Naples-based hospital operator Health Management Associates Inc. reported higher revenues for the fourth quarter, despite sluggish admissions.
The company said its earnings from continuing operations rose to 19 cents a share, up from 13 cents a share a year ago.
However, excluding the impact from its interest rate swap agreements and $52.6 million of Medicare and Medicaid Healthcare Information Technology incentive payments, earnings were 12 cents a share, a penny less than last year.
Also affecting the fourth quarter was a 4-cent-a-share cost for legal and investigation expense. HMA is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department, which is looking into the management of its emergency room operations and the computer software Pro-Med, which the company no longer uses.
On average, analysts expected earnings of 18 cents a share on revenues of $1.68 billion for the fourth quarter.
In the quarter, net revenue rose 6.6 percent over the year to about $1.48 billion, missing Wall Street's expectations. Revenue at HMA's same-hospitals, or hospitals it has owned for at least a year, rose 5.1 percent, with net revenue per adjusted admission up 5.2 percent.
But same-hospital admissions fell 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter, which the company attributed to the continued effects of a sluggish economy, declines in uninsured admissions and increases in observation stays. Meanwhile, same-hospital surgeries grew 0.9 percent and emergency room visits rose 9.2 percent.
For the year, HMA reported a 15.5 percent growth in net revenue to nearly $5.6 billion and a 5.6 percent increase in its adjusted earnings to 75 cents a share, up from 71 cents a year ago.