HCA Healthcare isn't convinced that the COVID-19 omicron variant is done with it, the for-profit health system's chief executive said on an earnings call Thursday.
During the fourth quarter, 5% of patients admitted to its 182 hospitals had COVID-19, the Nashville, Tennessee-based health system reported. That's significantly lower than the 13% of admissions recorded during the previous three months, but those 27,000 patients were still enough to put a damper on fourth quarter earnings, which fell below Wall Street analysts' estimates.
HCA Healthcare anticipates its COVID-19 volume will decline in the coming weeks, but still expects 3% to 5% of admissions this year will be patients infected with the novel coronavirus, CEO Sam Hazen said.
HCA Healthcare generated $15.1 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter, up 5.4% from the prior-year period, and full-year 2021 revenue grew 14% to $58.8 billion.
The health system's net income rose 28.6% to $1.8 billion in the fourth quarter while full-year profit grew 85% to almost $7 billion. Earnings before income, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $3.1 billion in the fourth quarter, up less than 1%, while full-year EBITDA increased 26%.
HCA Healthcare expects revenue to reach $60 billion to $62 billion this year and projects $5.8 billion in profit, a decline from 2021.
HCA's share price dipped sharply Thursday morning on the underwhelming financial results but rebounded and closed at 4.7% below than the previous day's close. That compares to a 0.02% decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a 0.14% increase in the S&P 500 Health Care index, which includes HCA Healthcare.