The annual study from
Baumgarten drew on different data focused primarily on hospital services, and found outstate health systems often include one or two big hospitals that post sizable profits. The large sums more than offset the financial results, he said, of smaller medical centers in rural areas that are affiliated with the health systems.
"These large hospital systems that are outside
Those non-hospital services often generate lower profit margins or financial losses, so the "net income/margin data reported [by Baumgarten] is overstated by a factor of 2 and 3 times," the hospital association said in a statement.
The trade group said it disagreed with Baumgarten's comment that some large hospitals beyond
"Bottom line, this report overstates the financial health of
Hospitals raised similar objections when researchers from
In the new report, Baumgarten found that 52 major hospitals in outstate
"Outstate hospitals have enjoyed strong and growing profits in recent years, on average higher than those of
A summary of the report added that outstate hospitals saw profits increase by 22 percent in 2014.
During 2015, the
"Those hub hospitals in these outstate systems make the system as a whole a very powerful entity," Baumgarten said, adding that more small rural hospitals are merging into large systems. "It's almost as if these hub hospitals of these outstate systems are exerting a gravitational pull that draws patients and hospitals and physicians."
CentraCare offered similar comments, saying non-hospital services "rely on solid financial performance from other areas of the system in order to remain financially viable and benefit the community."
The trade group's report included specific results for 70 health systems across the state, and found that 21 lost money on operations during 2015. None of the money-losing hospital systems was based in
Net income figures during 2015 in the hospital association's report for
Baumgarten said he agrees the data he draws on is limited to the hospital facilities, so the numbers don't portray a comprehensive view. Even so, he defended his methodology.
"However, the hospital operations are by far the largest component of the health system and account for most of the system's revenue and expenses," he said via e-mail. "Further, there are no alternatives sources of comprehensive data on health system finances that are uniformly reported and publicly available."
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