Community Health posts net loss of $252M on investments, high nursing costs

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A sharp labor shortage of nurses and other health providers is continuing to pound Community Health Network.

The Indianapolis-based system posted a net loss of $252.1 million for the first nine months of the year, due mostly to a large loss in investments, along with increases in wages, supplies and other expenses.

Community Health owns seven hospitals in central Indiana, including Community Hospital North, its largest, in the Castleton area, which has 461 beds.

Net patient revenue increased an undisclosed amount, driven by an increase in volumes in many areas. Adjusted patient days climbed 5% and adjusted admissions rose 5.7% during the period. Visits to emergency rooms edged up 3.2%. Inpatient surgeries dipped 1.4% but outpatient surgeries rose 4.9%.

The network also received $52.3 million of federal pandemic relief, compared to $28.5 million a year ago.

Yet expenses soared during the same period. Employee costs climbed $140.9 million, as hourly wages rose 13%, driven by higher overtime and premium pay costs as well as sign-on bonuses. Temporary labor costs surged 174%.

“The increase in temporary labor costs resulted from increased use of temporary agency staffing for nursing positions due to the shortage of available nurses to fill open positions,” the system said in a filing to bondholders.

Other high expenses during the period were drugs, radiology supplies, linens, implants and insurance. Overall, supplies costs rose $41.5 million.

As a result, income from operations fell by 86%, to $20.2 million.

The biggest hit on the income statement was a loss of $256.2 million on investments, compared to a gain of $169.2 million a year ago. Community Health did not offer details on the investments.

Community Health said it had 247 days of cash on hand as of Sept. 30, as compared to 308 days on December 31.

Community Health operates more than 200 points of care, including clinics, freestanding surgery centers, imaging centers, urgent and immediate care centers.

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6 thoughts on “Community Health posts net loss of $252M on investments, high nursing costs

    1. Bingo. We don’t know their net operating margin (since “sales” aren’t reported here), but the nut of the story really is that a non-profit health network earned a small operating profit despite challenging conditions and massive investment losses.

    1. Rules require valuation at current market for marketable investments…and everybody is down 20-25% this year. Since they’re cash equivalents, it is a real loss.

  1. Let’s see, temporary labor costs surged by 174% resulted from increased use of temporary agency staffing for nursing positions due to the “shortage” of available nurses to fill open positions.” And this “shortage” was created how?!! Go…!!!!!

    1. In economics we explain that there’s only a “shortage of supply” when the buyer isn’t paying enough for the product or service to balance supply and demand at a higher level.

      Nursing wages have largely been stagnant for years…and hospitals wonder why they can’t find nurses.