Health Management 3Q net income falls 5 percent

October 22, 2012

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — Health care provider Health Management Associates Inc. said Monday its net income fell 5 percent to $41.3 million in the third quarter as Hurricane Isaac cut down on the number of admissions at the company's 70 hospitals, which are primarily in the Southeastern U.S.

The earnings, of 16 cents per share, compared with earnings of $43.7 million, or 17 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose 18 percent to $1.44 billion.

Without one-time items, including $20.3 million in incentive payments to improve technology and a $23.9 million accounting charge for interest rate swaps, the company would have earned 18 cents per share. That was still short of Wall Street's expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet, who typically don't consider special items, expected earnings of 20 cents per share on revenue of $1.45 billion.

Naples-based Health Management said it is now expecting adjusted pretax earnings in the range of $875 million to $915 million for the full year and earnings per share from continuing operations of 80 to 85 cents. That's lower than the 87 cents per share analysts have forecast.

The company said it expects admissions at hospitals open at least a year to fall 3 to 5 percent for the full year. During the third quarter that metric declined 6.4 percent. The company said it's seeing declines in admissions of uninsured patients as well as increases in observational stays of more than 24 hours. Observational stays aren't counted as admissions.

For the third quarter, the company said its provision for doubtful accounts rose to $224.1 million, or 13.5 percent of net revenue, compared with $178.9 million, or 12.8 percent of net revenue, in the same period a year ago. It also wrote off $28.1 million for charitable or indigent care, up from $24 million a year ago.