Health Management Associates, Naples, Fla., said its profits rose 16% for the three months ended March 31 as patient volume grew at hospitals it has operated for more than a year and the company controlled bad-debt expense. HMA earned $90.5 million, or 37 cents per share, for its second quarter, compared with $78.1 million, or 31 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue was up nearly 30% to $833.9 million. For the six months ended March 31, HMA posted profits of $161.8 million, or 66 cents per share, compared with $137.7 million, or 55 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue was up more than 25% to $1.6 billion. Same-hospital adjusted admissions increased 4.1% for the quarter, while bad-debt expense as a percentage of revenue rose slightly to 7.1% from 7%. Salary and benefit expenses grew more rapidly, to 39% of revenue from 38%, and the increase was reflected in a slimmer profit margin, 10.9% versus 12.1% in the year-ago quarter. For the six-month period, HMA's margin declined to 10.8% from 11%. HMA, which added five hospitals to its portfolio in November 2003, owns or operates 52 hospitals in 16 states. -- by Vince Galloro
HMA holds bad-debt growth, reports higher profit
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