Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., said it will take a $200 million to $225 million charge in the third quarter to reflect increased bad debt caused by an accounting change, higher numbers of uninsured patients and scraps with insurers. Tenet, which will release its third-quarter earnings Nov. 11, also said it won't meet per-share earnings expectations of 80 cents to $1 for the 12 months ending next June. The accounting change requires Tenet to write down delinquent accounts more quickly and makes up nearly half of the increased bad debt, the company said. About one-third of the additional bad debt stems from higher numbers of uninsured and about a 30% decline in collections from self-pay patients who pay at least part of their bills. Tenet said the remainder reflects disputes with some insurers in California that have questioned "substantial blocks" of past claims. Tenet owns and operates 112 hospitals. -- by Vince Galloro
Tenet to take charge for increased bad debt
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