A financial study of Pennsylvania's hospitals reveals a recent decline in income and an increase in charity care cases.
The report was released last week by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.
It shows that the statewide gap between income and expenses, or the total margin, decreased from $2.69 billion to $2.3 billion, and the average total margin fell 1.22 percent in fiscal year 2012. The previous year saw a 1.78 percent increase in the hospitals' average total margin.
Since fiscal year 1989, the council has put out a series of financial reports that measure the financial condition of the state's hospitals and health systems.
York Hospital had a total margin of 8.34 percent in the last fiscal year. Hanover Hospital and Memorial Hospital recorded total margins of 3.91 and negative 6.34 percent, respectively.
The three-year averages show a more positive trend, with the hospitals' total margins at 10.95 for York Hospital, 4.75 for Hanover Hospital and negative 1.49 percent for Memorial Hospital.
At Memorial: Last year proved to be a transitional one for Memorial Hospital, as it went through an ownership change, said spokeswoman Josette Myers.
"Transitional periods can affect many aspects of hospital operations, including financial performance, as systems are changed, new processes are put in place, etc.," she said in an email.
As part of Memorial's makeover, it looks to build a new hospital with capital funds pledged as part of an ownership change. Tennessee-based operator Community Health Systems bought the hospital, Surgical Center of York and other facilities last year.
"Through our affiliation, we have access to new resources, group purchasing and processes that we expect will help us control costs and build financial stability over time," she said.
Another facility: The report showed the for-profit OSS Orthopaedic Hospital, located on the Powder Mill Road OSS campus in York, also saw a negative total margin, 14.87 percent, in its first reporting year.
But those results are misleading, said Teresa Strausbaugh, the hospital's controller.
Since the specialty hospital keeps track of its finances on a calendar basis, whereas the report uses a July-to-June period, there's a discrepancy in the results, she said. The independent hospital opened in October 2010, and was down 11.6 percent in its first full year. Last year saw a 7.1 total margin, a 19 percent growth in one year, she said.
"We're doing well in calendar year 2013 despite competition we have in the area," Strausbaugh said.
---The report shows that uncompensated care grew 6.4 percent, or about $62 million, statewide in the last fiscal year.
Hanover Hospital's percentage of uncompensated care was 3.52, with Memorial Hospital at 5.5 percent, York Hospital at 4.56 percent and OSS at 1.51 percent. The statewide average was 2.78 percent, with hospitals giving more than $1 billion in charity care.
---Between 2009 and 2012, net patient revenue grew by 4.47 percent at York Hospital to $791 million; by 0.35 percent at Memorial Hospital to $96 million; and by 3.15 percent at Hanover Hospital to $140 million. OSS garnered $21 million in patient revenue in its first reporting year.
The statewide revenue hospitals received for patient care grew 4.6 percent last year to $37.35 billion.
The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council's report analyzes 168 of the state's general acute care hospitals from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012.
The independent state agency collects and analyzes the cost of health care in Pennsylvania.