Hospital operators: Outpatient growth offsets weak inpatient admissions

Although LifePoint Hospitals saw second quarter revenues jump 10.7 percent from the prior year to $827 million, the results were weakened by more physician employment expenses, high tech costs exceeding Meaningful Use payments and falling admissions.

The Tennessee-based hospital operator saw inpatient admissions drop 6.4 percent from last year's second quarter, according to the earnings report released Friday. However, those "soft" inpatient admissions were partially offset by a 13 percent growth in outpatient volumes--driven by more surgeries, emergency department visits and imaging services.

"While we continue to see softer inpatient volumes, we are encouraged by our strong outpatient activity," LifePoint chairman and CEO Bill Carpenter said in an earnings call. "Our acquisition pipeline remains robust, and we will continue to target acquisitions in attractive markets."

Meanwhile, things looked bright for Health Management Associates' second quarter results, which reported a "solid" revenue growth of 20.2 percent to $1.47 billion year-over-year, thanks to increased in admissions, emergency room use and surgeries.

HMA President and CEO Gary Newsome also touted outpatient services as a bright spot for the Florida-based hospital operator amid the stagnant economy and employment market, he said last week in an earnings call.

To learn more:
- read the LifePoint earnings report and call
- check out HMA's earnings call