Ardent Health Services, Nashville, said it will restate financials for 2003 and the first half of 2004 after an independent review of accounting at Ardent's Lovelace Sandia Health System, Albuquerque, indicated earnings for the periods may have been overstated by at least $17.5 million. Ardent said it expects to file amended reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission by the end of the first quarter of 2005. It has yet to report third-quarter results. In an unrelated announcement, Ardent said it expects to take a $26 million noncash impairment charge in the fourth quarter as part of an ongoing effort to consolidate its acute-care patient accounting and clinical information systems to one platform.
Ardent said that based on preliminary results of the review, accounting to reconcile accounts between Lovelace Sandia's health plan and five hospitals overstated pre-tax income from continuing operations by $14.5 million in the first half of 2004 and between $3 million and $8 million in 2003. The company said it is taking "appropriate employee disciplinary action." Ardent operates 15 acute-care and 20 behavioral-care hospitals. It created Lovelace Sandia through acquisitions in 2002. -- by Michael Romano