Baptist Health remains financially strong, sees patient volumes begin to rebound

April 29, 2021

A baby boom at Baptist Health is a leading indicator that some patient services at the state's largest healthcare system are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY April 29, 2021 -- A baby boom at Baptist Health is a leading indicator that some patient services at the state’s largest healthcare system are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

One thousand and eight babies were delivered at the system’s nine hospitals in the second quarter of this fiscal year, up from 877 in the same quarter a year ago – a 14.9% jump, according to the system’s latest bond report, issued April 29. The report covers the first two quarters of the system’s fiscal year that began Sept. 1, 2020.

Notably, 18 sets of twins have been born at Baptist Health Lexington since January, a 3 percent increase over last year for that hospital.

“These little ones are not only a symbol of better days ahead but reinforce Baptist Health’s first place ranking in births, as one in four babies in Kentucky are born at a Baptist hospital, said Steve Oglesby, Baptist Health’s chief financial officer. “Baptist Health is in a strong financial position, and is poised for further growth.”

In comparing the first six months of last fiscal year with this fiscal year, a 38% surge in outpatient registrations (which includes the addition of Baptist Health Hardin and increases in cardiac electrophysiology, oncology services and COVID testing and vaccines) and a 16.3% increase in ambulatory surgical cases led the list for the hospitals, while inpatient admissions and surgeries still have not returned to last year’s pre-pandemic numbers.  

For the Baptist Health Medical Group, physician office visits are up 18.6% (which also includes the addition of the Baptist Health Hardin medical group and increases in telehealth visits), while in-person visits remained strong given a nearly nonexistent flu season due to the effectiveness of social distancing.

“People are accessing our growing telehealth capabilities, but are also feeling more confident about coming back for healthcare and that’s a good sign. We don’t want people to put their healthcare on hold, but to seek care when they need it, especially to schedule preventive screenings,” said Baptist Health CEO Gerard Colman.

To help care for those patients, Baptist Health plans to add more providers this year as part of its growth strategy and emphasis on improving access to healthcare.

Compared to the same quarter last year, Baptist Health’s operating income increased 186%, to $127.3 million. The operating margin improved from 2.9% to 6.7%.

Net patient service revenue increased 8.4% on a same-store basis for the six months ending Feb. 28, 2021 compared to the prior year same period, and increased by 22.6% including Baptist Health Hardin. Baptist Health Hardin joined the system at the start of this fiscal year.

Outpatient revenue, which represents just over 60 percent of Baptist Health’s net patient service revenue, increased to $961 million for the first six months of this fiscal year – a 6.7% hike over the same period last year. When including Baptist Health Hardin, outpatient revenue jumps to $1.07 billion.

Baptist Health’s significant cost-saving efforts cushioned the financial effects of COVID-19, and the health system recorded $63.4 million in income from the new Kentucky Medicaid Hospital Rate Improvement Program (HRIP) during the quarter.  The estimated annual HRIP income is approximately $95 million.

Another bright spot was growth in specialty and retail pharmacy business of $18.9 million. Baptist Health now has retail pharmacies in all of its hospitals – opening them at Baptist Health Floyd and Baptist Health La Grange in the last six months. Baptist Health Louisville’s retail pharmacy just expanded its hours from five to seven days a week.

The hospitals offer a “Meds to Beds” program that allows patients to have their prescriptions filled by the in-house pharmacy before they leave the hospital. The medications are then delivered to their bedside on the day they’re discharged.