Carolinas HealthCare loses $112M for first half of '08

Citing losses from its investments--an ailment afflicting many of its brethren--Carolinas HealthCare System has reported a loss of more than $111.8 million for the first half of the year. On the other hand the chain, the third-largest public health system in the nation, reported net income from operations of $137.7 million. The loss on the first half of the year came entirely from a $154 million drop in the value of the system's investments, officials said.

For the six months ended June 30, Carolinas HealthCare grew its net operating revenue to almost $1.48 billion, up 33 percent from the $1.11 billion a year earlier. About 22 percent of the gain in net operating revenue came from the health system's merger with NorthEast Medical Center in June 2007.

The system, which operates 22 hospitals, saw operating cash-flow margin improve by 27 percent during the half-year, to $146.9 million, but its operating income fell 39 percent to $27.7 million. That reduction came from increases in interest expenses and depreciation and amortization. Operating income was a bit below the hospital's budget (about $393,000), partly due to a decline in patient volume.

All told, despite some hiccups, Carolinas HealthCare seems to be in decent shape. For example, despite the losses it suffered on investments, it was still solvent enough to spend $170 million on capital projects during the first half of this year, including a facility replacement, operating room projects and a major hospital expansion.

To learn more about these results:
- read this Charlotte Business Journal piece