By: Peter Markell

Tags: industry interactions

Every 90 days, Partners voluntarily issues a press release detailing our financial performance as a system.  We do this out of a sense of obligation to be transparent with our patients, our employees, government, bondholders, the media as well as the rest of the health care marketplace. As the largest employer in Massachusetts, there is a great deal of interest in how we are doing.

To read the press release click here.  The release is filled with important details and figures. I thought it would be helpful to offer a little perspective on what all of the numbers mean.

Overall our system reported an operating loss of $33 million in the third quarter. Certainly not the outcome we had hoped for, but there are things to be encouraged about. Our hospitals and physicians generated a positive operating margin of 3.1%. That is very strong by Partners standards. But, a number of one-time issues including the financial impact associated with preparing for a strike at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the early termination of a few leases as we move into Assembly Row led to a diminished bottom line.

Partners is fortunate to have a strong balance sheet. It enables us to provide the world-class care that our patients have come to expect from our hospitals and caregivers.

On the insurance side of our operations, the news was not as good, but NHP is still trending toward solid financial footing – albeit not as quickly as we all would hope for. There were a number of adjustments made related to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, which negatively impacted NHP’s third quarter performance.

And lastly, we continue to absorb significant losses as a result of government underfunding.  Through the first nine months of this fiscal year we have absorbed losses of nearly one billion dollars.  

Partners is fortunate to have a strong balance sheet.  It enables us to provide the world-class care that our patients have come to expect from our hospitals and caregivers.   As health care continues to experience rapid change, we need to work with government officials to ensure that our hospitals receive adequate reimbursement for the care they provide and that insurers like NHP are adequately reimbursed for the coverage they provide to low-income patients.  This will be critical to protecting our mission over the long term.

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