CHS sees Q4 net loss widen to $2B

Community Health Systems, a 127-hospital chain based in Franklin, Tenn., posted a net loss of $2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a net loss of $220 million in the same period of the year prior.

CHS said revenues dipped to $3.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, down 31.6 percent from $4.5 billion in the same period of 2016. The decline was primarily attributable to a $591 million increase in contractual allowances and provisions for bad debt debts.

An 18.6 percent increase in expenses as well as one-time charges took a toll on the company's bottom line. CHS said its fourth quarter financial results included nearly $1.8 billion in impairment charges and losses related to the sale of some of its hospitals.

To improve its finances and reduce its heavy debt load, CHS put a turnaround plan into place in 2016. As part of the initiative, the company announced plans in 2017 to sell off 30 hospitals. CHS completed the divestiture plan Nov. 1.

With the help of proceeds from the hospital sales, CHS brought down its long-term debt load from $14.8 billion at the end of 2016 to $13.9 billion at the end of last year. To further reduce its debt, CHS plans to sell another group of hospitals with combined revenue of $2 billion.

"In 2018, we remain committed to growth initiatives to advance our competitive position, including expanding our transfer and access program across our networks, launching accountable care organizations, and strategically expanding outpatient services," said CHS Chairman and CEO Wayne T. Smith in a statement. "We are also committed to driving operational efficiencies, and, as always, are dedicated to patient safety and clinical advancements that improve healthcare for the patients and communities we serve."

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