- HCA Healthcare reported on Tuesday revenue of $11.4 billion for the first quarter of 2018, a 7.5% increase from the same time period in 2017.
- Total reported admissions increased 4.6% year-over-year for the quarter. Same facility revenue per equivalent admission increased 3.9%.
- The hospital giant's guidance ranges remain unchanged for this year.
HCA investors may have been expecting more, with the stock down 2% in early trade. Results included gains from sale of its hospitals primarily in Oklahoma and also a tax benefit, the company said in a statement.
The Nashville-based company’s total debt/adjusted EBITDA was decreased slightly from 4.02x as of the end of 2017 to 3.99x as of March 31.
HCA repurchased 4.3 billion shares of its own common stock, valued at $423 million. The company is planning to invest more in its growth through a planned acquisition of the six-hospital system Mission Health.
It’s possible these moves negatively impacted the company’s stock despite increases in revenue and admissions. Still, the company has seen 16 consecutive growth quarters, executives said.
The hospital giant remains bullish on inpatient beds. The operator had 2,371 more beds at the end of the first quarter compared to the same time period in 2017. It also has more facilities. HCA currently has 178 hospitals and 120 outpatient surgery centers, both increases from the same time period last year.
The moves are paying off so far. In addition to same-facility admissions increasing, same facility emergency room visits increased 3.5% in the first quarter. Inpatient surgeries increased 0.3%.
However, outpatient surgeries declined 0.5% in the first quarter of 2018 year-over-year.
Samuel Hazen, president and COO, said on the earnings call behavioral health and rehabilitation admissions grew, as well as freestanding ER visits. He said there was strong growth in higher acuity visits, though low acuity visits also slightly increased.
It serves as a reminder that while health systems are actively pursuing lower acuity care settings to build out regional networks of care, inpatient revenue will continue to be hospitals’ crown jewels.
Investors were more pleased with the Tenet results. The Dallas-based chain, which also experienced a boost in revenue and increased its 2018 guidance range, saw its shares rise by double-digits in early trade.