Oct 9, 2020 - Health

HCA to return $1.6 billion in coronavirus bailout funds

HCA Healthcare sign in front of trees.
HCA's hospitals are closing the books on a profitable Q3, despite the pandemic. Photo: Rusty Russell/Getty Images

HCA Healthcare is giving back $1.6 billion of federal bailout payments and paying back $4.4 billion in Medicare loans early. The money was intended to help hospitals weather the pandemic as patients delayed elective care.

Why it matters: Over the summer, the hospital industry said the pandemic was resulting in "the greatest financial crisis we have ever faced in our history." But HCA expects to report higher revenue and adjusted profits in the third quarter.

By the numbers: The taxpayer bailout payments represented 55% of HCA's profit in the second quarter.

  • Hospitals and other health care providers secured $175 billion in bailouts from Congress since the start of the pandemic.

What they're saying: HCA CEO Sam Hazen said in a press release that returning the funds and repaying the loans early was "appropriate and the socially responsible thing to do."

What we're watching: Finances at other large hospital systems similarly improved in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter.

  • That trend likely could continue as more people rescheduled surgeries and saw their doctors, despite the persistence of coronavirus cases throughout the country.
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