Put it on cruise control. It's a way to make driving on long trips easier. It's also a way to make passive income easier.

There's no simple button to push for generating passive income like there is on a car. However, investing in dividend stocks comes pretty close. Want to make $10,000 per year in passive income? Buy this safe high-yield dividend stock.

Meet a hospital juggernaut 

Governments rank as the biggest owner of hospitals around the world. But Medical Properties Trust (MPW -1.51%) (MPT) comes in third. The healthcare real estate investment trust (REIT) currently owns 440 hospitals with 46,000 licensed beds.

MPT is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and the majority of its hospitals are located in the U.S. However, the company has been steadily expanding internationally. It now owns hospital facilities in Australia, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

While MPT owns the hospitals, it doesn't run them. The company leases facilities to hospital operators. Its long-term net leases require tenants to take care of most expenses related to the properties. MPT also sometimes offers mortgage loans to hospital operators with their real estate assets serving as collateral. 

MPT has been a winner for investors through the years. Since mid-2012, it has delivered a total return of well over 200%, including reinvested dividends.

Relatively safe passive income

Those dividends are the key to making passive income with MPT. The company's dividend yield currently tops 7.6%. An initial investment of less than $132,000 would make you at least $10,000 in dividend income per year, and that passive income should be relatively safe.

As a REIT, the company must return at least 90% of its taxable income to shareholders as dividends. MPT has increased its dividend for 10 consecutive years. 

The biggest risk for MPT's dividend is if the company's earnings decline enough to cause a dividend cut. However, that risk appears to be low for several reasons.

First, MPT's portfolio is spread across 53 different hospital operators. None of these operators contribute more than 11.5% of the company's total adjusted revenue. No single facility makes up more than 3% of total assets. 

Second, MPT's underwriting and lease structures further reduce its risk. This is the case even if a tenant declares bankruptcy. As a case in point, one of MPT's past tenants -- Adeptus Health -- filed for bankruptcy in 2021. However, MPT never reduced its rents and exited the situation with a profitable outcome. 

Third, MPT is largely protected against inflation. As previously mentioned, tenants bear most of the costs for maintaining the properties. MPT's leases also have automatic rent increases built in.

Finally, MPT continues to grow -- diversifying its portfolio even more. CEO Edward Aldag stated in the company's first-quarter update that MPT expects to make acquisitions of between $1 billion and $3 billion in 2022. He said that the company plans to "focus on the most compelling opportunities available" and primarily fund deals with proceeds from other transactions rather than issuing new shares.

Invest wisely

There's no question that buying this high-yield dividend stock can make some investors $10,000 in passive income per year. MPT's dividend also appears to be relatively safe, thanks to its solid business model. 

However, it's still important to invest wisely. No single dividend stock should make up too much of an overall portfolio. Just as MPT reduces its risk by diversifying, investors should lower their risk by investing in several different assets.

Keep in mind also that MPT's share price can be volatile. If you invest but need to raise cash by selling shares within a short period of time, it's quite possible you could lose money. 

Buying MPT stock is like putting a car on cruise control. But even with cruise control, you still have to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. This analogy applies to MPT (and any other investment, for that matter).