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Thomson Reuters Study Finds Impact of Recession Easing on U.S. Hospitals
Date:8/18/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The median profit margin of U.S. hospitals increased from 0.17 percent in the third quarter of 2008 to 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009, according to an analysis of hospital finances published today by Thomson Reuters.

The recovery has been broad-based, with all classes of hospitals -- small, medium and large community hospitals, teaching hospitals and major teaching hospitals -- showing positive median margins.

The study tracks two dozen key financial indicators, using proprietary and public data to dissect the balance sheets of more than 400 hospitals nationwide. It evaluates trends in revenue and profit, employment levels, closures, inpatient volume, days cash on hand, and charity expenses to gauge the fiscal health of the nation's hospitals.

Following are the key findings of the analysis:

  • Total Margins Increase: Hospitals' median total margins were near zero the last time this analysis was conducted, which captured data through Q3 2008. In Q1 2009, all classes of hospitals had positive operating margins, reaching an average of 3.1 percent.

  • 30 Percent of Hospitals Still in the Red: In Q1 2009, 30 percent of hospitals had negative profit margins. This is an improvement from Q3 2008, when 50 percent of hospitals were operating in the red.

  • Liquidity Holding Steady: Amidst fears of a hospital credit crunch, it appears that hospitals' "median days cash on hand" is holding steady. On average, hospitals had 90 days cash on hand in Q1 2009, a decline from the highs seen in early 2007, but an increase from Q3 2008.

  • Running at 90 Percent Capacity: In Q1 2009, more than 90 percent of licensed beds were in operation in a typical hospital. This n
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SOURCE Thomson Reuters Healthcare
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