Hospital fortunes improved heading into holidays
Hospitals continued to shake off the pandemic's long-term financial effects as the holidays approached, with key metrics like inpatient and outpatient revenue rising year-over-year, the latest Kaufman Hall report finds.
The big picture: The severity of illness at more than 1,300 facilities in Kaufman's analysis returned to more normal levels in November, with the average length of patient stay down 6% year-over-year.
- Margins, or the percentage of revenue kept as profit, kept trending positive and facilities were able to reduce their reliance on costly contract labor where possible.
Yes, but: The numbers don't reflect the surge of seasonal respiratory illness that has since swamped many medical systems and taxed resources.
- More uninsured people from Medicaid redeterminations and continued congressional interest in overhauling Medicare payment policies could also complicate the outlook.
By the numbers: Inpatient and outpatient revenue increased year-over-year by 5% and 9%, respectively.
- Bad debt and charity care measured as a percentage of gross revenue was down 4%.
- Labor expense per adjusted patient discharge also was down 4% year-over-year, while drug spending per discharge was up 4%.
What we're watching: Some hospitals could seize the moment and launch expansions or embark on other growth strategies. But Kaufman Hall noted there's still a wide gap between the industry's high and low performers.