Province Healthcare Co., Brentwood, Tenn., said the increase in its bad-debt expense during the first quarter was more than offset by savings on labor costs, as the company reported 17.3% higher profits and brought its profit margin up 0.3 percentage points to 5.6%. Province earned $11.6 million, or 23 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with $9.9 million, or 20 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 9.9% to $204.9 million. The company reported bad-debt expense equal to 9.9% of revenue, up from 8.6% in the year-ago quarter, but the proportion of revenue devoted to benefits, salaries and wages fell nearly two percentage points to 36.9%. Adjusted admissions increased 2.6%. Province owns 20 hospitals in 13 states, including one hospital it's selling May 1. -- by Vince Galloro
Savings on labor costs elevate Province's profits
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