Finances bounce back for 2 largest nonprofit health systems

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The largest nonprofit health systems, Ascension and CommonSpirit Health, saw their financial performance begin to rebound in fiscal year 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted performance a year earlier. 

Ascension, a 146-hospital system based in St. Louis, reported net income of $5.7 billion on revenue of $27.2 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30. The health system posted a net loss of $1.04 billion on revenue of $25.3 billion a year earlier. Though Ascension ended the most recent fiscal year with higher revenue, operating income and net income, it's stronger financial performance wasn't tied to higher patient volume. Hospital admissions, emergency room visits and urgent care visits declined year over year due to surges of COVID-19 and patient hesitation to seek care, the system said. 

Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health, which operates 140 hospitals, reported net income of $5.2 billion on revenue of $33.3 billion in fiscal year 2021. The health system posted a net loss of $551 million on revenue of $29.6 billion a year earlier. CommonSpirit said a one-time sale of joint venture shares and funds received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act pushed the system's income higher in the most recent fiscal year.

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