CHS' net loss narrows to $25M as company pursues $2B hospital divestiture plan

Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, which operates 127 hospitals, saw its net loss shrink in the first quarter of 2018 as the company continues to refine its hospital portfolio.

CHS said revenues dipped to $3.7 billion in the first quarter of 2018, down 17.8 percent from $4.5 billion in the same period of the year prior. The decline was largely attributable to CHS operating 28 fewer hospitals in the first quarter of 2018 than in the same period of 2017. On a same-hospital basis, revenues climbed 1.6 percent year over year.

After factoring in operating expenses and one-time charges, CHS ended the first quarter of 2018 with a net loss attributable to stockholders of $25 million. That's compared to the first quarter of 2017, when the company recorded a net loss of $199 million.

"We achieved continued progress across a number of our strategic and operating initiatives," CHS Chairman and CEO Wayne T. Smith said in an earnings release. "During the first few months of the year, we expanded our transfer and access program, launched accountable care organizations, and invested in both outpatient capabilities and service line enhancements across our markets. These efforts helped drive a good financial performance during the first quarter and position the company for further anticipated improvements during the balance of 2018."

As part of a turnaround plan put into place in 2016, CHS announced plans in 2017 to sell off 30 hospitals. CHS completed the divestiture plan Nov. 1. To further reduce its debt, CHS announced late last year it intends to sell another group of hospitals with combined revenue of $2 billion. The company is already making progress toward that goal.

During the first four months of 2018, CHS sold one hospital and entered into definitive agreements to sell six others. CHS said it continues to receive interest from potential buyers for certain hospitals.

CHS' long-term debt totaled $13.86 billion as of March 31, a slight decrease from $13.88 billion as of the end of last year.

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