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CHS finalizes sale of two South Carolina hospitals in ongoing efforts to address debt

The goal is to reduce the company's debt, and while it still owns four hospitals in South Carolina, that's expected to change soon.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Franklin, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems, which has been beleaguered by financial difficulties in recent years, has finalized the sale of two South Carolina Hospitals, the latest in a string of divestitures for the system.

The goal, ostensibly, is to consolidate the company's operations and reduce its debt. CHS still owns four hospitals in South Carolina, but is expected to sell them during the first quarter of this year.

IMPACT

CHS is one of the largest publicly traded hospital companies in the United States, and through its subsidiaries, the system owns, leases or operates 111 affiliated hospitals in 20 states with about 19,000 licensed beds.

The two most recent hospitals to be unmoored from CHS' ship are the 207-bed Mary Black Health System-Spartanburg, and the 125-bed Mary Black Health System-Gaffney. They are among the 12 hospitals CHS put up for sale in 2018. CHS sold 30 hospitals in 2017.

The system said in November that it would sell its four remaining South Carolina hospitals to the Medical University Hospital Authority in Charleston.

Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.

THE TREND

CHS has been struggling since its $7.6 billion acquisition of Health Management Associates in 2013. When Community Health Systems purchased HMA, it made CHS among the largest for-profit hospital operators at the time.

But in recent years, its long string of hospital sales and a complicated financial picture have been the catalyst behind a massive divestiture plan that sees a combined total of approximately $2 billion in annual net operating revenues.

In July 2018, the system announced its second quarter financial results, showing it had decreased its net loss by $27 million in Q2 2018 to $110 million, down from a $137 million net loss during the same period a year previous. On a same-store basis, admissions decreased by 2.1 percent and adjusted admissions decreased 0.2 percent, compared with the same period in 2017.

CHS also saw its long-term debt drop to $13.67 billion as of June 30 from $13.88 billion at the end of 2017.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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