Hospital operator Kindred Healthcare (NYSE:KND) announced today it will begin paying a quarterly dividend to investors at a rate of $0.12 per share.

Noting that it's the first dividend payment in the company's history, Kindred CEO Paul J. Diaz said: "This cash dividend reflects the strength of our operating cash flows, our confidence in our business outlook, and our commitment to growing shareholder value. The quality and strength of our balance sheet, along with a proven track record of generating strong operating cash flows, provides us with the financial flexibility to return capital to shareholders in the form of a dividend while also continuing our strategic development activities in our key integrated care markets."

The board of directors said the quarterly dividend is payable on Sept. 9 to the holders of record at the close of business on Aug. 19. The regular dividend payment equates to a $0.48-per-share annual dividend, yielding 3% based on the closing price today of Kindred's stock.