- Universal Health Services posted a $325 million profit in the second quarter of this year, up from $251.9 million during the same time last year, according to financial results released Monday.
- The hospital operator beat Wall Street expectations on earnings and revenue, posting revenues of $3.2 billion in the second quarter — a 17% jump from the same time last year.
- The company also boosted its full-year guidance, though executives cautioned on a call with investors that rising COVID-19 delta variant cases and corresponding labor pressures pose some ongoing uncertainties.
For-profit hospitals so far have reported positive second quarter earnings as non-COVID-19 volumes finally started to rebound, though rising cases of the delta variant could hamper their prospects for the rest of the year.
"During the past four to six weeks, many of our hospitals have experienced significant surges in the number of COVID patients, and it is not evident that this surge has yet reached its peak," CFO Steve Filton said on the call Tuesday with investors.
UHS' COVID-19 volumes are currently around where they were last summer, though they aren't as bad as the peak in January, CEO Marc Miller said.
But volumes in the second quarter of this year are much stronger than they were last year at the chain's 26 acute care hospitals and 334 behavioral health facilities.
Adjusted admissions at UHS acute care hospitals rose 26.4% compared to the second quarter of 2020, and adjusted patient days rose 21.6%. At behavioral health facilities, adjusted admissions rose 14.1% year over year and adjusted patient days increased 7.4%.
Expenses rose to $2.76 billion, compared to $2.37 billion during the same quarter last year.
UHS followed HCA and Tenet in reporting positive second quarter earnings in part due to rebounding volumes, though labor woes remain as another surge could exacerbate burned out healthcare workers even further.
Nurses in particular have reported widespread burnout throughout the pandemic, with some planning to leave their jobs for other roles outside of direct patient care, or to retire.
Some systems facing dire shortages are dangling massive sign-on bonuses to attract new nurses to permanent roles as they try to rely less on travel nurses.
"The concern is with the resurgence of COVID that turnover rates could increase because we've seen turnover rates increase every time that COVID volumes increase," Miller said.