Health Care Revenue Rises Slightly in 2013

Health care spending continued to inch up in 2013.

While nine of the 11 health care organizations on Arkansas Business’ list of the largest private companies reported an increase in revenue in 2013, none of them had an increase of more than 9 percent. And five of the companies had increases of less than 2 percent.

Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield remained in the No. 1 position among health care companies with revenue of $1.39 billion, an increase of 6.3 percent over the previous year.

The biggest revenue jump came from Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which reported revenue of $561.5 million for its fiscal year that ended June 30, an increase of 8.2 percent over the previous year.

Paul Cunningham, executive vice president of the Arkansas Hospital Association, said last week that he couldn’t point to a particular thing that caused revenue to rise at the state’s largest private hospitals.

He said revenue numbers should increase this year, thanks to the state’s passage of the “private option” alternative to Medicaid expansion. Under Arkansas’ program, the federal dollars earmarked for expanding Medicaid, an optional part of the Affordable Care Act, are instead being used to buy private health insurance for low-income workers.

Next year, QualChoice Holdings Inc. of Little Rock won’t be on this list. In April, Catholic Health Initiatives of Englewood, Colorado, announced that its subsidiary, Collab Health, agreed to buy QualChoice. The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

QualChoice’s revenue in 2013 was $154 million, down 6.1 percent from the previous year.

Jefferson Hospital Association Inc. of Pine Bluff, which runs the Jefferson Regional Medical Center, was the only other health care company on the list to see a dip in revenue. It reported $179.3 million in revenue for its fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, a decrease of 2.1 percent from the previous year.

A company that might find its way back on the list is HealthScope Benefits of Little Rock. It reported revenue of $85.4 million in 2013, missing the list by less than $3.5 million.