September 2020
National Hospital Flash Report
Based on August Data from Over 800 Hospitals
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Dear Readers, The first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic have been turbulent for our nation’s hospitals and health systems. Since suffering severe losses at the start of the pandemic in March and April, hospitals have struggled to regain solid footing amidst low patient volumes, unpredictable revenues, and high per-patient expenses. Margins have consistently performed below 2019 levels as a result. Even so, the last few months had shown some signs of potential progress, with margins increasing incrementally month-over-month. August represents a setback in that progress, with margins falling both month-over-month and year-over-year. Operating Margin fell 1.8 percentage points or 18% year-over-year and 1.2 percentage points or 12% month-over-month, not including federal CARES Act funding. Overall, Operating Margin is down 7.9 percentage points or 89% since the start of the year compared to the first eight months of 2019 without CARES funding. With the federal aid, Operating Margin is down 2.3 percentage points year-to-date, as shown in this issue of the National Hospital Flash Report. While the August numbers are concerning, they are not surprising. The road to recovery will be long and challenging, and fraught with ups and downs. Healthcare leaders cannot afford to be sidelined by such setbacks. No other public health crisis in recent history has proven the importance and necessity of our nation’s hospitals like COVID-19. We must ensure the long-term viability of these vital institutions. Perseverance is key for hospital and health system leaders working to guide their organizations through these difficult times. Leaders must focus on steering toward a more stable future, so that hospitals across the country can continue to serve our communities through this and any future pandemics and public health crises. Thanks,
Jim Blake Managing Director and Publisher
Kaufman Hall
See Kaufman Hall’s Coronavirus page for regular updates.
©2020 Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC
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National Hospital Flash Report
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