Cone Health sees operating margin climb to 3.6% as patient volume grows

Cone Health saw its operating margin improve in fiscal year 2015 as the Greensboro, N.C.-based system saw inpatient volume grow 6.1 percent year over year.

The health system posted operating income of $55.9 million and a margin of 3.6 percent for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That's compared to operating income of $33.4 million and a margin of 2.4 percent in FY 2014.

Cone Health saw patient volumes improve in FY 2015, which were boosted by high rates of seasonal illness along with increased utilization by newly insured patients through the federal health insurance exchanges.

However, the high patient volumes created staffing challenges. The health system said it had to pay staff at premium labor rates or overtime in many instances. Cone Health said those challenges led to a 5.7 percent increase in salaries compared to FY 2014.

After accounting for a $31.3 million drop in nonoperating income, Cone Health ended FY 2015 with net income of $45.9 million, down from $52.3 million the year prior.

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