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Community Health Systems sees major drop in net losses over 2017, reporting $328 million for Q4 2018

The $328 million in net losses for the fourth quarter is a big leap over the $2.01 billion reported for the same period in 2017.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Community Health System multi-layered strategic vision is progressing as the system saw a significant drop in its net losses year over year in the fourth quarter. The Tennessee-based system reported net losses attributable to Community Health Systems common stockholders of $328 million, or $2.91 per share diluted for the three months ended December 31, 2018. That's compared to $2.01 billion for the same period in 2017.

For the year, CHS saw a net loss of $788 million, a big drop over the reported net loss of $2.459 billion for 2017.

Additionally, Q4 net operating revenues rebounded at $3.45 billion a 12.9 percent increase for the same period in 2017.

Total admissions dropped 9.7 percent compared with Q4 2017 and on a same-store basis, admissions decreased 0.5 percent and adjusted admissions increased 0.1 percent over 2017, which may have fueled a drop in operating revenue year over year, from $15.353 billion in Q4 2017 to $14.155 billion, a 7.8 percent decrease.

THE 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 117 affiliated hospitals in 20 states with approximately 19,000 licensed beds. A long string of hospital sales has continued through 2018 as they proceed forward with a massive divestiture plan that touts a combined total of approximately $2 billion in annual net operating revenues.

THE TREND

CHS sold 11 hospitals during 2018 and permanently closed three hospitals. There are three additional hospital divestitures to date in 2019 with definitive agreements to sell four additional hospitals. Those transactions are not yet complete.

Further complicating their financial picture is a hefty settlement stemming from the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into "certain conduct" of Health Management Associates, and its affiliated entities for which CHS paid $266 million in Q4 2018.

ON THE RECORD

Commenting on the results, Wayne T. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Community Health Systems, Inc., said, "Our fourth quarter marked a strong finish to the year. During 2018, our market leaders made significant progress across areas such as our patient safety and connectivity, competitive position in core markets, and operational efficiency. These strategic investments and our solid execution drove enhanced same-store performance during 2018. In 2019, we believe that we have a number of opportunities to further leverage these strategic initiatives to drive incremental growth, and achieve additional progress as we further strengthen our core portfolio and reduce our debt."

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sanborn@himssmedia.com