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Hospital profitability, volumes struggled during 2018, with a few exceptions

January 14, 2019 / Jeff Lagasse

With 2018 now in the books, it's possible to see how certain trends played out in the world of healthcare. Kaufman Hall was certainly interested in examining the year that was, and in looking back, the firm found that while 2018 got off to a bad start, hospital volumes and profitability rebounded here and there -- though not nearly enough to make it a banner year. The summer months tended to be stronger on the profitability front, but Kaufman Hall's December Flash Report found it was the second month in a three-month period in which profitability declined. Operating EBITDA margin declined 54 basis points and operating margin declined 83 bps. This performance is being driven, in part, by declining volumes and utilization, increasing lengths of stay, and increasing expenses -- particularly for supplies and purchased services.