A benign flu season was the wrong prescription for
, which Tuesday said first-quarter earnings would come up short.
The hospital operator expects to earn 81 cents to 83 cents a share before items in the quarter, about a nickel short of estimates, citing a 9% decline in pulmonary and flu-related admissions and the closure of maternity wards at seven facilities.
On the bottom line, HCA expects to earn $465 million to $475 million, or 89 cents to 91 cents a share in the quarter, including gains of $42 million, or 8 cents a share, on facility sales, and "investigation-related costs" of $3 million.
Overall, same-facility admissions are expected to edge down by 0.4%.
HCA's shares were recently down $4.77, or 13%, to $31.30.