Trinity Health generates nearly $700M in profit over 9 months thanks to strong investment gains

Hospital finance
Strong investment returns helped Trinity Health overcome lingering patient volume declines caused by the pandemic. (Getty/utah778)

Hospital chain Trinity Health generated $694 million in operating income for a nine-month period ranging from July 2020 through March 2021 as the system continues to weather volume declines due to COVID-19.

Trinity posted $15.1 billion in operating revenue during the nine-month period, an increase of $895 million compared to the same period the year before. The system also gave an inside look into how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted its payer mix and patient volumes as investment gains helped offset lingering volume declines.

The improved results were “driven by higher operating revenue and strong cost controls on discretionary spending compared to the same period of fiscal 2020,” Trinity said in its earnings report released Friday. “In addition, strong investment returns drove non-operating gains higher.”

But Trinity has also experienced higher expenses handling the pandemic, like other hospital systems across the country. The system reported $14.4 billion in expenses in the nine-month period, an increase of $97.6 million compared to the same period the year before.

The increase was primarily due to higher expenses for pandemic-related supplies such as personal protective equipment, lab and drug costs and labor expenses.

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Trinity also reported nonoperating gains of $2.6 billion for the nine months compared with a loss of $746 million over the same period the year before. The change was due to “higher investment earnings driven by overall global investment market conditions,” the report said.

Another major driver has been the $1.3 billion in provider relief funds. Trinity also deferred payments on Social Security taxes for employees from March 27, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020.

The pandemic continues to have an impact on the system’s operations, especially with patient volumes on the decline due to the pandemic.

Net patient service revenue increased $155 million thanks to “payment rate increases and improved case mix, that were partially offset by $610.8 million of volume declines,” Trinity said.

Year-over-year volumes measured by case mix discharges declined by 4.1% for the nine-month period compared to the prior fiscal year.

Trinity said patient volumes have not returned fully to pre-pandemic levels.

Several other hospital systems such as HCA Healthcare and Tenet have also posted profits in 2021 despite surges of the virus in January and February.