Ardent Health Services, Nashville, reported higher profits on rising patient volume in both acute-care and behavioral-health hospitals for the three months ended March 31. But the company also said bad-debt expense rose as a percentage of net patient revenue, consistent with the experience of other investor-owned chains. Privately held Ardent said profits were $6.1 million for the first quarter, compared with $2.6 million for the year-ago quarter. Total revenue rose 17.9% to $366.5 million, consisting of $190.6 million in net patient revenue, $155.2 million in premium revenue and $20.7 million in other revenue. Bad debt, as a percentage of patient revenue, climbed to 9% from 7.3% in the year-ago quarter. At Ardent's seven acute-care and rehabilitation hospitals, admissions and adjusted admissions were up 5.5% and 9.2%, respectively, over year-ago figures. At the company's 20 behavioral-health hospitals, admissions and adjusted admissions each rose 4.7%. -- by Vince Galloro
Higher admissions help Ardent offset bad debt
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