Triad Hospitals, Dallas, earned $49.2 million, or 64 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $10.4 million, or 14 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 20% to $1.11 billion. Triad's 2003 third-quarter earnings were depressed by a $50.6 million increase in bad-debt expense to catch up with what the firm said was a rapidly decreasing likelihood of collecting self-pay accounts and outstanding deductibles and copayments. Even as Triad's revenue growth was strong in the most recent quarter, fueled by higher pricing and volume, the firm's bad-debt expense was 10.9% of net revenue, 3 percentage points lower than the year-ago quarter with the catch-up increase but higher than analysts expected. Triad operates 51 hospitals and 14 ambulatory surgery centers.
Community Health Systems, Brentwood, Tenn., said its profits for the quarter were $32 million, or 32 cents per share, compared with $31.7 million, or 31 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue climbed 18% to $844 million. Inpatient admissions fell 1.7% at hospitals operated for more than 12 months, but outpatient volume increased enough so that adjusted admissions were up 1%. Several charges held down Community's profits, including after-tax losses of $1.5 million related to hurricanes that hit the Southeast and $5.6 million on discontinued operations. Community owns or operates 71 hospitals. -- by Vince Galloro