Flu related doctor visits and hospitalizations have been on the rise recently, as a significant number of states in the U.S. have been reporting increased incidences of flu. Not only has the flu season hit harder this year, but it has also arrived earlier. While analysts can agree that nobody likes the flu, its affect on hospitals is being hotly debated. Some are projecting a surge in revenue for companies like Health Management Associates Inc. (NYSE: HMA) and HCA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HCA) on the basis that hospitals with a high percentage of beds in the states that are being most affected by flu stand to benefit, as volumes should increase. Our technical review on Health Management Associates can be downloaded for free at http://www.StockCall.com/HMA011713.pdf
However, others believe that hospitals may suffer due to an increase in emergency room visits by uninsured individuals, which lowers per patient revenue rates. Health Management Associates and HCA Holdings [Free Technical Report on HCA]  are scheduled to release their financial reports in February with Health Management already anticipating net revenue of close to $1.48 billion, Adjusted EBITDA expected to be between $253 and $260 million and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations to come in between $0.19 and $0.21.
The focus on flu season may be a welcome change for hospitals, as they have been going through a challenging time due to legislative changes. Same hospital results for a number of industry players have been encouraging of late though, and 2013 could be a positive year for the industry moving forward. For its third quarter, 2012, HCA Holdings announced profits of $360 million due to a 2.1% surge in admissions. Will the flu season be a boon or a bust for HCA on grounds on admissions this time round, the upcoming earnings scheduled for early February will enlighten investors soon enough.
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