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DISTRESSED DAILY: U.S. Hospitals Recover, But Some Pain Lingers

May 26, 2021, 12:00 PM

A year after the first Covid-19 wave, U.S. hospitals are recovering, but not yet thriving.

The good news: With a robust vaccine rollout driving cases down and patients returning for more profitable elective procedures, hospital revenues rose 72% last month relative to April 2020, excluding federal CARES Act funds, according to a new Kaufman Hall report. Operating margin jumped 113% on the same basis.

But plenty of challenges remain. Hospitals’ median operating margin last month was 2.4% excluding CARES funds, and 3.3% with that money. Costs have risen, too. They’re up 13% from last April.

“Rather than significant strength ...

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