Weak admissions and a deteriorating payer mix will mark the rest of 2017 after they conspired to ruin the second-quarter earnings season for hospital stocks.
Patients avoiding elective surgeries and other procedures because of skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs were cited by hospital chains as a primary cause of softening hospital volumes in the second quarter.
Tenet Healthcare, the nation's third-largest investor-owned hospital chain, wants to offload facilities that don't fit its long-term strategy so it can focus on its primary markets where it is first or second in market share.
Tenet, the nation's third-largest investor-owned hospital chain, saw its adjusted admissions decline 1.4% compared with the year before.
Buyer interest in more Community Health Systems hospitals has the chain unloading another $1.5 billion in annualized hospital revenue to reduce debt and focus resources in core markets.
LifePoint posted a second-quarter earnings gain but has come face-to-face with a deteriorating admissions trend.
Hospital stocks have received a one-two punch thanks to the Senate's attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and a poor start to the second-quarter earnings season.
Universal Health Services missed analyst expectations and reduced its annual earnings guidance after income from operations in the second quarter matched that of a year ago.
Community Health Systems suffered 2.5% admission drop as operating losses continued into the second quarter, according to a preliminary earnings report. The results were laden with special expenses as the chain divests hospitals to reduce its $15 billion debt.
Investors will be watching beginning this week to see if hospitals maintained admission and outpatient volumes during the second quarter.
Hospitals are taking advantage of favorable borrowing rates to raise money in the bond markets for acquisitions and debt refinancing. But will they lament the binge?
Brian Bauer, CEO of Community Health Systems' Fort Wayne hospitals, has been fired in the wake of a failed physician effort to find a buyer for the eight hospitals.