In 'daunting' health care environment, Erlanger ekes out positive net income

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Erlanger Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

Erlanger Health System managed to finish the first quarter of the new fiscal year with $8.3 million net income from operations despite treating a record 862 COVID-19 inpatients with no provider relief funds from the federal government, officials said Monday.

By comparison, Erlanger treated 334 inpatients during the first quarter of last year, according to Erlanger CFO Lynn DeJaco, who shared the first-quarter results during a hospital board of trustees budget and finance committee meeting Monday.

Erlanger's first-quarter results continue a trend of consistent financial gains that began after CEO Dr. William Jackson implemented a "financial stewardship" plan prior to the pandemic, which focused on controlling expenses, managing patient volumes and identifying opportunities to increase revenue.

Erlanger brought in more than $10.3 million less operating revenue than budgeted as a result of the summer COVID-19 surge, which forced the health system to scale back surgeries and other procedures but was still able to finish the quarter in a stable position by managing expenses to be $10.4