HCA, Nashville, said it expects its provision for doubtful accounts receivable to be $694 million for the first quarter, 62% higher than its $428 million provision for the 2003 quarter. Still, the company said its expects first-quarter revenue to rise 12.6% to $5.9 billion, on 6.4% growth in inpatient admissions. Admissions of uninsured patients rose 14% over the year-ago quarter's total, the company said. As a result, HCA lowered its full-year earnings guidance to between $2.60 per share and $2.70 per share, from between $2.85 per share and $2.95 per share. Full first-quarter results are expected next week. -- by Patrick Reilly
HCA lowers outlook on rise in uninsured patients
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