Health Management Associates, Naples, Fla., said its hospitals will step up their collection efforts with self-pay accounts because the facilities have gained a reputation for less-aggressive collection practices than other nearby hospitals. As a result, HMA said, its hospitals are treating an unfairly large share of uninsured patients relative to nearby hospitals.
In a conference call to discuss third-quarter earnings, Kelly Curry, HMAs executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the company learned this by interviewing patients. HMA already offers 60% discounts off gross charges to uninsured patients, and now that will be coupled with more aggressively pursuing patients, first by trying to get them to sign a promissory note before leaving the hospital and eventually by moving their accounts to collection agencies more quickly, Curry said.
The company, which has 59 hospitals in 15 states, also said that it may sell as many as three hospitals by mid-2008 in addition to two that are currently held for sale. The hospitals were not named.
HMA said net income for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 was $30.5 million, or less than half of the $74.4 million net income that it recorded in the third quarter of 2006. Revenue was up 8.2% to $1.07 billion. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, net income was $107.4 million, compared with $239 million in the year-ago period. Revenue was up 10.5% to $3.31 billion. -- by Vince Galloro
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your letter to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.