HCA's Q1 Profit Inches Ahead 0.9%

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Net income at Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America grew a modest 0.9 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014, totaling $347 million.

HCATotal revenue increased 4.6 percent to more than $8.83 billion, compared with $8.44 billion in the first quarter last year. HCA's same-hospital admissions dropped 0.6 percent, but revenue per equivalent admission increased 3.7 percent, indicating HCA treated more high-acuity patients.

HCA President and CEO Milton Johnson said in a news release that despite the lower admissions and modest profit growth, HCA was well-positioned for a positive year. "We are pleased with results for the first quarter," he said. "As expected, healthcare reform had minimal impact on the company's first-quarter results; however, we remain optimistic regarding the potential long-term benefits."

While HCA downplayed the reforms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, like Medicaid expansion, two other for-profit chains recently said the healthcare law definitely boosted their most recent bottom lines. LifePoint Hospitals, based in Brentwood, Tenn., posted a 14.5 percent increase in net earnings in the first quarter, totaling $37.1 million. Universal Health Services in King of Prussia, Pa., recorded a 15.2 percent boost in first-quarter profit, and its acute-care hospitals alone had a 19.8 percent operating margin.

HCA reaffirmed its guidance ranges for 2014, which included revenue of $35.5 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $6.6 billion on the low ends. As of March 31, HCA controlled 165 hospitals and 115 ambulatory surgery centers.

More Articles on HCA:
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HCA May Acquire Australian Hospital Operator
For-Profit Hospital Stock Report: Week of April 21-25, 2014

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