'A long road ahead': Hospital operating margins negative for 3rd month

The median hospital operating margin remained negative for the third consecutive month in March, suggesting a long road ahead for hospitals, according to Kaufman Hall's "National Hospital Flash Report: April 2022" posted May 2. 

The median hospital operating margin in March was -2.43 percent, up from -3.99 percent in February and -4.52 percent in January, according to the report. 

"The March performance results suggest a long road ahead as healthcare providers struggle with inflation, national labor shortages and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 two years after the March 2020 start of the pandemic," Kaufman Hall said in the report.

Despite seeing another month of negative operating margins, hospitals did see patient volumes and revenue start to rebound in March, according to the report.  

Specifically, adjusted patient days were up 12.5 percent in March compared to February and up 4.3 percent year over year. Additionally, adjusted discharges rose 18 percent in March compared to February and 0.5 percent compared to March 2021. Surgery volume and emergency department visits also increased month over month and year over year,  according to the report. 

Hospitals also saw revenue boosts in March. Gross operating revenue rose 14 percent month over month, and outpatient revenue was up 16.1 percent compared to February. 

Read more here.

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