Controlling expenses keeps for-profit hospital balance sheets healthy

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 23, 2012

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Patient volumes remained soft at for-profit hospitals, but these institutions maintained financial wellness by keeping a lid on expenses, particularly those related to servicing debt, according to a report on the third quarter of 2011, issued Jan. 9 by Fitch Ratings.

"While companies' capital structures are in good shape heading into 2012, the operating forecast is somewhat more concerning," the report's authors wrote.

Hospital admissions went down 1.2% on average in the third quarter of 2011 compared with the second quarter of that year. Report authors noted, however, that hospital companies took advantage of refinancing opportunities.

For example, Tenet Healthcare Corp. which operates 50 hospitals in 11 states, will save about $10 million in 2012 by refinancing $714 million in loans. Community Health Systems, which runs 133 hospitals in 29 states, most likely will save $9 million after refinancing $1 billion in unsecured notes.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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