Hospital profits down a bit, but still healthy

Carson-Tahoe Hospital's profits decreased in 2004, according to an annual report released by the state.

The hospital finished the year with a total net-operating profit of $6.2 million, from $119.3 million in total revenue. The net from 2003 was $6.9 million, according to the state Division of Health Care Financing and Policy.

The net-operating revenue is the amount directly related to patient care. Carson-Tahoe and other Nevada hospitals have other sources of revenue as well, which can range from gift shop sales to medical office rentals for some facilities, according to C-TH Chief Financial Officer Sharon Johansson.

Carson-Tahoe did better than most hospitals in 2004. Johansson said the facility is stable, but until the new hospital at the north end of Carson City opens, limited by its capacity.

The number of admissions to the hospital rose marginally from 8,401 to 8,520.

"That's because we're at capacity," she said.

She said Carson-Tahoe is sometimes forced to divert or transfer patients to larger facilities in Reno because it doesn't have additional beds. The new facility will reduce that problem. It also means family members won't have to drive to Reno to see patients.

"Think about the inconvenience. This will be great for the community," she said.

Billed charges increased from $5,186 per day in 2003 to $5,993.

Johansson said the increase is related to what the hospital can bill for and its costs, and that it's not added profit. In fact, she said, the average daily profit per patient went down in 2004 from $138 to $133.

"Just because billed charges get higher doesn't mean the profit is going to be higher," she said.

Johansson said the hospital's numbers will jump substantially once the new, larger facility is open in December.

Among Nevada's existing hospitals, profits from hospital operations decreased 35 percent during the year to $63.8 million. When losses from four new facilities opened in 2004 are factored in, total profits for hospitals in 2004 were $27.4 million.

Washoe Medical Center reported a solid increase in profits for 2004 - a total of $41 million in net income, $28.9 million of that from hospital operations. That, however, was reduced a bit by $4.85 million in losses at Washoe Medical's South Meadows Center.

St. Mary's was again in the red, with a $7.99 million net loss. St. Mary's lost $3.2 million in 2003.

The Incline Village Community Hospital reported a profit of $243,801 for 2004. Hospital operations at South Lyon Medical Center finished $429,941 in the red for the year. County-owned rural hospitals, including those two facilities, reported a total net profit of $1.3 million from hospital operations during the year. But the only reason they did was the infusion of $6.6 million in tax revenue.

The five privately owned rural hospitals in Nevada made an operating profit of $8.98 million. That list includes Carson Valley Medical Center - with 2004 profits of $1.36 million - and Churchill Community Hospital in Fallon, which made $978,919 for the year.

Major swings in the bottom line at two facilities and losses by a new hospital drastically decreased profits in Southern Nevada.

University Medical Center losses rose from $2.9 million in 2003 to $8.5 million in 2004. Sunrise Hospital, which had a $15.2 million bottom line in 2003, lost $2.76 million in 2004.

Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center lost $31.7 million in its first year of operation. Altogether, profits at the 12 Clark County hospitals finished the year at $25.4 million.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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