For-profit hospital giant HCA Healthcare is benefiting from a rebound in patient traffic this year after a dismal 2020 marked by COVID-19 shutdowns and anxious patients delaying care.
HCA's admissions jumped 17.5% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2021, which ended June 30. The biggest gains occurred in outpatient surgeries, emergency room visits and urgent care visits, the company disclosed in its financial statement.
These signs of a return to normalcy are happening as people with COVID-19 comprise a declining share the patients at HCA's 187 hospitals this year. Just 3% of HCA patients got treated for COVID-19 during the second quarter compared with 10% in the first quarter, Sam Hazen, CEO of the Nashville, Tennessee-based company, said on a call with investors Tuesday.
Surpassing the poor performance from the second quarter of 2020, when COVID-19 was spreading virtually unchecked, wasn't difficult now that the virus has less of a foothold. To better demonstrate the company's financial results, HCA pointed to the second quarter of 2019, , which took place well before the novel coronavirus pandemic began, as a better comparison. Admissions were up 2.7%, and outpatient surgery cases were up 3.4% during this year's second quarter compared to the same months in 2019. Inpatient surgery cases were down 2.9% and emergency room visits—the slowest to recover—were down 5.5%.
More patients seeking elective procedures, the kind people were most likely to forgo during the worst stretches of the pandemic contributed to 34% higher year-over-year profit in the second quarter of 2021, from $1.1 billion to almost $1.5 billion in the second quarter of last year. During the first six months of this year, profits grew 73% from $1.7 billion in the first half of 2020 period to $2.9 billion through June of this year.
HCA's collected $14.4 billion in revenue during the second quarter of 2021, 30% higher than its $11.1 billion in revenue during the year-ago period.
HCA upwardly revised its expected revenue and earnings for the full year from projections made in the first quarter The company now expects 2021 revenue could hit $58 billion, at least $4 billion more than previously expected.