Key hospital metrics showing recovery, Kaufman Hall says

Hospitals across the U.S. have seen gains across key metrics in the first five months of 2021 when compared to last year, according to a new report from healthcare consulting firm Kaufman Hall. 

In particular, volumes, margins and revenues were up compared to 2020 levels. The volumes also are starting to approach pre-pandemic levels, Kaufman Hall said.

Not including federal relief payments, the median operating margin for hospitals in May was 2.6 percent. With the funding, the median operating margin was 3.5 percent. 

Compared to the first five months of 2020, hospital operating margin rose 95.2 percent year to date, according to the report. 

Kaufman Hall attributed the increase in year-to-date margin to patient volume increases, especially compared to the volumes last year when there were national restrictions on elective procedures. 

Gross operating revenue increased 18.6 percent from January to May of this year when compared to the same period last year. It also grew 5.9 percent in the first five months of 2021 when compared to 2019 levels. Outpatient revenue saw the biggest revenue boost, jumping 25.1 percent year to date above last year's levels. Inpatient revenue also was up 13.1 percent year to date versus January to May of 2020. 

Kaufman Hall said adjusted discharges also were up 9.1 percent year to date, adjusted patient days rose 14.3 percent year to date and operating room minutes jumped 28.3 percent year to date when compared to 2020. Emergency department visits were down 0.2 percent compared to January to May of 2020. 

Adjusted expenses also saw some improvements in the first five months of 2021. In particular, total expense per adjusted discharge was down 1.7 percent, labor expense per adjusted discharge decreased 1.8 percent and nonlabor expense per adjusted discharge fell 1.7 percent when compared to the same period last year. 

Read more here.  

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