Shares of HCA Healthcare (HCA) plunged 9% in premarket trading on Tuesday, following the release of its third quarter earnings report. The hospital operator reported a net income of $1.079 billion, or $3.91 per share, compared to $1.134 billion, or $3.91 per share, in the same period last year. This fell below analysts' expectations, with the FactSet earning per share consensus at $3.98.

Valesco Joint Venture Impacts Results

HCA CEO Sam Hazen explained that the underperformance of the Valesco physician staffing joint venture contributed to the disappointing results. Despite this setback, revenue for the quarter increased to $16.213 billion from $14.971 billion in the previous year, surpassing the FactSet consensus of $15.822 billion.

Strong Growth in Admissions and ER Visits

Same-facility equivalent admissions saw a significant increase of 4.1%, while same-facility emergency room visits rose by 3.5%. This positive trend indicates a strong demand for HCA's services.

Revised Guidance for Full-Year Performance

HCA narrowed its full-year revenue and earnings guidance range. The company now expects revenue between $63.5 billion and $64.5 billion, compared to the previous range of $63.25 billion to $64.75 billion. Similarly, the revised earnings per share range is $17.80 to $18.50, as opposed to the earlier projection of $17.70 to $18.90.

Market Performance

Despite the disappointing earnings report, HCA's stock has shown modest growth of 0.4% since the beginning of the year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has gained 9.8% over the same period.

Overall, HCA Healthcare faces some challenges due to underperforming ventures. However, the company's steady revenue growth and strong patient demand indicate a positive outlook for the future.

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