In readership surveys conducted for MODERN HEALTHCARE, the articles that top the charts are often the ones with Columbia in the headline.
Hospital executives everywhere seem eager to eat up any news on Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s activities and the latest pronouncements from its visionary chairman and chief executive officer, Richard Scott.
But even a vision is equal to the sum of its parts, and there are some more basic facts that tend to get neglected in the week-to-week reporting fray. Where are the Columbia hospitals? What localities do they serve? How much money do they really make? How many patients do they admit? Is the Columbia hospital down the road as profitable as the one across town?
To try to answer these questions, MODERN HEALTHCARE*enlisted the aid of HCIA, a Baltimore-based healthcare information company. HCIA compiles Medicare cost reports submitted by every hospital in the U.S. into databases that can generate reams of financial and operational figures.
As a reader service, we asked HCIA researchers to prepare a list of Columbia hospitals and rank them in descending order by net patient revenues, much like the Fortune 500 list. We included other information often used to compare hospitals by size, market share or financial performance.
Based on the master table, we also derived four smaller tables showing the top 10 performing hospitals by dollar profits and profit margin and the 10 biggest money losers.
It's best to think of these numbers as a snapshot of one hospital at one point in time. The given reporting year in most cases is 1995. In instances where 1995 data were unavailable, incomplete or appeared irregular, HCIA used numbers from the 1994 cost reports. In a handful of cases, 1996 cost reports were available. Those hospitals whose most recent cost reports were dated 1993 were not included in the table.
The relative income, profitability and revenues of the included hospitals may have changed since the reporting year.
This list is not without complications and peculiarities. And because these statistics refer to such a wide variety of institutions in three different years, it would not be prudent to try to generate aggregate totals or averages from these numbers.
Nor is this exercise reflective of how the hospitals have performed under Columbia ownership. HCIA worked from the list of Columbia hospitals published on the company's World Wide Web site in mid-March. Some of these hospitals may not have been owned by Columbia at the time the cost reports were submitted.
Some hospitals owned by Columbia in 1995, the typical reporting year, have since been sold, traded, merged or closed.
We have printed the hospital names as they were submitted on the cost reports for that year. In approximately one-third of the cases, the name has since been altered. For the most part, the company has inserted Columbia in front of the old name. To find the proper names today, consult Columbia's Web site at http: www.Columbia.net/facility/facilist.html.
We have tried to take into account the rigidities of Medicare cost reporting and correct for obvious flaws. Because of the large number of hospitals on the list, it was not possible to review and cross-check each hospital's results.
Hospitals that submitted reports for other than a 12-month fiscal year are marked with footnotes. No occupancy rate is given for those facilities. The figures for dollars and admissions are for other than 12 months and therefore aren't directly comparable with the rest of the table.