Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provided more chemotherapy and radiation in the first three months of 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the New York City hospital to postpone many surgeries in the latter part of March.
Sloan Kettering reported chemotherapy infusions were up 7.3% in the quarter ended March 31 compared with the prior-year period, and radiation oncology increased 9% in that time. Radiology services grew 20% in that period.
Still, Sloan Kettering reported a nearly $62 million operating loss in the quarter, a 4.4% loss margin. That's compared with $65.3 million in operating income for the same period in 2019, a 5% operating margin. The organization, which did not respond to a request for comment, wrote in the filing that COVID-19 will continue to negatively affect its financial condition. Not only has the pandemic brought stock market volatility, it has forced the organization to defer elective procedures and other treatments.
New York City has been far and away the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the country, with about 179,000 cases and almost 14,800 confirmed deaths as of May 10. The number of new cases reported by the city's health department has declined since April 6, when there were about 6,200 new cases. On May 8, the city reported 425 new cases.
Sloan Kettering's operating revenue grew 8.2% to $1.4 billion in the recently-ended quarter. The cancer center said volume reductions related to COVID-19 hindered its volume growth in the quarter, although it rounded out March with strong philanthropic revenue. Grants and contracts revenue dropped 4.7%, also due to COVID-19's effect on clinical trials.
At the same time, the cancer center's operating expenses spiked 19% in the quarter year-over-year, to almost $1.5 billion, which the provider said was due to the increased cost of treating COVID-19 patients. There were also start-up costs with the January opening of the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care.
Sloan Kettering said it received a $70 million grant from the Paycheck Protection Program and the Health Care Enhancement Act. The cancer center has applied for additional grant funding and said it expects to receive it. Sloan Kettering also received about $421 million in accelerated Medicare payments from CMS, money it has to begin repaying in 120 days.
Other volumes were mixed, with admissions down 3.4% year-over-year, and inpatient surgeries down 4.9%. Outpatient surgeries, by contrast, grew 4.2%.
Like other health systems, the organization also reported a steep drop in investment returns of about $524 million in the quarter. That's compared with almost $200 million in investment gains in the prior-year period. Sloan Kettering said its investment portfolio has generated an 11.6% negative return year-to-date.
The health system's net assets without donor restrictions declined by $589 million over the quarter, compared with a $271 million increase in the prior-year period.
Medicaid went from comprising 5% of the health system's hospital care and services revenue to 2% in the recently-ended quarter. Medicare grew slightly in that time, from 24% to 26%.