Community Health Systems this week will be the third of the five publicly traded hospital chains to report its fourth-quarter and full-year 2014 earnings.
The Franklin, Tenn.-based chain will release its results Thursday after markets close, with an earnings call the following morning. Tenet Healthcare Corp. and Universal Health Services will follow with their results on Feb. 23 and Feb. 26, respectively.
The Affordable Care Act has been good for publicly traded chains, boosting market caps throughout 2014 as earnings results largely beat analyst expectations.
HCA and LifePoint Hospitals already have reported their 2014 numbers. Both chains saw gains in revenue and patient volume and a decrease in self-pay patients. But the acquisitive LifePoint saw a decrease in net income on higher expenses, while HCA's net income increased 24.3%.
Community, the biggest chain by hospital count, already has offered a preview of its fourth-quarter results, which shows patient-volume gains. But a number of one-time items and accounting changes mean the results won't be as strong as analysts anticipated.
For 2015, HCA and LifePoint offered earnings projections that analysts deemed conservative, given the strong benefits from healthcare reform both chains saw last year.
Still, Moody's Investors Service revised its rating on for-profit hospitals Friday from positive to stable because it expects benefits from the ACA to wane in the second half of the year.