The Journal Gazette
Thursday, July 29, 2021 1:00 am

CHS continues to see rocky performance in 2nd quarter

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

Community Health Systems' financial performance continued its roller-coaster ride during the second quarter.

Lutheran Health Network's parent company on Wednesday reported second-quarter earnings of $6 million, or 4 cents per diluted common share, a 91% plummet from the $70 million, or 61 cents a share, reported for the same period last year.

Community Health also reported a loss of $58 million, or 46 cents a share, for the first half of this year, a $145 million swing from earnings of $87 million, or 76 cents a share, for the first six months of 2020.

Special items for the six months ended June 30 included a $79 million penalty for paying off debt early; $8 million of that was incurred during the second quarter.

The Franklin, Tennessee-based company issued $1.44 billion in junior-priority secured notes at 61/8% interest during the second quarter. It used the proceeds to pay the remainder due on secured notes issued at 81/8% interest.

The company has slightly whittled down long-term debt during the last 12 months. The amount totaled $11.9 billion as of June 30. Long-term debt was $12.1 billion as of Dec. 31.

Earnings haven't been a given for the health care provider. Community Health has reported a string of quarterly losses that totaled billions during the last few years. The company's annual loss for 2017 alone was $2.46 billion. This year's first-quarter result was a $64 million net loss.

CEO Tim Hingtgen said the company saw “a solid rebound” of non-coronavirus patients during the quarter just ended.

“Our strong results in the period were driven by ongoing initiatives to attract new patients, along with efforts to re-engage and retain patients who have previously utilized our healthcare systems,” he said in a statement.

“As we continue to position the company for long-term success, we believe our recent capital investments and other strategic programs are supporting growth, while cost management and margin improvement programs are also adding value,” he said.

Those investments include the new Lutheran Downtown Hospital at Van Buren and West Main streets. The hospital is on pace to accept patients early next year.

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