Henry Ford CFO credits earnings boost to diversity, cost controls

Henry Ford Health System reported a dramatic improvement in its net income for 2010, a performance its chief financial officer attributes to expanding service lines and keeping a close eye on compensation.

The Detroit-based system reported net income of $60.1 million for 2010 on revenues of $4.08 billion. That compares to 2009 net income of $30.4 million on revenues of $3.96 billion.

"We've had a strategy of growth and value, which also translates into good cost control," CFO James F. Connelly told Fierce HealthFinance. He noted that Henry Ford's health insurance, hospital and medical group entities have provided enough diversification to continue driving revenue and profit expansion.

And while Henry Ford's workforce of 23,000 continues to grow despite the difficult economic environment and the system has not laid anybody off for a decade, pay raises have been frozen for the past two years. However, Connelly believes that freeze will soon be lifted.

Meanwhile, the system continues to confront a rise in uninsured patients, primarily due to continued cuts in the region's once-vaunted automobile manufacturing industry. Henry Ford's charity care expenditures increased from $36 million in 2009 to $52 million.

However, Connelly believes the appropriate contingencies have been made to care for the uninsured and allow Henry Ford to continue to grow. "Our objective is to equal or exceed last year's performance," he said.

For more:
- read the Detroit Free Press article
- read the Henry Ford earnings press release