- Ascension's income from operations fell 9% to $84.5 million during the six month period ended Dec. 31, 2019, compared to the prior-year period, according to financial documents released Friday.
- The not-for-profit health system's operating expenses grew 4.2%, slightly outpacing revenue growth of 4% compared to the prior-year period. Ascension attributed the expense growth to increased volumes and expanded services lines, among other items.
- Ascension's net income swung back to black thanks to its return on investments. Net income hit $795 million compared with a net loss of $567 million during the six months last year.
Ascension, one of the nation's largest health systems, is attempting to remake itself as persistent sector headwinds pressure admissions and reimbursement.
The Catholic system's latest financial report shows that total discharges remained flat as outpatient services continued to increase, which is an area the system is focused on growing.
With a sizable footprint of 150 hospitals throughout the country, the system has been working on a new strategic vision that focuses less on hospital campuses and more on how best to care for patients outside of those facilities.
"Over the past several years, Ascension has systematically built capacity to manage the care of those we serve in a different manner as we migrate from fee for service to fee for value and from inpatient to outpatient care," the organization said in its most recent financial filing.
As such, Ascension's biggest volume drivers are from its outpatient services.
Outpatient visits, including trips to the emergency room, increased nearly 5% during the period compared to the same time frame a year earlier.
Outpatient surgical visits increased nearly 2%. However, the biggest volume growth came from physician office and clinic visits, which jumped 8.3%.
Ascension also noted that the acuity level of patients did increase over this time period.
Most publicly traded hospital companies have yet to report quarterly financials.
HCA, the nation's largest for-profit operator of hospitals, late last month reported broad based volume growth, including a 5% increase in same-facility admissions during the fourth quarter of 2019. Community Health Systems reports on Wednesday.