SSM Health posts $20M operating loss in Q1

St. Louis-based SSM Health reported a $20.4 million operating loss in the first quarter of 2024, down from an operating loss of $16.5 million posted over the same period last year, according to its May 22 financial report. 

The 23-hospital health system saw revenues of $2.8 billion in the quarter ended March 31, up from $2.5 billion posted over the same period last year. 

Net patient revenues were $1.7 billion, up 7.4% from the same quarter in 2023. Pharmacy benefit manager revenues were $537.6 million, up 32.4% year over year. SSM said the increased PBM revenue was driven by great dispensing volumes at both Lumicera and Navitus and higher pricing of specialty pharmaceuticals, resulting from increased drug costs.

Total operating expenses were $2.8 billion in the first quarter, up from $2.5 billion posted over the same period in 2023. 

Salaries and benefit expenses were up 9.6% year over year to $1.2 billion. SSM said the increase is primarily due to the effect of increased wages and benefits as well as increased staffing to support the growth of Navitus and certain initiatives, partially offset by a decline in agency expenses.

Supply expenses were up 5.7% to $422 million. Medical claims were up 16.2%  to $149.8 million. PBM supply expenses were up 29.7% to $443.1 million. The PBM supply expenses were driven by increased specialty pharmaceuticals drug costs and the growth at Navitus and Lumicera, SSM said. The increased costs are passed on to the customer and are also reflected as higher PBM revenue. 

After accounting for nonoperating items, such as investment returns, SSM posted a net profit of $102.4 million, up from $71.2 million over the same quarter last year. 


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