhance long-term stockholder value and stock repurchases, if any, could increase the volatility of the price of our common stock and will diminish our cash reserves.
In 1996, our Board of Directors authorized a stock repurchase program and has periodically increased the number of shares authorized for repurchase under the repurchase program. The most recent increase occurred in November 2015 and brought the number of shares authorized for repurchase over the life of the program to 35,000,000 shares. There is no expiration date for the repurchase program. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased, if any, depend on a variety of factors including the timing of open trading windows, price, corporate and regulatory requirements, and other market conditions. The program may be suspended or discontinued at any time without prior notice. Repurchases pursuant to our stock repurchase program could affect our stock price and increase its volatility. The existence of a stock repurchase program could also cause our stock price to be higher than it would be in the absence of such a program and could potentially reduce the market liquidity for our stock. Additionally, repurchases under our stock repurchase program will diminish our cash reserves, which could impact our ability to pursue possible future strategic opportunities and acquisitions and could result in lower overall returns on our cash balances. There can be no assurance that any further stock repurchases will enhance stockholder value because the market price of our common stock may decline below the levels at which we repurchased shares of stock. Although our stock repurchase program is intended to enhance long-term stockholder value, short-term stock price fluctuations could reduce the program’s effectiveness.
If the referrals for our patient management services decline, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially adversely affected.
In some years, we have experienced a general decline in the revenue and operating performance of patient management services. We believe that the performance decline has been due to the following factors: the decrease of the number of workplace injuries that have become longer-term disability cases; increased regional and local competition from providers of managed care services; a possible reduction by insurers on the types of services provided by our patient management business; the closure of offices and continuing consolidation of our patient management operations; and employee turnover, including management personnel, in our patient management business. In the past, these factors have all contributed to the lowering of our long-term outlook for our patient management services. If some or all of these conditions continue, we believe that the performance of our patient management revenues could decrease.
Declines in workers’ compensation claims may materially harm our results of operations.
Within the past few years, the economy has performed below historical averages which leads to fewer workers on a national level and could lead to fewer work-related injuries. If declines in workers’ compensation costs occur in many states and persist over the long-term, it would have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We provide an outsource service to payors of workers’ compensation and auto healthcare benefits. These payors include insurance companies, TPAs, municipalities, state funds, and self-insured, self-administered employers. If these payors reduce the amount of work they outsource, our results of operations would be materially adversely affected.
Healthcare providers are becoming increasingly resistant to the application of certain healthcare cost containment techniques; this may cause revenue from our cost containment operations to decrease.
Healthcare providers have become more active in their efforts to minimize the use of certain cost containment techniques and are engaging in litigation to avoid application of certain cost containment practices.
Recent litigation between healthcare providers and insurers has challenged certain insurers’ claims adjudication and reimbursement decisions. Although these lawsuits do not directly involve us or any services we provide, these cases may affect the use by insurers of certain cost containment services that we provide and may result in a decrease in revenue from our cost containment business.
Our failure to compete successfully could make it difficult for us to add and retain customers and could reduce or impede the growth of our business.
We face competition from PPOs, TPAs and other managed healthcare companies. We believe that as managed care techniques continue to gain acceptance in the workers’ compensation marketplace, our competitors will increasingly consist of nationally-focused workers’ compensation managed care service companies, insurance companies, HMOs and other significant providers of managed care products. Legislative reform in some states has been considered, but not enacted to permit employers to designate health plans such as HMOs and PPOs to cover workers’ compensation claimants. Because many health plans have the ability to manage medical costs for workers’ compensation claimants, such legislation may intensify competition in the markets served by us. Many of our current and potential competitors are significantly larger and have greater financial and marketing resources than we do, and there can be no assurance that we will continue to maintain our existing customers, our past level of operating performance or be successful with any new products or in any new geographical markets we may enter.
A breach of security may cause our customers to curtail or stop using our services.
We rely largely on our own security systems, confidentiality procedures and employee nondisclosure agreements to maintain the privacy and security of our Company’s and our customers’ proprietary information.
