Report: Mass. Hospitals' Profitability Up

The overall profitability of Massachusetts hospitals improved last year, but 11 of the 64 still lost money, according to a new state report.

The 2013 fiscal year report released Wednesday by the Center for Health Information and Analysis said the total margin of Massachusetts hospitals - the percentage of revenues exceeding expenses - climbed to 4.1 percent in the period ending Sept. 30, from 3.8 percent a year earlier.

The margin increased to 4.6 percent from 3.6 percent at the state's six academic medical centers.

But at 23 hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of Medicaid and Medicare patients, the margin fell to 3.6 percent from 5.6 percent.

"It's clear this was a good year for hospitals, but there was a lot of variation," Aron Boros, the center's executive director, told The Boston Globe. "When you look at the hospitals that have negative margins, they are the hospitals that have had strains over the years."

The state's most profitable hospital was Boston Children's Hospital, which earned $157.7 million.

The largest loss, $20.3 million, was posted by North Shore Medical Center in Salem.

Five profitable hospitals registered non-operating gains, from investments and other activities that offset operating losses.

The report understates the financial pressures on hospitals, said Tim Gens, executive vice president of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, citing government reimbursement cuts, a decrease in inpatient volume, and a push to reduce medical expenses.

"What the margins don't tell you is the age of the facilities, their debt service, their access to capital, their cash on hand - all these are examples of the measures you have to pay attention to if you manage hospitals," he said.


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