LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn., said it reversed a second-quarter loss from a year ago, although volume figures were mostly flat or down slightly and the company's operating margin fell. LifePoint reported net income of $15.3 million, or 40 cents per share, compared with a loss of $2.5 million, or 7 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 25% to $221.6 million. A $25 million charge for early retirement of debt was behind the loss in last year's second quarter. At the 23 hospitals LifePoint has operated for more than 12 months, admissions and equivalent admissions were flat, inpatient surgeries and emergency room visits fell 0.7% and 2.2%, respectively, and outpatient surgeries rose 1%. Operating margins were squeezed as the costs of doing business -- salaries and benefits, supplies and other operating expenses -- climbed faster than revenue. LifePoint reported a 19% operating margin in the 2003 second quarter, compared with 21.8% in the year-ago quarter. The company has added five hospitals in the past 12 months, giving it 28 total. -- by Vince Galloro
LifePoint reports mostly flat volumes, lower margin
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