Cost of a day in hospital up $55 to average $673

February 07, 1991|By Michael K. Burns

The cost of one day in a Maryland hospital averaged $673 last year, up $55 from 1989, the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission reports.

The bill for an average stay in the hospital hit $5,048 in 1990 -- a tab that was 10 percent higher than in 1989, according to the commission, which released figures yesterday showing an 8.7 percent increase in hospital costs in Maryland last year.

That growth rate was well above the general inflation rate, but was lower than the national hospital average (9 percent) for the 15th straight year, saving Marylanders about $5.3 million last year, Chairman Charles O. Fisher Sr. pointed out.

Hospital profits declined 14 percent from $78.3 million to $67 million last year, according to the agency's annual report on the 55 regulated acute-care institutions in Maryland.

But operating profits rose to $12.4 million, compared to $6.6 million in 1989. Declining revenue from other sources not regulated by the commission accounted for the drop in overall profits.

Other income includes endowments and contributions, non-regulated functions such as gift shop or off-site health services, and extraordinary gains and losses from financial activities. Hospitals reported other income of $54.6 million in 1990, down from $71.8 million in 1989.

John M. Colmers, the commission's executive director, noted that Maryland hospital revenues rose as the commission modified its rate system last year, rewarding hospitals with increased revenues as they beat the rate of growth of hospitals nationally. Admissions and total patient-days rose slightly in 1990, he added.

Nineteen hospitals had profits of more than $2 million. Homewood Medical Center in Baltimore and AMI Doctors Hospital of Prince George's County incurred the biggest losses.

Homewood, a part of the Johns Hopkins system, reported a $3.7 million loss, which industry sources say was related to its unique payment system from the federal government for military retirees and their families.

Doctors Hospital was sold by the AMI chain last fall and now is operated as a non-profit community hospital, which the commission expects will improve its bottom line in 1991.

Sinai Hospital in Northwest Baltimore reported a net profit of $2.1 million despite a huge operating loss of $8.2 million. Endowments and contributions helped to make up the losses.

The hospital announced a cutback of 200 jobs last fall as a result of falling occupancy rates.

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