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All 21 hospital health systems included in a new state analysis reported negative operating margins for the quarter ending March 31, a period that includes the early weeks of the COVID-19 emergency in Massachusetts.
The Center for Health Information and Analysis' report found that 17 of the 21 hospital health systems that submitted data also had negative total margins for the quarter, and the median total margin for acute hospitals was a negative 2.7 percent, down almost 7 percentage points from the same period last year.
The data, according to CHIA, does not reflect an influx of new federal funding related to COVID-19 but does cover the early days after Baker put a stay-at-home advisory in place and imposed restrictions, which have since been eased, on the health care field.
Seventy-nine percent of hospitals — 38 of 48 that reported data — had positive total margins as of Dec. 31. As of March 31, the percentage had dropped significantly — 36 percent, or 21 of 58 hospitals, said they had positive total margins.
The four cohorts into which CHIA categorizes acute hospitals — academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, community hospitals and community hospitals with a high proportion of public-payer patients — all "experienced a decrease in profitability between last year's period and the current period."
Community hospitals posted the lowest total margin of the cohorts, at negative 3.6 percent, down from a positive 2.9 percent the previous March. The total margin for teaching hospitals fell from 5.5 percent in 2019 to a negative 2.8 percent in 2020.
Ray Campbell, CHIA's executive director, said the quarterly report "presents early information on the financial toll the virus has taken on Massachusetts hospitals," and that his agency will publish additional COVID-related analyses as more data becomes available
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