- Cleveland Clinic reported an operating profit of $339.5 million in the second quarter, compared to an operating loss of $201.8 million in the same period a year ago, when the hospital system was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of non-essential procedures between mid-March and early May.
- Net patient service revenue increased 51% in the second quarter from a year ago as acute admissions, surgical cases and outpatient visits all climbed and the system benefited from rate increases in its managed care contracts. Still, the Ohio-based hospital operator said it saw a new influx of COVID-19 patients in its Florida facilities in July and August.
- Total operating expenses were up 14% in the quarter due to the increase in patients served, but Cleveland Clinic said it has taken steps to reduce costs, including restricting travel and suspending annual pay increases for caregivers in 2020 and postponing some non-critical capital expenditures.
Just as some health systems have started to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic, COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise again across the country due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, renewing concerns about pressures on hospital margins.
A new report from Fitch Ratings said hospitalizations in some areas are now higher than they were during previous surges in the pandemic. The report notes that hospital resources are stretched as some facilities approach full capacity, and some are being forced again to postpone non-emergency cases.
A separate report from hospital consultants Kaufman Hall last week found that hospitals' outpatient revenues fell 2% from June to July, and operating minutes declined in the timeframe, suggesting patients may again be delaying non-urgent care due to concerns about COVID-19.
After losing $831 million in 2020, Cleveland Clinic swung back to profitability in the first quarter of this year, boosted by its Feb. 1 acquisition of Mercy Medical Center.
While the hospital system built on that momentum in the second quarter, patient volumes still have not returned to expected levels, and the clinic said it is concerned that routine care has been avoided or delayed.
In July and August, Cleveland Clinic's Florida region saw a surge in COVID-19 patients, with hospitalizations of patients with the virus in the state higher than at any point during the pandemic. The recent surge caused the system to postpone non-emergency procedures that require an overnight stay at Indian River Hospital, effective in late July, and Martin Health hospitals as of early August.
Weston Hospital is evaluating nonemergency care on a case-by-case basis, while Indian River Hospital is also reducing some outpatient care services, excluding primary care and cancer treatments, to allow its providers to support inpatient care during the surge. Cleveland Clinic said it will continue to monitor bed capacity and caregiver support.
Overall, the number of patients served in the second quarter rose from a year ago, as acute admissions increased 31% and total surgical cases increased 73%. The system reported a 30% rise in inpatient surgical cases and 96% increase in outpatient surgeries in the second quarter, compared to a year ago. Emergency department visits during the quarter were up 46%.
The hospital said it received $162.4 million in federal coronavirus relief payments in April that it recognized in the second quarter. It received $423.3 million in provider relief payments in 2020.