CHS sees net loss quadruple, revenue sink in Q1

Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, which operates 106 hospitals in 18 states, saw its net loss swell in the first quarter of 2019.

CHS reported operating revenues of $3.38 billion in the first quarter of this year, down 8.5 percent from $3.69 billion in the same period of the year prior. The drop in revenue was partially attributable to a year-over-year decline in patient admissions and owning fewer hospitals than in the first quarter of 2018.

After factoring in operating expenses and one-time charges, CHS ended the first quarter of 2019 with a net loss attributable to stockholders of $118 million. That's compared to the first quarter of 2018, when the company recorded a net loss of $25 million.

CHS announced in late 2017 that it intends to sell a group of hospitals with combined revenue of $2 billion. The company made progress toward that goal in 2018 by divesting 11 hospitals and closing three others. CHS continued its hospital sell-off spree in the first three months of this year.

During the first quarter of 2019, CHS completed seven hospital divestitures. The company has one other hospital under definitive agreement to sell.

"The company intends to continue its portfolio rationalization strategy during the remainder of 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 carried $13.88 billion in long-term debt when it announced its divestiture plan at the end of 2017. CHS' long-term debt totaled $13.39 billion as of March 31.

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