Universal Health Services beats quarterly profit estimates on higher hospital admissions

By Thomson Reuters Feb 27, 2024 | 4:49 PM

(Reuters) – Hospital operator Universal Health Services beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday due to higher patient admissions, sending its shares up almost 7% in extended trading.

The company also forecast 2024 net revenue to range between $15.41 billion and $15.71 billion, above analysts’ estimate of $15.03 billion, according to LSEG data.

It expects to receive about $158 million in net reimbursements from the Nevada State Directed Payment program.

A spike in planned, non-urgent medical procedures, especially for older adults, is expected to boost profits at hospital operators.

The company said it also benefited from easing nursing staff shortages as it reduced reliance on more expensive contract labor.

Same facility-adjusted admissions increased by 5.6% at the company-run acute care hospitals during the reported quarter. Same facility-adjusted admissions grew by 1.4% at behavioral healthcare facilities.

Higher admissions, mainly in acute care hospitals in the reported quarter, increased the company’s net revenue by 7.4% to $3.70 billion, compared with analysts’ estimate of $3.66 billion.

Larger rival HCA Healthcare, the biggest for-profit hospital operator in the United States, forecast 2024 profit above estimates, driven by strong demand for medical procedures and higher reimbursement from insurers.

Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services reported an adjusted profit of $3.13 per share for the quarter, compared with analysts’ estimate of $2.88 per share.

(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)