Steward hospitals question earnings data
BOSTON (AP) — Officials at for-profit hospital chain Steward Health Care System are taking issue with state figures that show that nine of the company’s 10 hospitals in Massachusetts lost money in the first quarter of this year.
Quincy Medical Center, which Steward acquired in 2011, reported the system’s largest loss — $5.6 million, according to data included in a report from the state Center for Health Information and Analysis.
Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River was the only profitable Steward hospital, with earnings of $4.7 million.
Total Steward hospital losses narrowed to $12.2 million in the first quarter of 2013 from $14.3 million in the same quarter a year ago.
The company is financially stronger than the state numbers suggest because they don’t reflect revenue from Steward-owned doctors’ practices, outpatient clinics, surgical centers, insurance products, and other businesses, spokesman Chris Murphy told The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/15Af4Ys ) on Wednesday.
“In a world of accountable care organizations, to look at individual hospital performance is not only misleading, but it demonstrates a lack of understanding of health care reform and cost containment,” Murphy said
The most profitable Massachusetts hospitals, according to the state, were Children’s Hospital Boston, which earned $93.2 million; UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, at $70.7 million; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Boston, with $67.4 million; and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, which reported $55.4 million in earnings.
For most of the state’s nonprofit hospitals, which start their fiscal years Oct. 1, the numbers cover six months. The figures for Steward, which operates on a calendar year, cover only three months, while the report details numbers for nine months at Cambridge Health Alliance, whose fiscal year ends June 30, according to state officials.
The report underscores disparities between struggling community hospitals and richer academic medical centers that receive more lucrative reimbursements from insurers, according to Alan Sager, a professor of health policy and management at Boston University’s School of Public Health.
Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com