Baptist Health volumes rebound from COVID slowdown

August 05, 2021

Demand for services is rebounding as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – Aug. 2, 2021 -- Demand for services is rebounding as COVID-19 restrictions ease, boosting revenue for Baptist Health, Kentucky’s largest healthcare system.

In its third quarter bond report, released July 30, Baptist Health reports a significant increase in revenue and earnings since last May when the coronavirus struck and non-urgent procedures ground to a halt. Operating income, or revenue after subtracting operating-related expenses, totaled $189.2 million across its hospitals, outpatient clinics and physician offices.

“The increase indicates that while consumers continue to utilize our digital health options, they are also returning to see their doctors and catching up on outpatient care they may have deferred as the state and nation began reopening,” said Steve Oglesby, Baptist Health chief financial officer.

Outpatient revenue continues to increase as consumers seek convenient access to care and now represents just over 61% of total customer revenue for the system. Admissions to Baptist Health’s hospitals continue below pre-pandemic levels, but a bright spot was the continued baby boom, up 1 percent from last year.

“Our hospitals and medical practices are busy. We are seeing strong outpatient volumes, particularly in heart care, orthopedic surgery, cancer treatment, home care and people returning to in-person visits with their physician,” Oglesby added. “Our volumes continued to increase, and our financial performance has improved in response to that. We are looking forward to a positive year and reinvesting in our communities.”

Some $95 million from the Kentucky Medicaid Hospital Rate Improvement Program (HRIP) was a large contributing factor to the positive performance over the past quarter, thanks in large part to leadership from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Kentucky Hospital Association that helped make the program a reality, Oglesby said.

The nonprofit health system, which reinvests all profits into providing care for its communities, has a number of capital projects in the works. In the Kentuckiana area alone, those projects include the just-announced freestanding Baptist Health ER & Urgent Care in Southern Indiana (plus one in Jeffersontown), new outpatient medical centers in St. Matthews and on Fern Valley Road, a just completed ER expansion and renovation at Baptist Health La Grange, added surgical suites and a medical observation unit at Baptist Health Louisville. In nearby Central Kentucky, a new medical pavilion at Baptist Health Hardin is in the works.