Hospitals improve financial performance, but volumes are slipping

Last year was generally a year of financial improvement for hospitals, with profitability in 2018 demonstrating growth in operating margin of about 5 percent compared to 2017, and outperforming budget by 4.4 percent, according to a new Kaufman Hall analysis. But increasing their volumes is still a struggle for hospitals, and they underperformed in that area last year as compared to 2017. The underperformance in volume was a trend that held nationally for the most part, with discharges remaining steadily in decline. Unfavorable performance in emergency department visits continued to accelerate, and while adjusted discharges and adjusted patient days increased, the increase slowed last year compared to 2017.

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