Not only did the five-hospital system see lower volume but it incurred additional costs in staffing up for the severe weather.
WellStar also incurred $24.7 million in expenses during the nine-month period related to training and implementation costs for the new electronic health-record system. During the prior-year period, it spent only $3.1 million.
“Once you understand our Epic costs coupled with the winter storms, you'll see our operating margins were very consistent” year-over-year, Budzinski said.
In total, WellStar reported a surplus of $70.3 million on revenue of $1.2 billion for the nine-month period, compared with a surplus of $101.6 million on revenue of just under $1.2 billion for the first nine months of fiscal 2013.
Its operating surplus for the period was $17.6 million, or $55.7 million before accounting for Epic and weather-related losses. Last year, its operating surplus for the period was $45.8 million.
Overall admissions were “consistent with prior-year levels,” Budzinski said, with outpatient activity up 2%.
He attributed the increase primarily to growth in the WellStar Medical Group, which had grown 25% to 440 physicians as of March 31. However, the system also booked higher salary and benefit costs associated with having more employed clinicians.
Georgia has not expanded Medicaid, and WellStar has not seen a difference in its uninsured rate of care, which was 10.7% in March 2014 compared with 10% in March 2013, Budzinski said.
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