CHS

The leaders of Community Health Systems say activity at their physician practices around the country suggest hospital volumes will climb in the coming months.

Speaking after Franklin-based CHS reported second-quarter results last week, President and COO Tim Hingtgen told analysts and investors that patient volumes at the company’s doctors’ offices was up 6 percent year over year in June and higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

That’s encouraging as a leading indicator for future activity — Hingtgen said the practices are “the top of the funnel for procedural and hospital volumes” — and should help CHS’ admissions continue to recover after finishing June down 5 percent from the number of a year earlier.

After plummeting nearly 70 percent in April, CHS’ surgery volumes finished June up slightly. Those numbers echo data reported about two weeks ago by Surgery Partners, where executives said case volumes in June were down just 7 percent from the mark of a year earlier after they had cratered in the spring to less than a fifth of 2019 levels.

The gains in activity in recent weeks have come even as CHS hospitals, which are located predominantly in the Sun Belt, treated more COVID patients in July — about 8,000 — than they had in April, May and June combined.

“We believe we have peaked or plateaued in terms of COVID cases in some hotspot markets,” Hingtgen said, pointing specifically to Arizona. “And as we demonstrated on the back end of the second quarter, we are prepared to recapture more normal volumes as health care demand returns.”

Shares of CHS (Ticker: CYH) finished Friday at $4.98, up nearly 30 percent from a week earlier and at their highest point since early March. The company’s market capitalization is now back to about $600 million.

This post originally appeared in our partner publication, the Nashville Post

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