Ascension operating margin falls to -2.9%

St. Louis-based Ascension saw its operating margin fall to -2.9 percent in the six months ending Dec. 31, 2022, down from 0.2 percent for the same period in 2021 and 5.7 percent in 2020, according to its most recent financial report.

The 139-hospital system recorded a $410 million operating loss in the second half of 2022, compared with an operating income of $31 million during the same period last year.

Total operating revenue increased by $115 million (0.8 percent) to $14.3 billion for the six-month period. Net patient service revenue was down marginally to $12.8 billion, driven by a decline in revenue for inpatient care. Revenue from physician practices, outpatient and long-term care increased marginally year over year. 

Total operating expenses for the six months increased by $524 million (3.7 percent) to $14.7 billion, with expenses related to labor and professional services and fees both seeing year-over-year increases. 

After factoring in nonoperating losses, including a loss of $798.6 million from investments, Ascension posted a net loss of $1.2 billion for the six months ending Dec. 31, 2022.

For the three months ending Dec. 31, 2022, the second quarter of fiscal year 2023, Ascension posted an operating loss of $291 million — down from a gain of $61,400 during the same period in 2021 — and a net loss of $348 million, compared with a net gain of $950 million the prior year.

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