Baptist's Financial Health Dips in 1Q


Baptist's Financial Health Dips in 1Q
Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock.

Baptist Health of Little Rock, like other health care providers in the state, took a financial hit in the first quarter as a result of COVID-19, and it isn’t looking better for the second quarter, which ended June 30.

Just how bad was the first quarter?

The state’s largest hospital system reported an unaudited operating loss of $5.13 million for the quarter ending March 31, compared with a $1.33 million loss in the same quarter in 2019.

But when other income is included, Baptist’s loss for the quarter was $60.5 million, although nearly all of that was tied to a $55.4 million investment return loss thanks to stock prices tanking in March. That bottom line number for Baptist in the first quarter of 2019 was a positive $28 million.

The good news for Baptist is that the markets have “largely recovered in the second quarter, so we expect that a large portion of the first quarter investment losses we incurred will be recovered in our second quarter 2020 financial report,” Brent Beaulieu, chief financial officer for Baptist Health, said in an email to Whispers.

But Baptist has continued to see lost revenue and additional expenses in the second quarter because of the pandemic.

“Though patient services have largely recovered as of the end of June, they are still below historical levels, and we expect the second quarter operating losses to exceed those recognized in the first quarter,” Beaulieu said.

“Fortunately, we did receive government relief money in the second quarter that will help offset some of the losses, as well as provide some relief for future losses that we expect to continue for the foreseeable future due to the ongoing pandemic.”

Those second-quarter numbers haven’t been released yet.

Before the pandemic hit, Baptist was “on target with budget,” Beaulieu said. Then Baptist had lost revenue from cutting services and more expenses. It also didn’t receive any government relief money during the first quarter, he said.