Hospitals still crave admissions

Massachusetts General Hospital building in Boston
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.