Health Care Revenue Up Slightly in 2012

National reports of slowing growth in health care spending were reflected in Arkansas Business’ list of the largest private companies.

While eight health care organizations reported an increase in revenue in 2012, only three of those had increases of more than 10 percent.

Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield remained in the No. 1 position among health care companies with revenue of $1.31 billion, an increase of 2.9 percent over the previous year.

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There was little movement on this year’s list of private health care companies. The firms in the first eight positions kept their same position as last year.

The organization that saw the biggest revenue increase was Arkansas Heart Hospital of Little Rock. Its revenue jumped 25.6 percent to $162 million in 2012. The performance moved the company from the No. 11 position last year to No. 9 this year.

St. Bernards Healthcare of Jonesboro saw its revenue increase 15.2 percent to $620.8 million for its fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

But revenue at most hospitals either dipped or remained relatively flat.

Paul Cunningham, executive vice president of the Arkansas Hospital Association, said the 2012 revenue numbers for all hospitals in the state weren’t available yet, but the trend has been flat.

Hospitals in Arkansas had net revenue of $5.2 billion in 2011, which was about the same about in 2010, he said.

It’s unclear what the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, will do for hospitals’ revenue next year.

Cunningham said he doesn’t expect a flood of newly insured people running to a doctor for treatment come Jan. 1, the date when most people are required to have health insurance or face penalties.

“I don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen,” Cunningham said. “It’s still sort of a guessing game.”

Returning to the list this year is HealthScope Benefits of Little Rock. The third-party administrator reported revenue of $76 million in 2012, up 8.9 percent from the previous year.