HCA reported a profitable second quarter Thursday with revenues up more than three percent. But the number of people admitted to its more than 250 hospitals and surgery centers is falling. The Nashville-based company blames a declining birthrate.
Last year, HCA hospitals delivered more than 200,000 babies. So far this year, deliveries are on track to drop by 8,000. CEO Richard Bracken says the fall-off is part of a social trend, which many blame on a poor economy.
“Our thinking regarding this reduced delivery volume is that while some of this is related to market share loss due to competitive factors, the significant majority of this reduction is related to a decreasing birthrate trend in the markets we serve.”
The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control show birthrates dropping from 2008 to 2009.
In the second quarter, HCA facilities also performed significantly fewer C-sections, which represent roughly 14% of the company’s surgeries.
HCA, one of the largest employers in the Nashville-area, plans to again be a publicly traded company after being bought out by a group of private investors in 2006. HCA has filed with the SEC for an initial public offering of stock. Company officials say they’re watching the markets to determine the best time to pull the trigger.