LifePoint posts earnings gain despite drop in admissions
LifePoint Health posted a sizable earnings gain in the second quarter despite feeling the hurt, like other hospital chains, of declining admissions, emergency room visits and surgeries.
The 72-hospital company last week reported net income of $46 million on revenue of $1.6 billion compared with net income of $20.1 million on revenue of $1.6 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
Brentwood, Tenn.-based LifePoint was aided by tight cost controls and favorable comparables with the year-earlier period, when the chain suffered about $15 million in costs from the departure of key doctors at its Marquette, Mich., hospital.
LifePoint joined HCA, Community Health Systems and Universal Health Services in reducing its earnings guidance for the rest of 2017, largely on less-than-expected revenue. In the second quarter, LifePoint saw admissions fall 3% year-over-year, inpatient surgeries drop 8%, outpatient surgeries 3.5% and emergency room visits 3%. The silver lining in the latter statistic was that half of the decline in ER visits was from fewer uncompensated-care cases.
In an earnings call, LifePoint CEO Bill Carpenter said some of the volume challenges, especially in larger markets, may be the result of increased competition from physicians and ambulatory surgery centers.