Updated Aug 16, 2018

By the numbers: Hospitals are off to a profitable Q2

A hospital owned by Sentara Healthcare. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Not-for-profit hospital systems are starting to disclose second-quarter financial documents, and the industry's dominant players are having no problem making money.

The bottom line: The number of people staying overnight in a hospital isn't really going up, but that has not affected the profitability of hospital systems — especially those with a lot of brand and market power.

By the numbers: Axios reviewed the financial statements of 16 not-for-profit hospital systems that operate on a calendar fiscal year and hold a lot of power in their regional markets. All of the documents were disclosed within the past week.

  • Similar to the first quarter, most systems posted lower overall surpluses in the first six months of this year because their Wall Street investments have performed worse in 2018 than they did during the booming market of 2017.
  • However, hospital operating margins — which reflect the money that hospitals keep after paying their employees and after paying for routine expenses like drugs and medical equipment — held steady at around 4%.
  • Operating margins were higher, year over year, for more than half of the systems.
  • Sentara Healthcare, which owns hospitals and a health plan in Virginia, had the highest operating margin at 9.1%.

Between the lines: In return for huge tax breaks, not-for-profit hospitals are supposed to reinvest their surplus money into the community. However, that often takes the shape of new buildings and other high-cost projects with the intent of increasing revenue.

  • One example: "The increase in revenue from surgical ventures was attributable to the addition of five new surgical centers in the latter half of 2017 and an additional center in May 2018," executives at RWJ Barnabas Health, a system in New Jersey that was created through mergers, said in a report to bondholders last week.

Reality check: The consolidating industry has given big systems even more power to charge commercial health insurers what they want, and American hospitals' fixed costs are unusually high.

  • However, within the entire health care sector, pharmaceutical companies remain the most profitable, on average.

Go deeper

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

India gives Trump warm welcome as brutal protests rip New Delhi apart

People supporting India's new citizenship law beat a Muslim man in New Delhi, India. Photo: Danish Siddiqui/TPX/Reuters

While President Trump enjoys a hero's welcome in India, that nation's capital is being torn apart by violent protests between Hindus and Muslims.

The state of play: At least 186 people — 56 police officers and 130 protesters — have been injured and 10 killed in recent clashes, a New Delhi police spokesperson told the AP.

Go deeperArrow1 hour ago - World

Wall Street sees 2nd day of brutal sell-off

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AF via Getty Images

The stock market fell another 3% on Tuesday, following Monday’s sell-off. Bond yields touched record lows.

The big picture: Stocks continued to fall as the CDC said it expects the coronavirus to spread in the U.S. The Dow and S&P are more than 7% below the record highs seen earlier this month.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business