HCA, Nashville, said third-quarter net income fell 14.3% to $240 million, down from $280 million in the year-ago quarter, because of a rise in bad-debt expense and a drop in hospital-based outpatient surgeries. Revenue rose 3.1% to $6.21 billion. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, HCA earned net income of $914 million, down 16.8% from the year-ago period, but revenue was up 4.2% to $18.99 billion. HCAs inpatient admissions climbed 0.1% in the third quarter, but equivalent admissions, which include outpatient visits, were down 0.9% -- largely because of a 4.8% drop in hospital-based outpatient surgeries. Bad-debt expense for the quarter was 10.9% of revenue, up from 10.3% in the year-ago quarter. Charity care also rose, to 5.3% of revenue from 4.9% a year ago. HCA plans to conduct a special shareholders meeting on Nov. 16 to seek approval of its proposed buyout. The $33 billion deal is being led by three private equity groups, Thomas Frist Jr. and family, and senior management. HCA owns or operates 172 hospitals and 95 freestanding outpatient centers in 21 states. -- by Vince Galloro
HCA says profits down, bad debt up
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