Nashville-based HCA — the country’s largest hospital company — has experienced a strong rebound from COVID-19 and is mostly back to treating patients on par with pre-pandemic levels. The company released second quarter earnings Tuesday.
During the second quarter of last year, hospitals called off procedures that could be delayed. And patients avoided emergency rooms unless they absolutely needed immediate care.
So, this year’s numbers for HCA, by comparison, are sky high.
Outpatient surgeries were up more than 50%. Emergency room visits up 40%. The company says comparing to the equivalent three-month period in 2019 is more useful. ER visits are still a little lower than two years ago, but otherwise, HCA hospitals are back to normal — with a moderate amount of growth. COVID is taking up just 3% of hospital beds, compared to 10% at the first of the year.
“We do believe that demand growth for healthcare services over the near term is going to remain solid,” CEO Sam Hazen told analysts on an investor call Tuesday morning.
HCA owns 185 hospitals, mostly in and around growing urban centers like Nashville. The company’s stock price ended Tuesday at a record high, jumping nearly 15% on the strong quarterly earnings.