HMA, Tenet still face financial struggles

Health Management Associates has had a rough second quarter, putting in it in the unenviable position of being perhaps the worst-positioned major hospital player, according to some analysts. Both HMA and Tenet had difficult second-quarter results, with Tenet posting its second quarterly loss in a row and HMS reporting a significant drop in second-quarter admissions.

The thing is, Tenet could at least boast improved bad-debt control and a smaller loss that had been cut by half from the previous quarter, as well as admissions gains of at least 2.5 percent in most of its regions. It also saw a growth in outpatient volume, including a 3.4 percent growth in outpatient surgery cases through its freestanding ambulatory surgery centers. (One major downside, however, was that commercially-insured admissions fell by 2.2 percent.)

HMA, meanwhile, missed both top-line and bottom-line estimates for Q2. Revenue was up 3.9 percent to $1.11 billion, falling below its $1.13 billion forecast, and net income grew 4.1 percent to $12.4 million. That doesn't sound terrible, but earnings per share still came in a penny short of Wall Street targets.

Generating more concern from company watchers, HMA's admissions fell 3.8 percent in the second quarter, mostly caused by a drop in insured patients. However, observers say some of these problems may have been generated by problems at HMA's Franklin Regional in North Carolina, which has been threatened with a loss in CMS certification over quality problems.

To learn more about the chains' performance:
- read this piece from TheStreet.com

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