- Universal Health Services followed other for-profit hospital chains with a positive first quarter earnings report Monday, posting a $209 million profit, up from $144 million during the same quarter last year.
- UHS beat Wall Street expectations on revenue with $3 billion for the first quarter, and announced plans to return $188 million in additional funds received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act during the second quarter of this year.
- Volumes are still depressed, though acuity is strong — same facility adjusted admissions at UHS acute care hospitals were down 12.1% compared to the same quarter of last year, and were down 4.9% for behavioral health facilities. But revenue per adjusted admission increased 26.3% and 6.2%, for acute care and behavioral, respectively.
A number of health systems have handed back COVID-19 relief funds, including HCA Healthcare and Mayo Clinic. UHS said it received the sum it plans to return in the first quarter of this year, and excluded the impact from its report.
But it still recorded more than $400 million in relief grants in 2020 that it didn't return.
To help providers struggling financially through the pandemic last year, the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program allocated $175 billion in grants, along with $100 billion in accelerated Medicare payments as loans.
In the first quarter, UHS repaid $695 million in accelerated Medicare payments, in addition to the $188 million in CARES funds it plans to return next quarter, according to its financial report.
"While we continue to experience residual effects from the COVID-19 virus, the net impact on lost revenues and incremental expenses in 2021 has not been nearly as severe as it was in 2020," CEO Mark Miller said during a call with analysts Tuesday.
UHS did not provide full-year guidance.
It's the latest for-profit chain to report financials amid a smoother-than-expected vaccine rollout, following Tenet, which posted a >$97 million first-quarter profit.
HCA's first quarter profit more than doubled year over year to $1.4 billion, according to its financials released Wednesday.
In September, UHS was hit by a massive cyberattack, disrupting standard operating procedures so much that ambulance traffic and scheduled procedures were diverted to competitor facilities, the hospital operator said in its 10-K report.
The incident lost UHS $67 million in the back half of 2020, though it still turned a profit for the fourth quarter and full year, much like other for-profit chains such as Tenet and HCA.