LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn., reported lower volume figures for the first quarter, in keeping with a trend at other investor-owned chains; the company's profit, however, increased by nearly 30%. Among the 23 hospitals LifePoint has operated for at least 12 months, the company said equivalent admissions fell 1.7% and outpatient surgeries fell 1.6%, compared with the first quarter of 2002. Inpatient surgeries rose 0.1%, but ambulatory surgeries outnumbered inpatient surgeries by a 3-to-1 margin. LifePoint said a mild flu season and poor weather were the reasons for lower volume. The company earned $17.7 million, or 45 cents per share, compared with $13.7 million, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue was up 22% to $220.9 million. LifePoint owns or operates 28 rural hospitals. -- by Vince Galloro
LifePoint also reports lagging patient volume
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