Ascension's March acquisition of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare's Milwaukee-area hospitals already has paid dividends.
The giant Catholic system posted higher revenue and operating income, largely due to Wheaton's performance, according to Ascension's first quarter financial statement.
Ascension saw its in-patient admissions rise 4.3% in the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a year ago. Its in-patient surgeries rose 3%, observation days grew 6.1% and emergency room visits rose 9.8%.
Those were all negatives in the quarter without Wheaton. Same-store admissions fell 1.4%, in-patient surgeries 2.1%, observation days 1.7% and ER visits 0.2%.
Ascension, the nation's largest not-for-profit hospital company, posted income from operations in the quarter of $173 million on revenue of $5.63 billion. That compares with operating income of $113 million in the year-earlier quarter on revenue of $5.2 billion.
Wheaton helped drive Ascension's operating margin to 3.1% from 2.2% in the year-earlier quarter.
Ascension merged Wheaton with its Columbia St. Mary's operations to create a Wisconsin system of about $1.3 billion in annualized revenue.
Ascension is rebranding all of its operations nationally to carry the Ascension name in an effort to highlight the strong national system that boasts its local delivery of healthcare.
The rollout, which includes a national advertising campaign, started in Michigan and Wisconsin at the Wheaton operations.