Operating expense per equivalent admission increased 3.1% from 3Q 2012, with a 1.9% increase on a same hospital basis. During the third quarter of 2013, salaries and benefits, supplies and other operating expenses totaled $6.9 billion, 82% of revenues, compared to $6.6 billion, or 82.7% of revenues, in 3Q 2012, HCA reported.
HCA is the largest investor-owned hospital corporation in the nation and owns and operates 162 hospitals and approximately 114 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states. It also has operations in the U.K.
Sheryl R. Skolnick, managing director and co-head of research at CRT Capital, says HCA's results were "very strong" and demonstrate that the corporation has found the right formula to improve inpatient admissions in an industry that has largely seen fewer heads in the beds.
"HCA positions itself to be dominant in certain service lines that are growing and necessary, like stroke—not elective—and they are dominant in markets where the population is growing. It's the 'where' and the 'what,'" Skolnick says.
"They continue to have volume increases when everybody else doesn't or their volume increases are better than others. A lot of that has to do with the strength of their networks, the positioning in faster growing markets and the work that they've done to be very important for certain types of care in their communities."