HCA to invest $5B to help build market share

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare may be coy about giving guidance for 2024 but it has big plans for the next few years as it seeks to build its market share to 29% by 2030.

To help do that, the 183-hospital system is investing $5.3 billion in already approved projects. That figure came out of the company's investor day Nov. 9.

Included in the $5.3 billion figure, HCA has 62 approved outpatient projects to build freestanding emergency centers and ASCs, totaling $1 billion, and has an additional 200 projects under consideration. HCA is aiming to grow its freestanding ER footprint by 36% over the next two years.

In addition to those investments, the for-profit system expects to drive growth through cost savings and improved benchmarking where facilities can share best practices to improve outcomes and reduce variable costs.

"All in all, management expects $600 million to $800 million of savings over the next five years," Ben Hendrix, analyst at RBC, said in a research note.

Those savings can help HCA drive EBITDA growth toward the higher end of its targeted 4% to 6% over the next few years, he added.

HCA is also investing heavily to address labor shortages, building its Galen College of Nursing from five to 20 campuses, according to the research note. An additional 10 campuses are expected to open by 2026, increasing nursing enrollment from 13,000 to 29,000.

HCA, which reported operating income of $1.63 billion for the third quarter on revenue of $16.2 billion, expects its targeted EBITDA growth of the next few years will be met in 2024.

"While our planning process for 2024 is not complete, we currently believe that our 2024 expectations will fall within the targeted ranges above," HCA CEO Sam Hazen said in a statement ahead of its investor day.

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