COVID-19-related expenses and procedure cancellations drove Sutter Health's operating loss margin to nearly 20% in April.
Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter revealed in a bond filing Wednesday that it lost $168 million on operations in the month of April alone, a loss margin of 18.6%. That factors in in a suite of COVID-19 relief programs, without which its operating loss would have surged to $360 million in April, a loss margin of 50.5%.
California's stay-at-home order took effect March 19, which explains why so much of the damage to Sutter's finances struck in April. Other health systems are reporting similar effects. For-profit Community Health Systems said its surgeries had dropped 70% year-over-year in April.
Sutter lost $404 million from operations in the first four months of 2020, an operating loss margin of nearly 10%. That's on just under $4.1 billion in total operating revenue and $4.5 billion in expenses in the period ended April 30.
The not-for-profit health system said as of May 12, it had received more than $200 million in COVID-19 grants from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act's Provider Relief Fund. The health system said it was also benefiting from other assistance programs, such as the CARES Act's 20% add-on payment for COVID-19 patients and the Social Security tax deferral. Sutter said it had also received about $1 billion in accelerated Medicare payments from the CMS.
Like other systems, Sutter also experienced a steep investment loss as stocks sunk on COVID-19-related fears. That pushed the health system's overall loss to $961 million in the four-month period.