But after seeing an operating margin of less than 1% in the third quarter of last year, the system reported a 2.6% operating margin for the quarter ended June 30.
In total, Cone reported a net surplus of $21.5 million on revenue of $348.4 million. That compares to a net surplus of $10.3 million on revenue of $329.6 million.
While the overall story was positive, Cone said revenue was under budget because of a shift from inpatient to outpatient activity, largely driven by the two-midnight rule, a CMS policy change that makes it harder for hospitals to bill short stays at higher inpatient rates.
Its hospitals treated 3.2% fewer inpatients in the third quarter and performed 5.1% fewer surgeries. Outpatient visits, however, increased 9.6% year over year and emergency department visits were up 2.4%.
Cone also has carefully managed expenses, including labor costs. It reported 253 fewer full-time-equivalent employees, year to date, after opting not to fill vacant positions. It also came in under-budget on building, equipment and software maintenance.
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