UPDATE 2-Tenet lowers outlook as patient admissions decline; shares fall
* Earnings, excluding items, of 66 cents below analysts' view of 69 cents
* Shares decline 4.1 percent in early NYSE trading
Aug 6 (Reuters) - Tenet Healthcare Corp, which is buying smaller hospital operator Vanguard Health Systems Inc , on Tuesday reported a bigger second-quarter net loss as it admitted fewer patients to its facilities, prompting it to lower its full-year outlook. Its shares fell 4.1 percent. Admissions to hospitals have slumped across the industry this year as consumers who either lack health insurance or face higher deductibles on their health plans responded by staying away from the doctor. Tenet, the third-largest for-profit U.S. hospital chain, said its inpatient admissions declined 3.5 percent in the quarter, offsetting a 2.5 percent rise in outpatient visits. The combined figure, called adjusted admissions, declined 0.7 percent. "The admissions trends that Tenet saw in the quarter were comparable to what were reported by others in the hospital group. The high-deductible plans are having an impact, as well as the economy, but it's hard to isolate one factor as the cause of the pressures," said Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Chris Rigg. Dallas-based Tenet reported a net loss of $50 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with a loss of $6 million, or 6 cents a share, a year earlier. Income from continuing operations, excluding one-time items, rose to 66 cents a share from 41 cents. On that basis, analysts had expected a profit of 69 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Net operating revenue rose 6.9 percent to $2.42 billion. Earnings before interest, taxes, appreciation and amortization rose 16.7 percent to $336 million. Bad debt expense increased by $17 million to $207 million in the quarter, compared with a year ago, as a result of treating uninsured patients. For full-year 2013, Tenet said it now expected EBITDA, excluding special items, of $1.25 billion to $1.30 billion, below its previous forecast range of $1.33 billion to $1.43 billion. The forecast excludes any impact from the Vanguard acquisition, which is expected to close before the end of the year, the company said. Tenet in June announced it would buy Vanguard for $1.73 billion to bulk up partly to gain more leverage in negotiations with managed care companies and drug and device suppliers as pressure increases on healthcare providers to reduce costs under President Barack Obama's reform law. Shares of Tenet fell $1.83 to $42.83 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.