Nashville-based HCA reports $1 billion in profits in second quarter of this year

    Healthcare workers screen a patient for COVID-19 at a drive-through coronavirus testing site on March 18, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. Arlington County and Virginia Hospital Center have opened a temporary drive-through coronavirus testing site for Arlington residents and county employees with a letter from a licensed health-care provider. The results for patients tested are estimated to be available in 5-7 days. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    HCA, the Nashville-based chain of 186 hospitals, reported more than $1 billion in profits in the second quarter of the year, a span from April to June that saw cutbacks in elective surgeries and other inpatient services as the U.S. healthcare system was hit hard by the growing novel coronavirus pandemic.

    Revenues were down 12% across HCA hospitals compared to the same time last year. But the hospital company got a boost from federal stimulus payments — in total $822 million — driving the bulk of the private corporation’s profits.

    HCA’s $1.08 billion in profits was a jump over the same time period last year, when HCA reported $783 million in profits.

    The federal stimulus funds more than compensated for a decline in routine hospital operations. Emergency room visits at HCA hospitals dropped by a third and inpatient surgeries dipped by nearly 16% across the company’s hospital system.

    “Patient volumes across most service lines were significantly impacted in April due to state and local policies implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19 and preserve personal protective equipment,” a company earnings statement said. “Patient volumes gradually improved in May and June as states began to re-open and allow for non-emergent procedures.”