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HCA Healthcare, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country, smashed Wall Street's second-quarter profit expectations even though the coronavirus outbreak forced hospitals to halt elective procedures for several weeks during the quarter.
The bottom line: Medical claims and revenues noticeably declined among hospitals during the height of the pandemic, which has benefited health insurers. But that didn't prevent hospitals from making a lot of money, a large chunk of which was directly subsidized by taxpayers in the form of bailout funds.
By the numbers: HCA's second-quarter profit was roughly $1.1 billion, a 38% increase from the same period a year ago.
- HCA has received $1.4 billion in coronavirus bailout funds to date, of which $822 million was recognized in the second quarter. After taking out taxes, HCA recorded $590 million in taxpayer bailouts in the quarter — representing 55% of its profit.
- Revenue in the quarter dropped 12%, to $11.1 billion.
Between the lines: The decline in patient visits was short-lived at most HCA facilities.
- Hospitalizations in the second quarter were down 13% year over year, and outpatient surgeries fell 33%.
- But by June, everything was mostly back to normal, HCA CFO Bill Rutherford said on an investor call. HCA's outpatient surgeries were actually 1% higher in June, when compared with last June.
The big picture: HCA's extremely profitable report comes on the same day that the health care industry is asking Congress for an additional $100 billion in taxpayer bailouts.