U.S. community hospitals aggregate profits rose 22% in 2006 to a record high of $35.2 billion, yielding the industrys largest margin, 6%, in eight years, figures released by the American Hospital Association show. Net revenue for the nations 4,927 community hospitals rose 7.8% last year to $587.1 billion as expenses climbed at a slower rate, 7%, to $551.8 billion. Community hospitals include nonfederal, short-term, general and specialty hospitals. Operating revenue growth held steady at 7.3% last year, totaling $574.9 billion.
The number of public not-for-profit community hospitals increased by nearly 1% to 1,119 and the number of investor-owned hospitals rose a little more than 2% to 889. Meanwhile, the figures show a roughly 1% drop in the number of private not-for-profit hospitals to 2,919. -- by Melanie Evans
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