An analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Services Survey data on hospital visits shows the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital revenue in the United States, notably big declines in revenue during the pandemic’s early days and then big jumps in revenue once Congress approved pandemic relief.
After the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act was signed March 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services established the Provider Relief Fund program. Relief funds were distributed to the nation’s hospitals, tax-exempt and taxable alike.
The analysis, published Sept. 8 on the Census Bureau’s website, notes that the QSS collects revenue differently between tax-exempt and taxable firms on its hospital survey forms. The QSS asks tax-exempt firms to include nonoperating grant revenue in the calculation of total revenue because it’s generally a routine source of revenue for tax-exempt hospitals. But the survey asks taxable firms to exclude nonoperating grant revenue in the calculation of total revenue because it’s generally not a routine source of revenue for taxable hospitals.
“The quarter-to-quarter percentage changes for the hospital industry closely mirror its largest subset: tax-exempt hospitals that make up approximately 88% of the industry,” the analysis notes.
The data show that “revenue for tax-exempt hospitals dropped 5.5% in the first quarter of 2020. Revenue for taxable hospitals dropped 4.1% in the first quarter and another 10.7% in the second quarter of 2020.
“Hospital revenue increased significantly in the third quarter of 2020 with taxable hospitals up the most with a 19.1% increase from the second quarter of 2020. By the first quarter of 2021, total revenue for the hospital industry was up 10.6% compared to the first quarter of 2020.”