Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. reported a 69% decrease in net income for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 to $97 million, or 16 cents per share.
The loss resulted primarily from the costs associated with the ongoing federal fraud investigation into Columbia's billing practices and from severance pay for several top officials who resigned because of the probe. It also stemmed from the costs of restructuring and discontinued operations.
The company took a $38 million after-tax charge to account for those costs.
Before assessing those expenses, Columbia's net income was $129 million, or 21 cents per share, for the third quarter compared with net income of $311 million, or 46 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
The company also reported $6 million in after-tax quarterly earnings from discontinued operations.
The Nashville-based company said revenues were flat at $4.6 billion.
"We anticipated this would be a softer quarter," said Senior Vice President Victor Campbell. "We will continue to have very significant costs, in the fourth quarter and beyond."
Campbell would not estimate what future costs might be, nor would he discuss the cost of severance packages for departing officials, including former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Scott and former Chief Operating Officer David Vandewater.
Published reports have estimated Scott's severance package at about $10 million.
In its third-quarter report, Columbia said it has repurchased about $840 million shares of its stock as part of its previously announced $1 billion stock buyback program. Columbia said it has $160 million in cash on hand for future stock repurchases.