Bloomberg News

Community Health Systems Sinks as Hospital Admissions Fall

October 27, 2011

(Updates shares in first and second paragraphs.)

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Community Health Systems Inc., the second-largest U.S. hospital operator, plunged the most in two months after the company reported a decline in third-quarter patient admissions.

Community Health, based in Franklin, Tennessee, dropped 11 percent to $17.96 at the close of trading in New York, the biggest decline since Aug. 8. The shares have tumbled 52 percent this year.

Total admissions in the third quarter fell 0.7 percent, and were 7 percent lower on a same-location basis, Community Health said yesterday in a statement. That was more than the 4.5 percent decrease Lazard Capital Markets analyst Thomas Gallucci had estimated, due to shifts to outpatient from inpatient services and fewer cases of the flu, he said.

“We generally view the quarter as reflecting strong management of a business currently driving a weak top-line,” Gallucci wrote in a research note today. “Despite very weak admission trends, strong cost controls” helped boost earnings, he said.

Net income rose 5.5 percent to $74.3 million, or 83 cents a share, on sales that increased 8.7 percent to $3.4 billion.

Community Health owns or operates 131 hospitals in the U.S., according to its statement.

--Editors: Angela Zimm, Bruce Rule

To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net


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