A disappointing preview of Health Management Associates' first quarter financial results may not bode well for the hospital industry during the next earnings season.
Shares of the Naples, Fla.-based company were trading down about 16% in the hours after a conference call this morning to lower expectations for its 2013 performance.
In a news release Tuesday, the company highlighted a challenging operating environment colored by weak inpatient volumes and increasing numbers of patients who fail to pay their bills.
The hospital chain reported that same-facility admissions for the quarter are expected to decline 8.8%, and adjusted admissions, a measure that also accounts for outpatient activity, to drop about 5.7% compared with the same period last year.
HMA, which has been under investigation for allegedly pressuring physicians to boost admissions, said it saw a 14.1% increase in observation stays compared with the first quarter of last year, and a 40% increase in observation stays lasting longer than 48 hours.