HCA boosts income, stabilizes bad debt expense

Hospital giant HCA, Inc.'s results are in, and particularly given that the U.S. is looking at a recession, they're fairly impressive. HCA said that its second-quarter net income shot up 21.6 percent to $141 million during the quarter ending June 30, 2008, compared with $116 million during the same period last year. HCA execs said that revenues grew 3.7 percent to almost $7 billion, despite drops in surgical volume and flat admissions numbers. 

But that's not its only accomplishment, according to one expert observer. Lehman Brothers analyst Adam Feinstein said that one of the most positive aspects of this quarter's report is that HCA has managed to stabilize its bad debt expenses. During the second quarter, the chain set aside $813 million, or 11.7 percent of revenues, to cover doubtful accounts--as compared with $753 million, or 11.2 percent of revenues, during the same quarter last year. 

True, charity care and uninsured discounts climbed almost 23 percent during the quarter to $869 million, overshooting the company's reserves. But at least the company didn't hemorrhage money on patient debt this quarter.

To learn more about HCA's performance:
- read this Inside ARM article

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