HCA is taking some of its tax savings to fund workforce development. The Nashville-based hospital chain expects to have an extra $500 million a year under the recently approved tax laws, which reduced the company's effective tax rate to 25 percent.
Dozens of corporations, including AT&T and American Airlines, are giving employees $1,000 bonuses because of the advantageous tax bill. But HCA is focusing on education. CEO Milton Johnson said on Tuesday's call reviewing fourth quarter earnings that employees will be eligible for new tuition reimbursement and scholarship programs.
"We anticipate spending up to $300 million over the next three years in these areas," he said. "We believe these programs will help improve patient experience and create more career opportunities for our employees."
The hospital chain is one of the largest private employers in the Nashville area — with a local network of hospitals and several campuses housing its corporate offices. But this money will be spread across the whole company — which has 240,000 employees nationwide.
HCA also intends to use the money to expand its family leave policies.
Aside from the $300 million over three years, the company executives told investors that some of the tax windfall will go toward building projects and acquisitions. Capital spending through 2020 is now expected to increase 30 percent from the previous three years to more than $10 billion.
"We are making these investments to add capacity, improve facilities, add new facilities and enhance technology," Johnson said.
Recently, HCA has been buying outpatient facilities, with 1,800 currently. Executives say the company will have 2,000 by 2020. And they may also keep buying hospitals, with a few added over the last year, bringing the current total to 177.