Ascension posts $884M quarterly loss

St. Louis-based Ascension reported higher expenses in the three months ended March 31 and ended the quarter with a loss, according to financial documents filed April 29. 

The 143-hospital system reported operating revenue of $6.69 billion in the first three months of this year, up from $6.56 billion in the same period of 2021. 

Ascension's operating expenses climbed to $7.34 billion in the first three months of 2022, up from $6.59 billion in the same period a year earlier. The increase was attributed to several factors, including higher salaries, wages and supply expenses. 

Looking at the first nine months of the current fiscal year, Ascension's operating expenses increased 8.7 percent year over year. Staffing challenges, increased use of contract labor and overtime spend pushed Ascension's total salaries, wages and benefits up 10.1 percent year over year in the nine months ended March 31.

Ascension ended the most recent quarter with an operating loss of $671.14 million, compared to an operating loss of $16.71 million in the same period last year. 

After factoring in nonoperating items, Ascension reported a net loss of $884.74 million for the three months ended March 31. A year earlier, the health system posted net income of $957.32 million. For the first nine months ended March 31, Ascension reported net income of $145.21 million, compared to $4.77 billion in the same period a year earlier. 

As of March 31, Ascension had 295 days cash on hand, compared to 336 days as of June 30, 2021.

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