In spite of a shaky start to 2013, the country's largest hospital chain will report an improvement in its year-over-year earnings results for the second consecutive quarter.
HCA shows improved earnings for 2nd straight quarter
HCA's results are closely watched by Wall Street because it typically has the strongest volumes in its peer group and aggressively manages its costs.
Weak inpatient and outpatient volume hit the bottom line of all for-profit hospital operators in the first quarter of the year, but HCA managed to improve its performance in the second quarter, unlike some of its peers.
A.J. Rice, an analyst at UBS, forecast a 3.1% decline in same-facility admissions across the industry, based on the investment bank's own hospital surveys. In a note to clients, he added that HCA usually leads the pack in volumes, and rural hospital operators—such as Community Health Systems and Health Management Associates—are likely to report the largest volume declines.
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