HCA to return $6B in federal COVID-19 aid

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare released a preview of its third-quarter financial results on Oct. 8 and said it is returning $6 billion in federal grants and loans meant to offset financial strain tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Earlier this year, the 186-hospital system received about $6 billion made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. It received $1.6 billion in provider relief grants and $4.4 billion in Medicare accelerated payments. The grants do not have to be repaid, and the accelerated payments are loans that the company would have to start repaying one year from when they were issued. 

HCA, which ended the second quarter with a $1.1 billion profit, didn't need the emergency relief aid and said it will return the funds. 

"As the initial immediacy of the emergency has passed, and with more information, and more experience managing our operations during the pandemic, we believe returning these taxpayer dollars is appropriate and the socially responsible thing to do," HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen said in a news release. "Our focus will remain on supporting our patients, employees and physicians and continuing the vital role we play in the communities we serve."

The company said it expects to report revenues of $13.3 billion for the third quarter of this year, up from $12.7 billion a year earlier. Income before taxes is expected to be about $950 million, compared to $979 million in the same quarter of 2019. 

HCA said it will release its complete financial and operating results for the third quarter later this month. 

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