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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.

Go deeper

Dead malls get new life

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Malls are becoming ghosts of retail past. But the left-behind real estate is being reimagined for a post-pandemic world.

Why it matters: As many as 17% of malls in the U.S. "may no longer be viable as shopping centers and need to be redeveloped into other uses," per Barclays.

White House now says Biden will move to increase refugee cap by May 15

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House on Friday afternoon said President Biden plans to lift the Trump-era refugee cap by May 15.

Driving the news: The announcement follows stinging criticism from several Democrats and rights groups, who said Biden was walking back on his pledge to raise the limit. Earlier Friday, Biden signed a directive to speed up the processing of refugees, but kept the Trump administration's historically low cap of 15,000 refugees for this year.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Suspect in FedEx shooting identified as 19-year-old former employee Brandon Hole

Crime scene investigators walk through the FedEx parking lot in Indianapolis the day after a mass shooting left nine dead, including the gunman, who took his own life. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images.

The suspected gunman who killed at least eight people and wounded several others in Indianapolis before killing himself has been identified by local police as 19-year-old Brandon Hole, a former FedEx employee, a company spokesperson told the AP.

The latest: At least 100 people were in the FedEx warehouse at the time of the shooting, authorities said Friday. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief Craig McCartt told reporters that Hole worked at FedEx through 2020. He did not specify the circumstances of Hole’s departure.

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