Sutter launches ‘sweeping review’ of finances after $321M operating loss

https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/sutter-launches-sweeping-review-of-finances-after-321m-operating-loss/596221/

Digital assistant uses AI to ease medical documentation at Sutter | Health  Data Management

Dive Brief:

  • Sutter Health is launching a “sweeping review” of its finances and operations due to the pandemic’s squeeze on the system in 2020, which led to a $321 million operational loss, the system said Thursday. 
  • The giant hospital provider in Northern California said it will take “several years to fully recover,” adding that it plans to restructure and even close some programs and services that attract fewer patients, and will reassign those employees to busier parts of its network. 
  • Sutter, which spent $431 million to modernize its facilities last year, is also reassessing its future capital investments due to its current financial situation. 

Dive Insight:

The pandemic “exacerbated” existing challenges for the provider, including labor costs, Sutter said. 

Expenses again outpaced revenue in 2020 and Sutter fears the trajectory is “unsustainable.” 

In 2020, Sutter generated revenue of $13.2 billion which was eclipsed by $13.5 billion in expenses, which was actually lower than its total expenses reported in 2019. 

Last year, the system invested heavily to prepare for the pandemic, buying up personal protective equipment and other supplies all while volumes declined. Sutter estimates it spent at least $121 million on COVID-19 supplies, which does not include outside staffing costs. 

Sutter said labor costs represented 60% of its total operating expenses, blaming high hospital wage indexes in Northern California, which it said are among the priciest in the country.

Still, Sutter was able to post net income of $134 million thanks in part to investment income, which was also deflated compared to the year prior. 

Volume has not rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, the system said. 

Admissions, emergency room visits and outpatient revenues all fell year over year, according to figures in Sutter’s audited financial statements. 

Other major health systems were pinched by the pandemic but were able to post a profit, including Kaiser Permanente.  

Genesis HealthCare plans to cut $236M in debt, delist stock from NYSE

Genesis Corporate Headquarters | Paul Risk Construction

Kennett Square, Pa.-based Genesis HealthCare will institute a three-pronged restructuring plan to improve its financial metrics and cut debt by $236 million, the company said March 3. 

Genesis HealthCare is a holding company with subsidiaries that provide services to more than 325 skilled nursing facilities and assisted or senior living communities in 24 states. 

As part of its financial improvement strategy, Genesis agreed to end master lease agreements at 51 assisted or senior living facilities leased from Welltower and transition them to new operators. Genesis expects to receive $86 million from the deal, which it will use to repay a portion of its debt obligations to Welltower. 

Genesis will also receive $170 million in debt reduction from Welltower after completing the transaction. 

The company also signed a definitive agreement for a capital infusion of $50 million from ReGen Healthcare, which ups its ownership interest in Genesis to 25 percent.  

The third part of the strategy is that it will voluntarily delist its Class A common stock from the New York Stock Exchange and deregister its common stock under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

“The severity of the pandemic dramatically impacted patient admissions, revenues and costs, compounding the pressures of our long-term, lease-related debt obligations,” said Genesis CEO Robert Fish. “These restructuring transactions improve the financial and operational stability of the company significantly and build on the encouraging signs we are seeing as COVID-19 case rates continue to materially decline and residents, patients and staff are vaccinated.”

COVID-19 to cost hospitals $323 billion, American Hospital Association says

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/covid-19-to-cost-hospitals-323-billion-american-hospital-association-says.html?utm_medium=email

Catastrophic financial impact of COVID-19 expected to top $323 ...

Hospitals will lose $323.1 billion this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the American Hospital Association. 

The total includes $120.5 billion in financial losses the association predicts hospitals will see from July through December on top of $202.6 billion in losses they estimated between March and June. The losses are in large part due to lower patient volumes.

“While potentially catastrophic, these projected losses still may underrepresent the full financial losses hospitals will face in 2020, as the analysis does not account for currently increasing case rates in certain states, or potential subsequent surges of the pandemic occurring later this year,” the AHA said.

Hospitals and health systems are reporting an average decline of 19.5 percent in inpatient volume and 34.5 percent in outpatient volume when compared to baseline levels from last year. Most hospitals don’t expect to return to last year’s levels in 2020.

Read the full report here.

