Brevard, Fla.-based Health First reported its third quarter surplus more than doubled compared to a year ago after the not-for-profit health system held expenses nearly flat while revenue
grew.For the three months ended June 30 (PDF)
, Health First saw its quarterly surplus climb 120% to $15.6 million from $7.1 million in the year-ago period. Increases in supply and other expenses were offset by drops in salaries and benefits, causing total operating expenses to fall as total revenue rose 3.3% to $285.1 million, up from $275.9 million in the third quarter of last year.
Year to date, Health First is looking stronger for fiscal 2014 than it did for fiscal 2013. Its surplus for the first nine months of the year is 4.6 times higher than it was at the same point last year as growth in revenue outpaced growth in expenses for the three quarters.
The provider controls a large share of the south Brevard market. According to an antitrust lawsuit against Health First filed in district court by a group of local physicians, the system controls more than 70% of the acute inpatient hospital market in south Brevard tied to its 1995 merger with Cape Canaveral Hospital and most recently its 2013 acquisition of Melbourne Internal Medicine Associates. This is the third amended complaint by a group of plaintiffs related to these allegations. The court has twice dismissed the earlier complaints; a motion to dismiss the third is pending.Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden