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Community Health Systems to sell five more hospitals

The five Pennsylvania hospitals being sold to the Reading Health System are part of a planned 30-hospital divestiture.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Community Health Systems has announced it is selling five Pennsylvania hospitals in the latest in a series of divestitures for the financially troubled acute care provider that reported an 11.5 percent drop in admissions this first quarter compared to last year.

The five hospitals being sold to the Reading Health System are part of a planned 30-hospital divestiture discussed during CHS's first quarter earnings call.

During that May 1 earnings report, CHS reported a net loss of $199 million, compared with net income of $11 million during the same period in 2016.

[Also: Community Health Systems may see Chinese billionaire become more active in its governance]

CEO and Chairman Wayne T. Smith said at the time that CHS was continuing to make good progress on its strategic and operational initiatives.

"We are focused on performance improvements that we believe will yield additional efficiencies as we move through 2017," Smith said by statement on May 1. "At the same time, we are making progress with our portfolio rationalization strategy as we work to create a stronger, more sustainable company for the future and further reduce our debt."

Community Health Systems is one of the largest publicly traded hospital companies in the United States, owning, leasing or operating 146 affiliated hospitals in 21 states, according to Tuesday's announcement.

As well as declining admissions, Community Health Systems is facing increased pressure on pricing as more individuals switch to managed-care plans, The Motley Fool reported in 2016.

Earlier this month, CHS announced it was selling two Texas hospitals to HCA and divesting two Mississippi hospitals, a Louisiana hospital, and eight other hospitals in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In April, it announced it was divesting of an Alabama hospital.

In 2016, CHS spun off Quorum Health Corporation comprised of 38 affiliated hospitals and outpatient services in 16 states and subsidiary consultant Quorum Health Resources.

[Also: CHS spin-off Quorum Health loses $22 million, divests 2 hospitals]

Last year it sold minority interests in Valley Health and Summerlin Hospital Medical Center, joint ventures with Universal Health Systems in Las Vegas.

It also sold 80 percent ownership in its home care division.

[Also: Struggling CHS to sell off home health, hospice division for $128 million]

The for-profit health system, headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, is a leading operator of acute care hospitals.

The five Pennsylvania hospitals are being sold in a transaction expected to close during the third quarter. They include Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville, Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia,  Jennersville Hospital in West Grove, Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville and Pottstown Memorial Medical Center in Pottstown.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse

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