Kindred earnings soar in first quarter

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Profits at Kindred Healthcare Inc., one of the nation's largest nursing home chains, shot up by 87% in the quarter ending March 31, 2008, to nearly $15 million, as the company performed higher than expected, with particularly strong results in February and March, the company said.

Basic earnings-per-share rose to $0.39, compared with $0.20 per share during the same period a year ago. That exceeded expectations of $0.22 to $0.27 per share. Meanwhile, revenues slipped by 4% in the quarter to slightly more than $1 billion. The decline was primarily attributable to the July 2007 spin-off of the company's pharmacy business.

Kindred raised its earnings-per-share range for 2008 to $1.40 to $1.50 from $1.25 to $1.35 per share. The company indicated in its report that the new earnings guidance reflects many regulatory changes issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, including the final rule related to payment rates for long-term acute care hospitals, the May 1 proposed rule related to Medicare payments to nursing centers and a rule related to the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007.