 

 

 

Quorum Health to emerge from bankruptcy next month

https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/quorum-bankruptcy-approval-emerging-in-july/580805/

Dive Brief:

  • For-profit hospital operator Quorum Health received approval of its plan to recapitalize the business Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Quorum expects to emerge from bankruptcy in early July, according to regulatory filings.
  • The system filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 7 to address current liquidity needs while continuing to care for patients and keep its hospitals operating amid a pandemic, according to a statement. It entered into a restructuring agreement with a majority of its lenders and noteholders.
  • Quorum still needs the court to issue a final order, but said the reorganization will reduce its debt by about $500 million, as originally expected.

Dive Insight:

Tennessee-based Quorum Health, which operates 22 rural and mid-sized hospitals in 13 states, may have been more ill-positioned financially than other systems going into the pandemic.

The company went public in May 2016 with 38 hospitals — 14 of which have since shuttered. In 2017, private equity firm KKR took a 5.6% stake in the system for $11.3 million.

Beyond being Quorum’s largest debt-holder today, KKR also owns about 9% of its public shares. In December, the firm offered to buy Quorum out and take the hospital chain private at $1 a share.

But that didn’t pan out, and Quorum instead ended up filing for bankruptcy in April, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The restructuring agreement now “allows our company to begin a new chapter with the flexibility and resources to continue supporting our community hospitals as they serve on the frontlines of this pandemic and beyond,” Marty Smith, Quorum’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement Monday.

“We are grateful for the confidence of our financial stakeholders and partners, as well as our dedicated employees and physicians, and look forward to building on the significant progress we have made in strengthening our operations in recent years,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Trinity Health expects $2B revenue plunge as it cuts, furloughs more staff

https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/trinity-health-cutting-cost-cutting-2-billion-revenue-shortfall/580738/

The Dumbest Things You Can Do With Your Money | Work + Money

Dive Brief:

  • Trinity Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems, said Monday it will take more measures to cut costs due to the downturn spurred by the novel coronavirus. The restructuring plan includes eliminating positions, extending furloughs, severances and reductions in schedules. The decisions are being “customized” across the system based on factors that include volume projections and the cost and revenue challenges in each market.
  • The Livonia, Michigan-based hospital operator said it continues to treat COVID-19 patients, however, it has “for now seen declining numbers of very sick patients with COVID-19.”
  • The system said it expects revenue to be depressed or “below historical levels” for the remainder of this fiscal year and much of the next. It projects revenue to drop by $2 billion to $17.3 billion for fiscal year 2021, which starts after its June 30 year end.

Dive Insight:

In May, Trinity said it planned to furlough nearly 12% of its workforce — or 15,000 employees out of the 125,000 nationally.  

Trinity, one of the nation’s largest hospital operators with 92 facilities and operations across 22 states, is now broadening that restructuring, extending and adding new furloughs.

In a Monday bond filing, Trinity said its operations were “significantly” impacted by the effects of the pandemic as many operators saw depressed volumes due to shelter-in-place orders, which started in most of Trinity’s markets during the last two weeks of March.

“The effect of COVID-19 on the operating margins and financial results of Trinity Health is adverse and significant and, at this point, the duration of the pandemic and the length of time until Trinity Health returns to normal operations is unknown,” according to Monday’s bond filing.

The system said relief funds provided by the federal government have not been enough to cover its operating losses. Trinity has received $600 million in relief funds that do not have to be repaid and more in loans through the advanced Medicare payment program, according to a previous analysis by Healthcare Dive.

Still, the system said it has drawn on credit facilities totaling $1 billion to provide adequate liquidity during the pandemic. Trinity reported having 178 days cash on hand as of March 30.

Some nonprofits are faring better than Trinity and pulling back on earlier staffing cuts.

Mayo Clinic said last week it will call back its furloughed workers by the end of August and restore pay that had been cut due to the pandemic.

Mayo has some of the most cash on hand in terms of days when comparing other major nonprofit systems. Mayo had 252 days of cash on hand as of March 30, more than the other 20 largest nonprofits except Cleveland Clinic and New York-Presbyterian.

 

 

An optimistic view from health system workforce leaders

https://mailchi.mp/9f24c0f1da9a/the-weekly-gist-june-5-2020?e=d1e747d2d8

Aldous Huxley and Brave New World: The Dark Side of Pleasure

Continuing our series of Gist member convenings to discuss the “Brave New World” that awaits in the post-pandemic era, we brought together a group of senior human resources and nursing executives this week for a Zoom roundtable.

