Tenet 4Q Loss Narrows On Higher Prices; Sees More Red Ink

Tenet Healthcare Corp.’s
(THC) fourth-quarter loss narrowed as the hospital
operator saw improved results amid higher prices.
The company also projected a 2009 loss bigger than expectations,
, according to
Thomson Reuters. Revenue is seen rising to
$9 billion to $9.2 billion
, in line
with estimates, with admissions growth of as much as 1%. Last year’s admissions
increase was 1.2%.
Tenet, which has been struggling to gain its footing after settling government
probes in 2006 over past pricing plans, has changed management, shed hospitals
and made improvements that earned it good-quality ratings from the Department of
Health and Human Services. Still, it faces high supply costs, delays in key
asset sales and high debt levels.
, or
a share, compared with a
year-earlier net loss of
, or
a share. The latest quarter
included a
write-down from the sale two weeks ago of facilities at
the University of Southern California.
Revenue increased 5.7% to
$2.2 billion
$2.21 billion
Hospitals have struggled for years with tepid volumes of commercially insured
patients and large numbers of uninsured patients who can’t pay their medical
bills. Now, the credit crisis has prompted many hospitals to delay capital
spending and the recession threatens to further erode business.
Same-hospital adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization, the industry benchmark used to track the financial performance of
those hospitals under a company’s wing for more than a year, climbed 27%.
Same-hospital admissions edged down 0.2%, as more-profitable commercial
managed-care admissions fell 3% and government managed-care admissions increased
10.1%. But inpatient revenue per admission increased 3.6%, with the increase for
outpatients at 7%.
The company’s bad debt expense increased 23%, hurt in part by a decline in its
self-pay collection rate. There is concern that the weak economy, including job
losses in particular, will lead to more uninsured patients, uncompensated care
and bad debt.
Shares were up 12.2% at
a share premarket. The stock has lost more than
three-quarters of its value since August.
, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2310; shirleen.dorman@
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
02-24-09 0825ET
Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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