West Penn Allegheny Health loses $5.6M for quarter

In Pittsburgh, it's another sign of the times, with a major area health system--West Penn Allegheny--reporting an operating loss of $9.1 million and net loss of $5.6 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31. Meanwhile, the system lost a net $63 million last fiscal year, with $93.8 million in operating losses.

The system's cash flow did increase, and cash-on-hand improved to about 57 days. However, a well-capitalized hospital network might have 180 days cash on hand, and an average system about 100 days. And a 2 percent rise in acute-care admissions during the second half of 2008 wasn't enough to offset these forces.

The quarterly losses are driven by the same factors undermining hospital finances everywhere, including rising charity care loads and falling investment income. For the most recent quarter, investment income was $3.3 million, significantly less than the $11.9 million than the same quarter in 2007. Meanwhile, the system is facing a 20 percent increase in its charity care load.

To learn more about West Penn's situation:
- read this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article

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