HCA's profits climb
* HCA, Nashville, said earlier this month that its profits rose for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2003. However, its 2002 figures were weighed down by a $603 million charge to settle a federal probe of its Medicare billing. The company said it earned $317 million, or 63 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $102 million, or 20 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue was up 11% to $5.6 billion. For 2003, HCA earned $1.3 billion, or $2.61 per share, vs. $968 million, or $1.59 per share, in 2002. Revenue climbed 10.5% to $21.8 billion. HCA owns or operates 191 hospitals.
Vanguard's earnings up
* Vanguard Health Systems, Nashville, said earlier this month that expanded services and flu cases drove volume increases at its hospitals, leading to a fourfold increase in profits for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2003. Privately held Vanguard said it earned $8.9 million for its second quarter, compared with $2.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue was up 65.4% to $442 million. The bulk of the revenue increase came with the addition, effective Jan. 3, 2003, of five-hospital Baptist Health System, San Antonio. Revenue at Vanguard's 11 same-store hospitals was up 8.8%. For the six months ended Dec. 31, 2003, Vanguard posted profits of $14.2 million on revenue of $851.9 million, compared with profits of $4 million on revenue of $535.2 million in the year-ago period. Same-hospital adjusted discharges increased 6.6% for the quarter and 4.1% for the six-month period.