As Mass General Brigham emerges from many of the severe challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health system continues to navigate the nationwide labor shortage and a capacity crisis throughout its hospitals while facing mounting inflationary pressures. These challenges have profoundly affected patients, providers, staff, and system operations, yet Mass General Brigham is progressing with its strategy to build an efficient and integrated care model that allows patients to receive the right care in the right place, throughout their lifetimes.
“Despite the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are making great progress in advancing the Mass General Brigham strategy to build the integrated academic healthcare system of the future with patients at its center.” said Anne Klibanski, MD, President and CEO of Mass General Brigham. “These include advancements in transformative medical research, especially gene and cell therapy; hospital facility upgrades designed to enhance patient access and offer state-of-the art services; expansion of a value-based health plan offering through AllWays; and our unwavering commitment to bring care directly to those in underserved communities. We are very grateful to our employees who have not wavered in their commitment to our patients, throughout a very difficult time.”
Mass General Brigham reported a loss from operations of $193 million (-4.8% operating margin) for the second quarter which ended March 31, 2022. This includes losses of $183 million (-4.8% operating margin) from provider activity and $10 million (-4.0% operating margin) from insurance activity.
The system generated total operating revenue of $4.0 billion in the 2022 second quarter. Patient care revenue increased $107 million (4%) to $2.9 billion, reflecting higher inpatient acuity at Mass General Brigham’s academic and community sites, despite an overall decline in discharges. The system also generated $231 million in premium revenue (5% increase), $611 million in research revenue (10% increase) and $343 million in other revenue (28% increase, excluding CARES Act revenue received in 2021). Operating expenses totaled $4.2 billion, an increase of $461 million (12%) over the 2021 second quarter and remain elevated due to increases in wages (12%, including increased use and cost of temporary staffing as well as market wage adjustments to facilitate workforce retention), employee benefits (18%) and clinical supplies (15%).
“Patient care activity for the quarter was impacted by the Omicron surge, which necessitated reductions in certain elective procedures in January and February, as well as the ongoing clinical staff and bed shortage,” said Niyum Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Mass General Brigham. “While the surge peaked and subsided relatively quickly, labor and supply cost pressures have intensified and will continue to impact our operating performance, necessitating a heightened focus on operating efficiencies to enable investments that will improve patient access and affordability over the long-term.”
In the comparable 2021 quarter, the system reported income from operations of $250 million. This included $232 million of permanent grants from the Provider Relief Fund of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which were used to prevent, prepare for and respond to cases of COVID-19. Excluding these funds, operating income was $18 million (0.5% operating margin), including income from provider activity of $21 million (0.6% operating margin) and a loss from insurance activity of $3 million (-1.2% operating margin).
Due to the monumental stresses of caring for patients during several COVID-19 surges, fewer workers are choosing to pursue job opportunities in healthcare. Mass General Brigham is leveraging resources like its own MGH Institute of Health Professions, as well as a commitment to work with community groups and colleges to develop new channels for talent, specifically in underserved communities to enter our workforce for careers in healthcare. Robust programs to address burnout, behavioral health needs of our employees and creation of a trusted, safe, equitable work environment are also underway.
Mass General Brigham, a leader in academic discovery and translation of gene and cell therapies (GCT), is at the forefront of an extraordinary revolution to transform the application of GCT to drive innovative treatments for patients with rare and common diseases. Some examples of this work recently highlighted at the Mass General Brigham World Medical Innovation Forum include innovative approaches to projects such as: developing alternatives to immunosuppressive drugs in organ transplantation; designing drug delivery methods to efficiently cross the blood brain barrier; and discovering better treatments for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Throughout the next year, system leaders will identify and expand programming to support novel projects focused on bringing GCT therapies to patients.
AlliesSM is an innovative health insurance product for small and large employers that aims to transform the healthcare experience for the shared patients and members of Mass General Brigham and AllWays Health Partners by delivering affordable primary, specialty, and behavioral healthcare in the community. Key features of this highly integrated value-based care offering include streamlined customer support tools and health navigators to ensure convenient and easy access to care through a consultative approach. This high-performance network product was initially launched in late 2020 with Mass General Brigham’s Newton-Wellesley Hospital and will be expanded to include Mass General Brigham’s Salem Hospital in June 2022.
The state’s Public Health Council has given Mass General Brigham final approval for facility projects at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) that will transform care for patients. This approval is the final step in the Department of Public Health’s “Determination of Need” process and clears the way for MGH and BWFH to enter the final planning phase for these significant and important campus renovations that will improve access, quality, and the overall patient care experience. Mass General Brigham remains fully committed to working in partnership with the state to lower the cost of healthcare in Massachusetts, while building a new continuum of care for patients.
During the second quarter of fiscal year 2022, Mass General Brigham distributed many of the grants that comprise its $50 million commitment to fund new, comprehensive community and mental health strategies. Recipients include North Shore Community Health, a network of family health centers serving over 13,000 patients, which plans to implement an electronic health record system to enhance quality and make care more efficient and streamlined. These community grants build upon Mass General Brigham’s existing $175 million annual community health investment program and have also funded new fellowship programs at local colleges, including the Leadership in Community Behavioral Health Fellowship at William James College that seeks to build a more diverse and culturally responsive behavioral health workforce.
The system reported an overall loss of $866 million in the second quarter of 2022, including a nonoperating loss of $673 million. Nonoperating activity includes gains and losses on investments and interest rate swaps, which can vary significantly year to year due to volatility in the financial markets, and philanthropic activity. In the comparable 2021 period, the system reported an overall gain of $956 million, including a nonoperating gain of $706 million.
The system reported a loss from operations of $183 million for six months ended March 31, 2022. This includes losses of $168 million (-2.2% operating margin) from provider activity and $15 million (-3.3% operating margin) from insurance activity.
In the comparable prior year period, the system reported income from operations of $380 million. This includes $232 million of permanent grants from the CARES Act and $30 million Affordable Care Act risk corridor program subsidies for insurance coverage provided in 2014-2016. Excluding these funds, operating income was $118 million (1.6% operating margin), including income from provider activity of $135 million (1.9% operating margin) and a loss from insurance activity of $17 million (-3.6% operating margin).
For the six months ended March 31, 2022, the system absorbed $1.1 billion in Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Safety Net shortfalls due to certain government reimbursements that do not cover the full cost of providing care to Medicare, low-income, and uninsured patients, an increase of $181 million (20%) compared to the shortfall absorbed in the comparable prior year period.
The system reported an overall loss of $762 million for the six months ended March 31, 2022, including a nonoperating loss of $579 million. In the comparable 2021 six-month period the system reported an overall gain of $2.0 billion, including a nonoperating gain of $1.6 billion.
This press release contains certain “forward-looking statements” concerning financial and operating plans and results which involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. In particular, statements preceded or followed by, or that include the words, “projects,” “believes,” “expects,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “intends,” “scheduled,” or similar expressions are forward-looking statements. Various factors could cause Mass General Brigham’ actual results to differ materially including, but not limited to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and state regulation of healthcare providers, changes in reimbursement policies of state and federal government and managed care organizations, competition in the healthcare industry in our market, general economic and capital market conditions, and changes in our labor and supply costs and in our ability to retain personnel. For more information on these and other risk factors, please refer to our most recent bond official statement or annual disclosure statement filed on the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website maintained by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. We undertake no responsibility to update any such forward-looking statements except as expressly required by law.
Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic health care system, uniting great minds to solve the hardest problems in medicine for our communities and the world. Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a nonprofit organization committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations with several Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals. For more information, please visit massgeneralbrigham.org.