Cash flow at hospitals continued to be strong in the second quarter of 1995, according to the quarterly Hospitals Accounts Receivable Analysis published by Aspen Publishers, Gaithersburg, Md. Gross days revenue outstanding dipped to 65.7 in the second quarter, compared with 65.8 days in the first quarter of 1995 and 66.8 days in the second quarter of 1994. In addition, uncollectible write-offs edged down slightly to 4.5% of gross revenues, which is an all-time low. In the previous quarter, the percentage was 4.7, according to the analysis. The percentage of accounts receivable that remained unpaid for more than 90 days also dropped to 29.6, compared with 30.5% in the first quarter.
Baxter International said its second-quarter earnings rose 15% to $165 million, or 59 cents per share, from $144 million, or 52 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose 6% to $2.5 billion, driven by medical-specialty businesses such as cardiovascular and renal products, the Deerfield, Ill.-based hospital supplier said. In the six months ended June 30, Baxter's net income rose 13% to $310 million, or $1.11 per share, from $275 million, or 99 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Total sales rose 6% to $4.8 billion. Baxter said it has continued to cut marketing and administrative expenses and expects to meet its goal of generating $500 million in operational cash flow in 1995.
Hospital complication rates for coronary artery bypass graft surgery should not be used as an indicator of quality, according to a study published in the July 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors found almost no correlation between hospital rankings based on complication rates and those based on either mortality rates or "failure-to-rescue" rates-deaths following complications. The study also found that hospital characteristics generally associated with high quality also were associated with high complication rates-but with lower-than-expected mortality rates. The authors speculated that differing criteria and reporting practices may make complications difficult to measure. The study was based on data from 16,673 patients at 57 hospitals.
In communities where residents perceive poor access to healthcare, there are higher hospitalization rates for chronic diseases, according to a study of California hospital discharge data in various urban areas. Conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension often lead to preventable hospital stays, when they could be treated at a lower cost and managed more effectively on an outpatient basis. The findings were published in the July 26 Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers at San Francisco General Hospital also surveyed adults in those communities, who reported on access to care where they live.
Baltimore-based HCIA will make a public stock offering of 2.3 million shares. The healthcare information company said it will offer 1.5 million new shares, and AMBAC, a New York-based holding company that controls 70% of HCIA's stock, will offer 800,000 shares. HCIA also posted a 330% jump in second-quarter earnings to $1.2 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with net income of $278,000, or 5 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenues rose 60% to $12.3 million.
Glaxo Wellcome plans to scale back its Greenville, N.C., operations by transferring or eliminating about 1,000 jobs over the next five years. About 300 employees will remain at the plant. During the phase-out, Glaxo Wellcome's plant in Zebulon, N.C., will take over production of prescription medicines. Great Britain-based Glaxo Wellcome also will relocate distribution, technical development and related functions. The Greenville facility will continue to produce over-the-counter medicines.
Comdisco said it has acquired certain assets of National Equipment Sales and Leasing in Canton, Mass., for undisclosed terms. With the deal, it formed a new business division to lease, manage and recondition laboratory equipment used by drug companies and healthcare facilities, such as blood gas analyzers, centrifuges and microscopes. Rosemont, Ill.-based Comdisco is the largest independent lessor of diagnostic imaging equipment.