Health Management Associates, Naples, Fla., managed to boost volume for its fourth quarter ended Sept. 30 despite disruptions wreaked by hurricanes on its Southeast operations, although profits would have been stagnant without a $10 million after-tax insurance settlement from the 2004 hurricane season. HMA earned $87.8 million, up nearly 17% from the year-ago quarter, while revenue rose nearly 19% to $920.8 million. Same-hospital and adjusted admissions increased 0.3% and 2.8%, respectively. Those figures include Biloxi (Miss.) Regional Medical Center, whose operations were severely limited by Hurricane Katrina. For the year, HMA earned $353.1 million, up 9% from fiscal 2004, and revenue rose 13% to $3.59 billion. Admissions were flat. Adjusted admissions increased 2%.
HMA also said it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Gilmore Memorial Hospital, Amory, Miss. The company has two other hospital deals pending. It said its goal for the year is five to seven hospital acquisitions. HMA also said it is negotiating to sell Williamson (W.Va.) Memorial Hospital, its only hospital in West Virginia, saying the malpractice environment there is hurting operations by driving physicians out of state. The hospital was excluded from same-hospital operational figures. HMA currently owns or operates 57 hospitals in 16 states.
In other for-profit hospital chain news, HCA said it expects to buy back 28.75 million shares worth about $1.44 billion based on the initial response to its tender offer. HCA said it could repurchase up to an additional $1 billion in shares. -- by Vince Galloro