Kathryn Thomsen

Hospitals See Profit Margins Decline Along with Charity Care in Third Quarter

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Oregon’s acute care hospitals suffered under a recent stock market plunge with the median statewide total margin falling 48 percent in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same period in the previous year.

Although expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has improved the bottom line for Oregon’s hospitals, forces outside their control – such as market fluctuations – have recently contributed to falling profit margins.

Washington’s Top Health Insurers Fared Well Compared to Oregon in 2015

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In spite of a 1 percent decrease in enrollment from the previous year, Group Health Cooperative served as a beacon, outshining the other top Washington-based health insurers in 2015. Group Health ended 2015 with a 5 percent increase in 2015 – to $118 million – and an offer for acquisition by Kaiser Permanente (approved by its membership in early March, 2016).

The top 10 health insurers in Washington fared well compared to their Oregon counterparts last year.

Big Hospital Profits Don't Guarantee Big Givers

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In spite of record high profits for Oregon’s nonprofit hospitals in 2014, only half gave equal or better community benefits compared to the previous year. Overall, hospitals gave $3.8 million less community benefits in 2014 (compared to 2013) with the lion’s share going toward unreimbursed Medicaid and Medicare expenses and charity costs. Willamette Valley Medical Center came out on top with the highest profits and highest paid community benefits.

One might expect with sharply increasing profits for Oregon’s hospitals in 2014, communities would reap more program benefits, education, research or financial assistance as a result. However, in 2014 this played out for only 31 of Oregon’s 60 hospitals.

Oregon Hospitals Charged into First Quarter

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Hospitals are reaping the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, seeing sharply increasing profits and plummeting costs of charity care. OHSU witnessed a whopping 61 percent decline while Legacy Emanuel was not far behind with a 50 percent savings.

The first quarter of 2015 revealed some striking financial gains for Oregon’s acute care hospitals.

High Healthcare Costs Not a Guarantee of Quality

By spending 2 percent less on healthcare the result could lead to $283 million in savings

A new report revealed that healthcare costs are not highly correlated with quality, and a 2 percent reduction in overall spending by Oregon’s healthcare providers could result in savings of $283 million.

CCOs Showing Strong Financials in Second Quarter with One Exception

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With one exception, Oregon’s coordinated care organizations (CCOs) all reported strong profits in recently published second quarter financial reports through June 30, 2015.

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