Tenet's net loss shrinks amid $250M cost-cutting drive

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare saw its revenue slide in the third quarter of 2018, but its net loss narrowed year over year.

The for-profit hospital operator ended the third quarter of 2018 with revenues of $4.49 billion, down slightly from $4.59 billion in the same period a year earlier. Tenet said the lower revenue was largely attributable to hospital divestitures. Tenet operated 11 fewer hospitals in the third quarter of 2018 than in the same period of 2017. On a same-hospital basis, patient revenues were up 6 percent from the third quarter of 2017.

"Our hospitals did not meet our expectations and we are focusing on specific areas to address those gaps," Ronald A. Rittenmeyer, executive chairman and CEO of Tenet, said in an earnings release. "Strengthening enterprise operations remains our primary focus — and we will continue moving with urgency to implement targeted growth initiatives, achieve operational efficiencies, make further enhancements to our facility portfolio and instill culture changes to drive accountability."

In 2017, Tenet launched a $150 million enterprisewide cost reduction initiative. In December, the company expanded the plan to $250 million. A presentation published with the company's third-quarter financial results said Tenet is "on track to deliver annualized run-rate cost savings of $250 million by year-end."

In addition to its cost-cutting initiative, Tenet said it is also focused on expanding its ambulatory care segment and exploring strategic options for Conifer Health Solutions, its business services subsidiary.

"We previously announced a number of actions to support our goals of improving financial performance and enhancing shareholder value, including the exploration of a potential sale of Conifer," Tenet said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "In addition to a potential sale, we are considering other strategic alternatives for Conifer, such as a merger, a tax efficient spinoff or a combination of alternative transactions."

After factoring in operating expenses and one-time costs, Tenet reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of $9 million in the third quarter of this year, compared to the $367 million net loss the company recorded in the same period a year earlier.

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