“Recent reports have raised concerns about the financial stability of hospitals amidst disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the looming prospect of an economic recession. Large amounts of government relief helped prop up hospital margins in 2020 and 2021. However, industry reports suggest that the outlook for hospitals and health systems has deteriorated in 2022 due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic,” Scott Hulver, Zachary Levinson and Jamie Godwin write over at Kaiser Family Foundation. “To provide context for these policy discussions, we evaluated the financial performance of the three largest for-profit health systems in the country — HCA Healthcare (“HCA”), Tenet Healthcare Corporation (“Tenet”), and Community Health Systems (CHS) — which collectively accounted for about 8 percent of community hospital beds in the US in 2020. … For all three systems, operating margins have exceeded pre-pandemic (2019) levels for most of the pandemic (9 out of 11 quarters), including the last quarter of our analysis (the third quarter of 2022), despite recent decreases in operating margins. HCA and Tenet dipped below their 2019 operating margins during two quarters of 2020, and CHS fell below their 2019 operating margins during the first quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2022 before increasing again. As of the third quarter of 2022, operating margins were 11.4 percent for HCA, 8.4 percent for Tenet, and 1.2 percent for CHS.” Scott Hulver, Zachary Levinson and Jamie Godwin, “Operating Margins Among the Largest For-Profit Health Systems Have Exceeded 2019 Levels for the Majority of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Kaiser Family Foundation.