Kaufman Hall found that even with federal COVID-19 relief packages, hospital operating margins are still down 28% year-to-date compared to 2019.
Hospital operating margins are down 96% since the start of 2020, according to Kaufman Hall's August Flash Report released Monday morning.
Last month, provider organization operating margins declined 2% year-over-year but rose 24% month-over-month. Similarly, operating EBITDA margins fell 5% year-over-year but rose 12% month-over-month.
The report found that even including funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES), hospital operating margins are still down 28% year-to-date compared to 2019.
"COVID-19 has created a highly volatile operating environment for our nation’s hospitals and health system," Jim Blake, managing director at Kaufman Hall, said in a statement.
Without CARES Act funding, July gross operating revenues were flat year-over-year while the year-to-date metrics were down 8% compared to 2019.
By segment, inpatient revenues are down 5% year-to-date and outpatient revenues are down 11% year-to-date.
Hospitals and health systems continue to face volume challenges but have seen some improvement compared to spring months when the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began.
In July, discharges were down 7% year-over-year but up 6% month-over-month, while adjusted patient days were down 4% compared to July 2019 but up 7% compared to June 2020.
Operating room minutes rose 3% month-over-month as more non-urgent procedures have resumed but remain down 15% year-to-date.
July also marked the fifth straight month of double-digit year-over-year declines for emergency department visits for hospitals.
“COVID-19 has created a highly volatile operating environment for our nation’s hospitals and health system.”
Jim Blake, Managing Director at Kaufman Hall
Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.