South Florida hospitals see increasing margins

Hospitals in South Florida have vastly improved their profit margins over the past several years, likely by increasing revenues through outpatient services and observation care, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

According to the Business Journal, the 65 hospitals in the region reported a combined net income of $748.3 million last year, up from $697.5 million in 2011, with profit margins increasing to nearly 6.1 percent from 5.8 percent. By comparison, the profit margin for hospitals in the region was just 1.7 percent in 2008. Revenue was also up more than 2 percent.

Generally, the average profit margin for a hospital is in the 4 percent to 5 percent range, according to a variety of healthcare data.

The South Florida Hospital Association credited the rise to increased outpatient visits or observation care cases, the Business Journal reported. It did not say if this entailed cost-shifting to patients, who can be left holding large bills for observation care in some circumstances, according to Kaiser Health News.

Nationwide, net patient revenue growth is at its highest rate since 2008.

The most profitable institution was the University of Miami Clinics system, which reported net income of $90.9 million last year, up $10.3 million from 2011.

To learn more:
- read the South Florida Business Journal article
- read the Kaiser Health News article