Troubled Franklin-Based Hospital Chain Touts Strongest Quarter In Years | Nashville Public Radio

Troubled Franklin-Based Hospital Chain Touts Strongest Quarter In Years

Aug 6, 2019

Community Health Systems, a major employer in Nashville, says it’s turning things around. And executives point to their performance in the latest quarter's results, released on Tuesday.

The for-profit hospital operator has been shedding facilities and battling talk of bankruptcy. And its earnings this quarter — as in most — involve reporting a financial loss of $167 million. That's a bigger loss than in the same period a year ago.

But with the 100-plus hospitals the company still owns, more patients are being admitted. CHS announced an uptick in admissions of 2.3%, as well as a nearly 5% increase in revenue for those hospitals.

CEO Wayne Smith says the company hasn’t done this well in a while.

"It’s the strongest [quarter] we’ve had since 2015," he says, "so I think we’re making really good progress. This is not just a blip here."

Community Health Systems beat analysts' expectations, leading to a bump in its stock price for the day. Shares have been trading at their lowest point ever, around $2, and the company remains so heavily indebted that some analysts expect a bankruptcy may be in the future.

They're still not sure about the company's health. In previous conference calls, CHS officials have told investors they intended to use the money from hospital sales to pay down their debts. But in this latest quarterly call, executives were questioned about where that money is going, because its $13 billion in debt has barely budged since the end of last year.