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Patient volumes are back in a big way, at least for the country’s largest for-profit hospital operator.

HCA Healthcare beat Wall Street’s expectations of profitability in the first quarter of 2023, as more people flocked to HCA’s hospitals, surgery centers, and physician clinics. Inpatient admissions, all types of surgeries, and emergency room visits were each up significantly in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year, when the Omicron variant of the coronavirus stymied a lot of patient care.


Because HCA expects patients will continue to get more care as the year drags on, the company raised its profit estimates for the rest of the year, which pushed HCA’s stock up more than 5%. Profit in the quarter hit almost $1.4 billion, and full-year profit is now expected to be as high as $5.2 billion by the end of 2023.

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