IU Health Sign Large
(photo courtesy of IU Health)

Indiana University Health is reporting a first quarter operating loss of $29.8 million. The Indianapolis-based health system says expenses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic outpaced gains in operating income.

IU Health says it saw fewer COVID-19 patient admissions during the quarter, however, staffing issues remain a concern.

“We continue to work through the labor shortage by investing in our workforce, particularly patient-facing roles, to ensure we can meet patient demand,” said Jenni Alvey, senior vice president and chief financial officer of IU Health. “Additional workforce investments are expected throughout 2022. These investments are made in order to provide the best possible clinical care and to improve the health and wellbeing of Indiana. The challenges from the pandemic again show the critical need for hospital systems to maintain a strong financial position to be able to manage unforeseen operating challenges and continue serving the patients who depend on us.”

The health system says expenses in the quarter increased 16% compared to the same period last year, including increases in salaries, wages and benefits for frontline clinical staff. The increase was part of nursing premium pay initiatives, utilizing more contract and temporary labor, higher starting wages, and base pay increases.

IU Health also reported a 3% increase in operating revenue during the quarter. The health system says it experienced increases in hospital admissions, radiological exams and emergency room visits while surgery cases decreased compared to the same period last year.