IPC The Hospitalist Company, Inc. of North Hollywood reported a net income increase of 10 percent for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012, along with a 15 percent increase in net revenue.

Net income increased to $8.5 million, or 50 cents per diluted earnings per share, which was 1 cent above the consensus estimate of 49 cents. IPC also beat analysts’ revenue estimates, which at $129.8 million, was $1.49 million above the consensus.

The physician practice group, which focuses on providing hospitalist services, said patient encounters of 1.4 million for the first quarter represented a “new milestone” for the first quarter. Growth came from both new hires and acquisitions, the company said. The company acquired three practices in the quarter.

The company reaffirmed its earnings guidance of $1.96 to $2.06 for fiscal year 2012 on expected revenues of $520 to $530 million.

CEO Adam D. Singer, M.D., said the company was pleased with this quarter’s growth. As of the end of March 2012, IPC had 1,265 providers, 64 of which were added in the first quarter, for a net increase of 216 since March 2011. “Our existing markets increased revenue by 11 percent the first quarter and our four new markets augmented this growth," he said in a statement.

He said the company’s acquisition pipeline remains strong, with a significant number of physician practices in both the acute and post-acute areas. “We continue to evaluate opportunities to add to our practices through hospital contracting,” he added. “We remain confident in our ability to continue to execute our multi-pronged growth plan in 2012 and beyond."

Judy Temes