COVID-19 surges may dull for-profit hospitals' Q3 finances

If Tenet Health care Corp. is any indication, ongoing COVID-19 surges may have made the 3rd quarter particularly challenging for investor-owned hospital chains.

Florida and Texas, both which are home to many for-profit private hospitals, were major coronavirus hot spots within July and August. Responding to COVID spikes is expensive for private hospitals, and the spikes tend to dissuade individuals from seeking care for non-COVID problems.

Tenet could be the only for-profit hospital company that is certainly released its full results for the third quarter, which usually ended Sept. 30. Two from the peers are scheduled to do so in a few days.

“Early within the third quarter there was still a respectable amount of disruption, ” said John Tanquilut, a healthcare analyst along with Jefferies.

Tenet’s CEO said the third quarter has been even more challenging than the second, which usually ended June 30, despite optional procedures being largely shut down in the last quarter. That’s because the company taken care of about 60% more COVID individuals across its hospitals in the 3rd quarter compared with the second.

However , Tanquilut said may possibly be some evidence surgery centers are usually picking up patients who are avoiding private hospitals, which could be a modest upside. That will certainly is the case for Tenet, whose ambulatory surgery cases, for instance , were at 96% of their prior-year levels in Sept.

Emergency division visits continue to lag behind other areas, however. Tenet stated its ED visits were simply 74% of their prior-year levels in September. In a put peek of its third quarter outcomes , HCA Healthcare said this expects same-facility ED visits to become 80% of prior-year levels.

Hospitals tend to discover volume lulls in July plus August because that’s usually whenever patients and providers take holidays, said A. J. Rice, controlling director of equity research regarding Credit Suisse. In the third one fourth of 2020, however , that development will be partially offset by individuals coming back for procedures they deferred in the second quarter when optional procedures were largely shut down in several areas.

Since Tenet and HCA have already demonstrated, hospitals’ revenue per admission is definitely shaping up to be off-the-charts rich in the third quarter. Tenet explained in the earnings call Wednesday that its 17% increase in internet revenue per adjusted admission is because of three factors: higher acuity individuals, a stronger mix of commercial individuals and revenue growth from Tenet’s contracted physicians. HCA’s was upward 15% year-over-year.

Rice said that’s largely since the only most intensive procedures would be the ones that continue to stay in private hospitals. Others are either filtered out to surgical procedure centers—as many patients continue to prevent hospitals—or put off until later.

Cost cutting may also continue to be a major focus. HCA’s primary operating income figure of $950 million before taxes in the third quarter suggests continuing success with cost cutting, Grain said. HCA managed to slash the expenses by a striking 16. 6% in the second quarter .

Tenet’s expenses had been down by about 1% year-over-year in the third quarter, in contrast to an 11. 3% year-over-year decrease in the second one fourth.

Hospitals will also likely have recognized more of their own Provider Relief Fund grants within the second quarter than the third, possibly boosting their profit and revenue in the earlier quarter. Much of HCA’s $1. 1 billion profit in the 2nd quarter was composed of the grant money, which the corporation later announced it was giving back again .

“I don’t think anybody booked all of it, however the vast majority of it was booked within the second quarter results, ” stated Stephen Tanal, a senior study analyst with SVB Leerink.

In the long run, Rice stated he thinks the trajectory from the broader economic recovery will have large implications for hospitals. Whether individuals have commercial insurance or Medical planning makes a significant difference in terms of profitability.

“We’ll be looking to find out how that plays out, inch Rice said.