- The Cleveland Clinic had its strongest financial performance ever in 2021, as the pandemic drove record levels of clinical activity — and subsequent revenue.
- The Ohio-based academic medical giant's total operating revenue reached $12.4 billion last year, up 17% from 2020's topline. Operating income was $746 million, more than three times 2020's operating income of $232 million. Both metrics, released last week by CEO Tom Mihaljevic in an annual address, were also notably higher than the system's pre-pandemic performance in 2019.
- Cleveland Clinic conducted 10.4 million outpatient visits — the nonprofit's first time exceeding 10 million patient visits in a year — and had more than 22,800 COVID-19 admissions.
The 6,500-bed Cleveland Clinic has yet to publicly issue a comprehensive financial statement, but some initial figures shared on Wednesday illustrate how Cleveland Clinic — like some other major hospital chains — has actually prospered financially during the pandemic.
In 2021, the 19-hospital system, which also manages more than 220 outpatient facilities, cared for the most patients in its history, including a massive number of COVID-19 patients, though non-COVID-19 care also drove revenue. Those patients tended to be sicker and require more complex care, resulting in higher payments.
Like other providers, Cleveland Clinic is reporting the majority of its COVID-19 inpatients are unvaccinated, contributing to ongoing pressure on resources and emotional stress on already overworked staff, knowing that such hospitalizations might have been prevented.
"We have never cared for so many critically ill patients with COVID-19. Most of them are not vaccinated. Their suffering could have been prevented, and that knowledge is hard on our teams, who are short-staffed and weary," Mihaljevic said Wednesday in an annual address on the state of the clinic.
Roughly 64% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated with at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A smaller percentage of 42% has received an additional booster shot, which public health experts recommend to augment immunization.
But a persistent number of Americans are resisting the shot, despite the fact that unvaccinated people are at much greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated. Even as new coronavirus cases are falling across the country, hospitalizations remain at near-peak levels and deaths continue to rise — mostly among this population.
Currently, about 145,000 patients with the virus are hospitalized in the U.S., according to data from HHS.
Efforts from the Biden administration to institute a vaccine mandate for large employers were blocked by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court earlier this month, though the nation's highest court allowed a vaccine mandate for healthcare facilities to go through.
Cleveland Clinic recently announced its own employee vaccination mandate, despite concerns such requirements could cause providers to shed valuable staff. Roughly 90% of its caregivers are already vaccinated, Mihaljevic said, with the chief executive saying Wednesday he expects only a "truly small" number of employees to be noncompliant with the mandate.
Workers found noncompliant with Cleveland Clinic's mandate will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence.
The system plans to reinvest its financial windfall in future growth. It plans to fund $1.3 billion in projects this year, with nearly half of that going to renew current facilities, Mihaljevic said.
2022 projects include the opening of new hospital facilities, including in London and Ohio.
Cleveland Clinic has been a major economic driver for the state of Ohio, something Mihaljevic stressed in his speech. The nonprofit contributed $21.6 billion to Ohio's economy in 2019. It's also investing $300 million to create the Cleveland Innovation District, a project launched in January 2021 with three hospital systems partnering with two universities on research and new projects. The Innovation District, which is partially funded by taxpayer dollars, has pledged to create 1,000 new jobs in the next seven years.
As of the end of 2021, Cleveland Clinic holds total assets of $13.8 billion.