Jan 10, 2018

Hospitals still crave admissions

Hospitals want their beds to be full. Photo: Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe via Getty

Executives from 21 not-for-profit hospitals and health systems offered some starkly conflicting messages this week as they mingled with bankers, bondholders and hedge fund analysts at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

What they said: Strong inpatient volumes are a priority — but they are also committed to "value-based care" that, in theory, leads to fewer inpatient hospital stays as more people get care in outpatient sites or at home.

Here's what some hospital executives said this week:

  • Admissions in the most recent financial quarter were "a little bit softer than we wanted," said Dean Swindle, chief financial officer of Catholic Health Initiatives.
  • Adventist Health System CEO Terry Shaw highlighted his organization's focus on "acute-care growth."
  • Tony Speranzo, CFO of Ascension, said profit margins at the $23 billion Catholic health system were down this year "due to soft volumes."
  • Multiple hospital systems said they were working to improve their "revenue cycle" — industry jargon for billing and collecting money from patients.
  • Systems like Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin are "acquiring" patient visits by investing in advertising and building brand loyalty.

The bottom line: Hospitals tell the public they want to keep people healthier and reduce the number of patient admissions, which would inherently reduce their revenue. But the truth is they still want their inpatient beds filled whenever possible.

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U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and it's unclear if people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Mexico reported its highest single-day death toll on Tuesday, after 501 people died from the coronavirus, per data from Johns Hopkins and the country's health ministry.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,588,299 — Total deaths: 350,417 — Total recoveries — 2,286,827Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,680,625 — Total deaths: 98,902 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
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  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy