Universal Health Services said it increased profits for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2003, despite weak same-hospital volume, while Province Healthcare Co. said its profits fell thanks to a $9 million charge for the pending sale of a Florida hospital. UHS, King of Prussia, Pa., said profits rose almost 14% to $199.3 million, or $3.20 per share, in 2003, compared with $175.4 million, or $2.74 per share, in 2002. Revenue was up 11.8% to $3.6 billion. For the quarter, UHS earned $46.5 million, or 75 cents per share, compared with $43.9 million, or 69 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue climbed 13.6% to $949.5 million. At the 25 acute-care hospitals the company has operated for at least 12 months, adjusted admissions were up 0.3% for the year and down 1.4% for the quarter. At the 37 behavioral hospitals UHS has operated for at least 12 months, adjusted admissions rose 2.2% for the year and 4.5% for the quarter. The volume figures exclude the company's holdings in France. UHS owns or operates 29 acute-care and 39 behavioral-health hospitals in North America.
Province, Brentwood, Tenn., said its earnings fell 12.4% to $31.7 million, or 67 cents per share, in 2003, compared with $36.1 million, or 73 cents per share, in 2002. Revenue was up 12.6% to $784.8 million. Fourth-quarter profits fell more than 40% to $2.3 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with $4 million, or 8 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Quarterly revenue increased 14.9% to $199.1 million. Province took a $9 million charge related to the $2.3 million sale of 65-bed Glades General Hospital, Belle Glade, Fla., to the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. Province bought the hospital from the district in 1999 for $15.1 million. Province said admissions grew strongly, reflecting the recruitment of 106 physicians to replace an undisclosed number who left the company's hospitals in 2002. Excluding Glades General, adjusted admissions grew 3.1% for the year and 8.7% for the quarter. Province will own or operate 19 hospitals after the Glades General sale is completed. -- by Vince Galloro