Income surges for publicly traded health systems including HCA, Universal Health Services

Drugs and money
Universal Health Services reported a 22% jump in profits in the second quarter to $226 million on revenue of $2.7 billion. (Getty/LIgorko)

Nashville-based HCA Holdings had the most profitable second quarter among publicly traded health systems with income of $820 million on $11.53 billion in revenue—a 25% increase compared to the second quarter of 2017.

Citing growth across the majority of its service lines, the health system giant was just one of several publicly traded health systems that saw profits surge last quarter by 20% or more compared to the same quarter in last year, according to a review by FierceHealthcare.

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services reported a jump in profits in the second quarter to $226 million on revenue of $2.68 billion. That's a 22% increase from $185 million in net income on $2.61 billion in revenue for the system, which has more than 350 acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities and ambulatory centers across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.K.

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Brentwood, Tennessee-based LifePoint Health and Franklin, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems both reported improved income despite lower revenue last quarter. 

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LifePoint reported profits of $52 million on revenue of $1.57 billion, up from $43 million on revenue of $1.59 billion.

Community Health Systems reported losses of $110 million last quarter on $3.5 billion in revenue in the second quarter. That represented an improvement of 25% compared to its losses of $137 million on $4.1 billion in revenue in the same quarter of 2017. The health system owns, operates or leases 118 hospitals in 20 states with approximately 20,000 licensed beds.

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This quarter echoes what Axios' Bob Herman found when he looked at profits among a collection of dominant nonprofit hospitals around the U.S. 

Earlier this year, CNBC reported U.S. health systems were beginning to feel the pain of falling profits as patient care shifts toward outpatient settings and labor costs grow. That's based on median hospital operating cash flow margin as measured by Moody’s Investors Service, which fell to 8.1% last year from 9.5% in 2017.

Moody's projected for-profit hospitals would remain stable on higher earnings and flatter margins.

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