Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., said it expects to report a loss of $117 million, or 25 cents per share, when it announces its first-quarter results next week. The expected loss largely reflects the cost of Tenet's massive restructuring, but the company also reported declining revenue and soaring bad-debt expense. Tenet lost $20 million, or 4 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Not counting revenue at hospitals held for sale, Tenet said its 2004 first-quarter revenue declined $81 million, or 2.9%, to $2.67 billion. Tenet said directly controllable costs, such as salaries and supplies, were up 2.6%, but bad-debt expense climbed 29% to $293 million. With lower revenue, however, all of the cost lines were up as a percentage of revenue, with bad-debt expense rising the most rapidly, up to 11% of revenue for the quarter versus 8.3% for the year-ago quarter. Tenet owns or operates 100 hospitals, with 31 slated for divestiture. -- by Vince Galloro
Overhaul, bad debt behind Tenet's projected loss
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