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Community Health Systems 1Q income edges higher

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) -- Hospital operator Community Health Systems Inc. said Monday its net income grew 5 percent in the first quarter despite a decrease in admissions.

Community Health Systems said adjusted admissions, which includes both inpatient surgeries and outpatient procedures, fell 3.5 percent. Adjusted admissions at hospitals that have been open and owned by the company for at least a year fell 5.2 percent. Community Health Systems said about half the decline came from the shorter quarter — 2012 was a leap year and the first quarter was a day longer — and the earlier Easter holiday in 2013.

Admissions at hospitals open at least a year are considered an important measurement of performance. They exclude results from facilities that have opened or closed in the last 12 months.

Community Health Systems said its profit increased to $79.2 million, or 86 cents per share, from $75.5 million, or 85 cents per share. The company said it earned 87 cents per share if a charge related to debt payments is excluded. Net revenue rose to $3.31 billion from $3.3 billion.

Analysts were expecting net income of 85 cents per share on revenue of $3.37 billion, according to FactSet.

The company owns, leases or operates 135 general acute-care hospitals in 29 states. It focuses on non-urban and mid-size markets.

For the full year Community Health Systems is now forecasting net income of $3.50 to $3.80 per share from continuing operations, down from an earlier estimate of $3.50 to $3.90 per share. It also lowered the high end of its revenue forecast, saying it expects $13.3 billion to $13.6 billion in revenue excluding money it sets aside to cover unpaid bills. It had called for $13.3 billion to $13.8 billion in revenue.

Analysts are projecting net income of $3.69 per share on revenue of $13.57 billion on average.

The company now says adjusted admissions at hospitals open at least a year could fall as much as 2 percent or grow as much as 1 percent. It had forecast growth of 0.5 percent to 2 percent.

Shares of Community Health Systems rose 3.6 percent to $45.09 on Monday. The stock gained 50 cents to $45.59 in aftermarket trading following the release of the earnings report.