UHS Q1 results hit by COVID-19 as operating income falls 30%

Dive Brief:

  • Universal Health Services said the COVID-19 pandemic has had a “material unfavorable effect” on its first quarter results, forcing the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based health system to rescind its earnings forecast for the full year.
  • Operating income fell 30% to $237 million in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year. Expenses grew by 5%, outpacing revenue growth, which increased by a slim 0.9%.
  • Adjusted admissions at its acute care facilities on a same-facility basis decreased 4% during the first quarter compared to the same period last year. At its behavioral health facilities, adjusted admissions on a same-facility basis decreased 2%.

Dive Insight:

The fallout from COVID-19 continues to batters hospitals as they’ve been forced to halt a substantial portion of their most lucrative services.

UHS said patient volumes dramatically declined during the second half of March at both its acute care hospitals and behavioral health centers. The negative trend has continued into April, the system said Monday in its first quarter earnings release.

As a result of the financial strain, UHS said it has implemented numerous measures to mitigate the fallout, including a “reduced spend rate” and reduced magnitude for previously planned capital projects. The company will also suspend its stock repurchase program and payment of quarterly dividends.

As the virus lashes hospital operations, Congress and federal regulators are attempting to offset the financial effects by providing grants and loans.

Federal regulators have tried to keep them whole through a sum $175 billion in funding earmarked for providers in two pieces of legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed in March and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act passed Friday.

UHS said in April it did receive federal CARES Act funding but did not disclose how much it had received.

Other providers have revealed the extent of the funding they have received. Mayo Clinic said Friday it had received $150 million in CARES funding plus an additional $900 million in advance Medicare payments, which CMS put on pause this week.

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