Nashville-based HCA reassured investors on an earnings call last week that its third-quarter challenges are one-time issues.
HCA reported a decrease in net income as its labor costs and uninsured volumes grew and it grappled with higher drug prices. It also incurred legal costs associated with a lawsuit in Kansas City, Mo.
HCA's net income fell to $449 million on nearly $9.9 billion in revenue in the third quarter, versus $518 million in net income on $9.2 billion in revenue during the same period last year. The company blamed rising contract labor costs for its higher expenses.
HCA reported an increase in patient volume in all but one of its 14 domestic divisions, and its 10th consecutive quarter of growth in inpatient surgeries. HCA's hospitals also saw a 13.6% increase in uninsured admissions. About 75% of those came from Florida and Texas, which have not expanded Medicaid eligibility.
The quarter also included $77 million in legal costs from an ongoing dispute with the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, which sued HCA in 2009, alleging that the firm did not fulfill its promised charity care and capital commitments at the hospitals it acquired from Health Midwest in 2003.