CHS' loss shrinks to $328M in Q4

Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, which operates 110 hospitals in 19 states, saw its net loss narrow in the fourth quarter of 2018.

CHS said operating revenues climbed to $3.45 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, up 12.9 percent from $3.06 billion in the same period of the year prior. The company saw higher revenue despite experiencing a year-over-year decline in patient volume and owning fewer hospitals than in the fourth quarter of 2017.

CHS said same-hospital admissions decreased 0.5 percent year over year. When adjusted for outpatient activity, same-hospital admissions were down 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier.

After factoring in operating expenses and one-time charges, CHS ended the fourth quarter of 2018 with a net loss attributable to stockholders of $328 million. That's compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, when the company recorded a net loss of $2 billion.

"Our fourth quarter marked a strong finish to the year," CHS Chairman and CEO Wayne T. Smith said in an earnings release. "During 2018, our market leaders made significant progress across areas such as our patient safety and connectivity, competitive position in core markets, and operational efficiency. These strategic investments and our solid execution drove enhanced same store performance during 2018."

Looking at full-year 2018 results, CHS reported a net loss of $788 million on revenues of $14.16 billion. The company posted a net loss of $2.46 billion on revenues of $15.35 billion in 2017.

CHS announced in late 2017 that it intends to sell a group of hospitals with combined revenue of $2 billion. The company made significant progress toward that goal last year.

During 2018, CHS completed 11 hospital divestitures and permanently closed three hospitals. The company has completed three hospital divestitures this year and has four other hospitals under definitive agreement to sell.

"The company intends to continue its portfolio rationalization strategy in 2019 and is pursuing additional interests for sale transactions, which are currently in various stages of negotiation with potential buyers," states the earnings release.

The hospital divestitures have helped CHS reduce its debt load. The company's long-term debt totaled $13.39 billion as of Dec. 31, down from $13.88 billion at the end of 2017.

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