Several themes emerged from the discussion. First, there was general consensus that the COVID crisis exposed a workforce that had become over-specialized and inflexible. Said one chief nursing officer, “Our workforce is much more brittle than we thought.” A key lesson learned is the need for increased cross-training—especially for nurses, and especially in critical care. Systems should work now to increase the supply of nurses comfortable in an ICU environment to enable hospitals to flex staff across settings and roles to deal with future waves of the virus.

Not surprisingly, layoffs were top-of-mind for many. Executives were of one mind on the need to safeguard clinical staff as much as possible, and many systems are now considering deep cuts to management and administrative ranks: “It’s easier to stand in front of your clinical staff and be able to say you’ve stripped millions from administration before turning to clinical cuts.”

There was broad consensus for the potential for artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to enable greater reliability and productivity at lower cost in areas such as billing, coding, and even some clinical functions—and that the pandemic will accelerate plans to implement these solutions.

On a more optimistic note, one executive shared that “relationships between clinicians and administrators have never been stronger. The pandemic has forced us to have difficult and constructive conversations we would have never had the courage to have before.”

Another noted the pandemic has spotlighted new leadership talent who might otherwise have been overlooked, and plans are now in place to formally recognize and retain newly crisis-tested talent for the work of restructuring the system.

On the whole, the discussion was far more upbeat that we had expected—as difficult as the crisis has been for many teams, the opportunity to rethink old ways of doing business seems to have created renewed enthusiasm even in the face of daunting financial and operational challenges ahead.

 

29 hospital bankruptcies in 2020

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/29-hospital-bankruptcies-in-2020.html?utm_medium=email

Hospital Bankruptcy | HENRY KOTULA

From reimbursement landscape challenges to dwindling patient volumes, many factors lead hospitals to file for bankruptcy. At least 29 hospitals across the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy this year, and the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may force more hospitals to enter bankruptcy in coming months.

COVID-19 has created a cash crunch for many hospitals across the nation. They’re estimated to lose $200 billion between March 1 and June 30, according to a report from the American Hospital Association. More than $161 billion of the expected revenue losses will come from canceled services, including nonelective surgeries and outpatient treatment. Moody’s Investors Service said the sharp declines in revenue and cash flow caused by the suspension of elective procedures could cause more hospitals to default on their credit agreements this year than in 2019.

The hospitals that have filed for bankruptcy this year, which are part of the health systems listed below, have not cited the pandemic as a factor that pushed them into bankruptcy. Though most of the hospitals are operating as normal throughout the bankruptcy process, at least two of the hospitals that entered bankruptcy this year have shut down.

Quorum Health
Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum Health and its 23 hospitals filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 7. The company, a spinoff of Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, said the bankruptcy filing is part of a plan to recapitalize the business and reduce its debt load.

Randolph Health
Randolph Health, a single-hospital system based in Asheboro, N.C., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 6. Randolph Health leaders have taken several steps in recent years to improve the health system’s financial picture, and they’ve made progress toward that goal. Entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy will allow Randolph Health to restructure its debt, which officials said is necessary to ensure the health system continues to provide care for many more years.

Faith Community Health System
Faith Community Health System, a single-hospital system based in Jacksboro, Texas, filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 29. The health system, part of the Jack County (Texas) Hospital District, entered Chapter 9 bankruptcy — a bankruptcy proceeding that offers distressed municipalities protection from creditors while a repayment plan is negotiated.

Pinnacle Healthcare System
Overland Park, Kan.-based Pinnacle Healthcare System and its hospitals in Missouri and Kansas filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 12. Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Mo., formerly known as Cooper County Memorial Hospital, entered bankruptcy about a month after it abruptly shut down. Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Overland Park, formerly called Blue Valley Hospital, closed about two months after entering bankruptcy.

Thomas Health
South Charleston, W.Va.-based Thomas Health and its two hospitals filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 10. In an affidavit filed in the bankruptcy case, Thomas Health President and CEO Daniel J. Lauffer cited several reasons the health system is facing financial challenges, including reduced reimbursement rates and patient outmigration. The health system said the bankruptcy process will help it address its long-term debt and pursue strategic opportunities.