Feb 3, 2021 - Health

HCA reports increased 2020 profit despite COVID-19 pandemic

Picture of a phone that has the HCA Healthcare logo displayed on the screen
Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hospital behemoth HCA Healthcare said yesterday that its annual profit increased in 2020 in spite of the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

By the numbers: Admissions to the hospital chain dropped by 4.7% last year, but revenue per hospitalized patient increased by 10.5%.

  • Net income rose by 7.1%, from $3.51 billion in 2019 to $3.75 billion last year.
  • Coronavirus patients made up about 8% of HCA's overall admissions, with the biggest impact at the end of the year.
  • HCA returned $6 billion in federal relief grants and loans in the fourth quarter.

The big picture: The pandemic will likely deepen the financial divide between wealthy hospitals and struggling ones, which tend to be located in rural areas or serve vulnerable populations.

  • For some less wealthy hospitals, federal relief has been critical.
  • Rural hospital closures increased last year, George Pink, deputy director of the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told the Journal.

What they're saying: "The weak got weaker, but the strong held on," Kevin Holloran, a senior director with Fitch Ratings, told WSJ.

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