HCA Healthcare will return or repay $6 billion in funding it received through the CARES Act and other federal stimulus funding.
The hospital company said in its preliminary third-quarter earnings report that it expects earnings of $13.3 billion for the three-month period ending Sept. 30. That’s a modest increase from the $12.7 billion it earned in the same quarter last year.
As a result, HCA said it will return much of the money it received through the federal coronavirus relief package. The company said it will return $4.4 billion in Medicare accelerated payments and $1.6 billion in Provider Relief Fund distributions.
“We greatly appreciate the CARES Act funding and the policymakers who fought hard to ensure hospitals would have the essential resources during the pandemic,” said Sam Hazen, CEO of HCA Healthcare.
HCA said it is able to return the stimulus money because early on in the pandemic it “took a conservative approach which included a number of actions to meet the operational and financial challenges this global health crisis was expected to present.”
Hazen continued, “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.
“Our focus will remain on supporting our patients, employees and physicians and continuing the vital role we play in the communities we serve.”
Many Florida lawmakers lauded the company, which has a substantial presence in Florida.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz said it was “remarkable”; Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores said the move was “corporate responsibility at its best”; GOP Rep. Josie Tomkow said it was “great to see HCA Healthcare step up and do right by taxpayers”; and Republican Party of Florida Chair and Sen. Joe Gruters called it “classy.”
“They are looking out for the country and not just their bottom line,” Gruters tweeted. “We need more community partners to follow the example set with this move.”
Democratic lawmakers also chimed in.
“Give credit where credit is due,” West Park Rep. Shevrin Jones tweeted. “Kudos to you HCA.”
Miami Sen. Jason Pizzo reacted with a thumbs up.
HCA Healthcare said it will report its complete financial and operating results for the third quarter on or about Oct. 26.