HCA Healthcare has an aggressive plan to add hospitals in rapidly growing population centers, determining that adding existing facilities is not always the best call.
The Nashville, Tennessee-based for-profit system has two hospitals under construction in San Antonio, Texas, and owns land for new facilities in Austin, Dallas and certain Florida markets, CEO Sam Hazen said during HCA’s first-quarter earnings call on Friday. Said. He said HCA bought land for new hospitals in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City during the quarter. The system also continues to add to its outpatient network, which has grown to nearly 2,500 of those facilities.
HCA’s estimated capex will reach $4.6 billion in 2023, excluding acquisitions. Last year it was $4.2 billion.
“We believe that over time, as our communities continue to grow – and we believe it is one of the differentiating features of HCA that we are in great markets that have great potential for growth – before Let us share the profit potential of those markets, for that we need to build some new hospitals,” Hazen said. “We think it is better for us to open new hospitals, because in any case there is an increase in [some communities],
The aggressive plans come as HCA turned in a quarter that beat expectations. It reported first-quarter net income of $1.36 billion, or $4.85 per share, up from $1.27 billion, or $4.14 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue increased 4.3% year-over-year to $15.59 billion, which included $145 million received following a dispute with a commercial payer. A spokesperson for the HCA declined to provide further details about the dispute.
Demand for services continues to improve, with same-facility inpatient and outpatient surgeries increasing 3.6% and 5.1%, respectively. Admissions were up 4.4%, and emergency room visits rose more than 10%.
Expenses rose 4.1% to $13.67 billion, including a 2.1% increase in salaries and wages and a 4.4% increase in supplies. HCA said it saw continued improvements in workforce during the quarter, with contract labor costs down nearly 20% compared to last year.
Chief Financial Officer Bill Rutherford said the share of contract labor in HCA’s salaries, wages and benefits is just over 7%, compared with 9.5% a year ago. Rutherford said during the call that the system wants that percentage down to between 6.5% and 7% by the end of the year.
Hazen said turnover in nursing is approaching pre-COVID levels, averaging 17% over the past six months.
HCA raised its guidance for 2023, forecasting annual net income to fall between $4.75 billion and $5.16 billion, compared to the $4.525 billion and $4.895 billion range estimated earlier this year.
The stock market reacted positively to this news. Shares of HCA jumped more than 6% from Thursday’s close to open Friday morning at $287.18 per share.