An uptick in uncompensated and charitable care plus a major write-off from shedding a Missouri teaching hospital threw Tenet Healthcare Corp. into the red in the third quarter, even though the Dallas-based hospital chain continues to see greater patient volume.
The company reported a loss of $29 million in the third quarter on $4.7 billion in revenue compared with a gain of $9 million on $4.2 billion in the prior-year period.
Tenet's hospitals saw a 1% increase in admissions, or 2.8% when adjusted for outpatient activity. But while the number of paying admissions increased 0.9%, charity and uninsured admissions increased 3% compared with the same time period a year ago.
Tenet said the increase in charitable care was caused by volume increases in states that did not expand Medicaid.
In August, Tenet completed the sale of its St. Louis University Hospital to St. Louis University, which in turn gave the facility to SSM Health, the large St. Louis-based Catholic healthcare system. The company, which had acquired the teaching hospital in 1998, recorded a $147 million charge in the exchange.
Tenet's acquisitions contributed to its top line growth. The ambulatory-care segment grew to $329 million in the quarter, up from $82 million a year ago, due to the past year's purchase of Dallas-based United Surgical Partners International for $425 million and London-based Aspen Healthcare for $215 million.
Tenet's other segments also grew year-over-year. Conifer, the company's revenue-cycle management division, saw a 17.2% increase in revenue in the third quarter compared with the prior-year period.
In its earnings guidance to investors, Tenet is now forecasting full-year revenue in the range of $18.4 billion to $18.6 billion, up from $17.4 billion to $17.7 billion. It predicted adjusted earnings of $1.76 to $2.11 per share for the full year.