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Universal Health Services quarterly results beat estimates on higher admissions

(Reuters) - Hospital operator Universal Health Services on Wednesday beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter profit and revenue on higher patient admissions led by a post-pandemic recovery in non-urgent procedures.

Same facility adjusted admissions increased by 6.8% at the company-run acute care hospitals during the reported quarter. Same facility adjusted admissions grew by almost one percent at behavioral health care facilities.

A spike in long-delayed non-urgent medical procedures, especially for older adults, is expected to boost profits at hospital operators this year. Easing of nursing staff shortages also aided profit margins as operators reduced reliance on more expensive contract labor.

Higher admissions mainly in acute care hospitals in the quarter increased the company's net revenues by 6.8% to $3.56 billion, compared with analysts' estimates of $3.54 billion, according to LSEG data.

The Pennsylvania-based company reported an adjusted profit of $2.55 per share for the July-to-September quarter, compared with analysts' estimates of $2.36 per share.

Operating charges for the hospital operator rose to $3.28 billion during the reported quarter, from $3.06 billion a year earlier.

Rival HCA Healthcare, the largest for-profit hospital operator in the United States, on Tuesday flagged higher costs mainly related to its staffing joint venture which was hit by high physician compensation and subsidies.

Universal Health did not provide any update on forecast in its earnings release. However, Leerink Partners analyst Whit Mayo expects the company to say that it is likely tracking more towards the upper-end on guidance in its conference call on Thursday.

(Reporting by Vaibhav Sadhamta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)