SOUTH: Norton rides investment gains to big 2016 surpluses
Norton Healthcare in Kentucky saw strong investment gains, an area that has helped other health systems score earnings wins for the year.
Norton, a five-hospital, not-for-profit system, had the strongest earnings in 2016 among the four main competitors in Louisville, including the University of Louisville Hospital, Baptist Health and KentuckyOne.
Operating income slipped slightly for the year, according to the system's financial disclosures. Norton posted operating income of $125.3 million on revenue of $2.1 billion compared with operating income of $130.2 million in 2015 on revenue of $2 billion.
Investment income, however, increased to $23.3 million in 2016 compared to an investment loss of $36 million in 2015. Taken together with other non-operating income, Norton posted a higher net surplus in 2016.
Adam Kempf, Norton senior vice president of finance, said financial markets generally were a little stronger in 2016 giving rise to better investment income for the system.—Dave Barkholz
MIDWEST: UnityPoint posts surplus thanks to investment gains
UnityPoint, which operates 19 hospitals in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, posted an investment gain of $168.8 million in 2016 compared with $726,000 in 2015, according to its financial disclosures.
That gain and other non-operating income more than offset a big decline in operating income for the year, down to $6.6 million compared with $67.5 million in 2015. Des Moines-based UnityPoint ended the year with net income of $144.7 million on revenue of $4.1 billion compared with net income of $58.3 million on revenue of $3.9 billion in 2015.
The health system, which includes a large physician practice and a health plan, received approval from the Federal Trade Commission last month to proceed with UW Health in Wisconsin to run UnityPoint's Meriter hospital in Madison under a joint operating agreement. —Dave Barkholz
WEST: California Senate panel pushes single-payer proposal
California lawmakers last week pushed a proposal to turn the healthcare system in the nation's most populous state into a single-payer program.
The plan, promoted by the state's powerful nursing union and two Democratic senators, is a longshot even though it made it past the state Senate Health Committee. Supporters hope the timing is right to persuade lawmakers in California, where Democrats like to push the boundaries of liberal public policy.
The measure would guarantee health coverage with no out-of-pocket costs for all California residents, including people living in the country illegally.
Private insurers would be barred from covering the same services, essentially eliminating them from the marketplace. Instead, a new state agency would set prices and contract with healthcare providers such as doctors and hospitals and pay everyone's bills. —Associated Press