Accidental or willful security breaches or other unauthorized access by third parties to our information systems, the existence of computer viruses in our data or software and misappropriation of our proprietary information could expose us to a risk of information loss, litigation and other possible liabilities which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. If security measures are breached because of third-party action, employee error, malfeasance or otherwise, or if design flaws in our software are exposed and exploited, and, as a result, a third party obtains unauthorized access to any customer data, our relationships with our customers and our reputation will be damaged, our business may suffer and we could incur significant liability. Because techniques used to obtain unauthorized access or to sabotage systems change frequently and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures.
Exposure to possible litigation and legal liability may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We, through our utilization management services, make recommendations concerning the appropriateness of providers’ medical treatment plans of patients throughout the country, and as a result, could be exposed to claims for adverse medical consequences. We do not grant or deny claims for payment of benefits and we do not believe that we engage in the practice of medicine or the delivery of medical services. There can be no assurance, however, that we will not be subject to claims or litigation related to the authorization or denial of claims for payment of benefits or allegations that we engage in the practice of medicine or the delivery of medical services.
In addition, there can be no assurance that we will not be subject to other litigation that may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations, including but not limited to being joined in litigation brought against our customers in the managed care industry. We maintain professional liability insurance and such other coverages as we believe are reasonable in light of our experience to date. If such insurance is insufficient or unavailable in the future at reasonable cost to protect us from liability, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected.
If lawsuits against us are successful, we may incur significant liabilities.
We provide to insurers and other payors of healthcare costs managed care programs that utilize preferred provider organizations and computerized bill review programs. Health care providers have brought, against us and our customers, individual and class action lawsuits challenging such programs. If such lawsuits are successful, we may incur significant liabilities.
We make recommendations about the appropriateness of providers’ proposed medical treatment plans for patients throughout the country. As a result, we could be subject to claims arising from any adverse medical consequences. Although plaintiffs have not to date subjected us to any claims or litigation relating to the granting or denial of claims for payment of benefits or allegations that we engage in the practice of medicine or the delivery of medical services, we cannot assure you that plaintiffs will not make such claims in future litigation.
We also cannot assure you that our insurance will provide sufficient coverage or that insurance companies will make insurance available at a reasonable cost to protect us from significant future liability.
If the utilization by healthcare payors of early intervention services continues to increase, the revenue from our later-stage network and healthcare management services could be negatively affected.
The performance of early intervention services, including injury occupational healthcare, first notice of loss, and telephonic case management services, often result in a decrease in the average length of, and the total costs associated with, a healthcare claim. By successfully intervening at an early stage in a claim, the need for additional cost containment services for that claim often can be reduced or even eliminated. As healthcare payors continue to increase their utilization of early intervention services, the revenue from our later stage network and healthcare management services will decrease.
An interruption in our ability to access critical data may cause customers to cancel their service and/or may reduce our ability to effectively compete.
Certain aspects of our business are dependent upon our ability to store, retrieve, process and manage data and to maintain and upgrade our data processing capabilities. Interruption of data processing capabilities for any extended length of time, loss of stored data, programming errors or other system failures could cause customers to cancel their service and could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
In addition, we expect that a considerable amount of our future growth will depend on our ability to process and manage claims data more efficiently and to provide more meaningful healthcare information to customers and payors of healthcare. There can be no assurance that our current data processing capabilities will be adequate for our future growth, that we will be able to efficiently upgrade our systems to meet future demands, or that we will be able to develop, license or otherwise acquire software to address these market demands as well or as timely as our competitors.
We face competition for staffing, which may increase our labor costs and reduce profitability.
We compete with other healthcare providers in recruiting qualified management and staff personnel for the day-to-day operations of our business, including nurses and other case management professionals. In some markets, the scarcity of nurses and other medical support personnel has become a significant operating issue to healthcare providers. This shortage may require us to enhance wages to recruit and retain qualified nurses and other healthcare professionals. Our failure to recruit and retain qualified management, nurses and other healthcare professionals, or to control labor costs could have a material adverse effect on profitability.
The increased costs of professional and general liability insurance may have an adverse effect on our profitability.
The cost of commercial professional and general liability insurance coverage has risen significantly in the past several years, and this trend may continue. In addition, if we were to suffer a material loss, our costs may increase over and above the general increases in the industry. If the costs associated with insuring our business continue to increase, it may adversely affect our business. We believe our current level of insurance coverage is adequate for a company of our size engaged in our business. Additionally, we may have difficulty getting carriers to pay under coverage in certain circumstances.