These factors were set forth under the forward-looking statement section of our press release for the first quarter of 2010, as well as under the caption "Risk Factors" in our 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009.Although we believe that these statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we cannot guarantee future results. Given these uncertainties, the forward-looking statements discussed on this teleconference might not occur. Cross Country Healthcare does not have a policy of updating or revising forward-looking statements and thus it should not be assumed that our silence over time means that actual events are occurring as expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. And now, I will turn the call over to Joe. Joe Boshart Thank you, Howard. And thank to everyone listening in for joining us this morning. As reported in our press release issued last evening, our revenue for the first quarter of 2010 was $121 million, down 31% from a year ago. Net income was $1.1 million, down 63% from the year-ago quarter. EPS was $0.04 per diluted share and cash flow for the first quarter was $10.3 million. On a sequential basis, revenue was down 2% from the fourth quarter of 2009, which was primarily the result of two less billing days. So at this point we believe we have weathered the worst of the downturn in our operating environment and have emerged in an attractive competitive position, given the relative strength of our balance sheet and our recent organic market share gains. Two years ago on our quarterly public conference call and reiterated several times subsequently, we outlined our strategy to investors, which was to grow our market position and our margins in our core nurse and allied staffing business, make strategic acquisitions in high-growth, high-margin businesses, opportunistically buy back our shares and maintain a strong balance sheet to provide financial flexibility.
While these strategic objectives may not have sounded particularly exciting at the time, our discipline in staying true to these objectives has resulted in our relative outperformance, vis-a-vis competitors. And at all times, we maintain control of our destiny by staying well within the covenants and commitments we made to our lenders in the past. As a result, we believe we currently have the lowest borrowing cost among major competitors in our industry.In 2009, despite the worst operating environment in almost two decades, we maintained profitability in every quarter, even after including a significant cost to right size our organization, which were accounted for as ordinary operating expenses. At the same time we re-engineered processes and improved the capacity of our operating platform so that when substantial staffing volume growth does return, we expect to be more efficient and more profitable than in the past in a healthcare market that continues to have very attractive long-term characteristics. Our present challenge is to maintain the same level of discipline in our management approach while also being open to compelling M&A opportunities now that the market appears to have found a bottom. While we are not happy with the results we reported last evening, we believe they should be looked at on a relative basis. To wit, our gross margin in the first quarter was up 270 basis points from the prior year and when looked at over the past two years relative to public competitors, it is clear no one has done a better job on this critical metric. Even with this focus on margins, we believe our market share in travel nurse and allied staffing has increased versus all major competitors during 2008 and 2009. We ended the quarter with a debt leverage ratio comfortably within the maximum leverage allowed under our credit agreement. And more importantly, during the second quarter we made the final earn-out payment for the MDA acquisition of $12.8 million using cash on hand and expect to end the quarter with less debt than we began the quarter. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com