Hospital chain HCA Healthcare plans to pay back about $6 billion in federal coronavirus aid now that it says its financially recovered from the worst of the pandemic.
The Nashville-based company says it will return its roughly $1.6 billion share of a $175 billion relief fund set up to support struggling hospitals and health-care providers during the COVID crisis. HCA also received about $4.4 billion in accelerated Medicare payments from a separate relief program that it plans to repay early, it said Thursday.
“As the initial immediacy of the emergency has passed, and with more information, and more experience managing our operations during the pandemic, we believe returning these taxpayer dollars is appropriate and the socially responsible thing to do,” HCA CEO Sam Hazen said in a statement.
HCA, which runs more than 180 hospitals, suffered a 12 percent revenue drop from April to June as the pandemic reportedly forced hospitals to put off non-urgent surgeries while the virus raged.
But the company says its business bounced back in recent months after it made conservative adjustments to shore up its finances and operations. HCA also saw patient volumes gradually improve in May and June as states eased lockdown measures and started to allow non-emergency procedures.
HCA expects to report third-quarter revenues of about $13.3 billion, up from about $12.7 billion a year ago, while same-facility admissions are expected to drop 4 percent, compared with a 12.8 percent decline in the second quarter.
HCA’s stock price jumped on the news. The shares were up 6.2 percent in premarket trading Friday at $140.00 as of 8:27 a.m.