SAN FRANCISCO — More than a dozen of the country’s large not-for-profit hospital systems descended on this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference with a subtle but clear message for bankers and municipal investors: Higher costs in 2022 slowed them down, but they are adamant about increasing revenue by expanding their footprints and hiking prices.
“Growth is really important to us,” said Rob McMurray, CFO of ChristianaCare, a hospital system headquartered in Delaware that has $2.6 billion of annual revenue and controls large swaths of the state’s inpatient and outpatient services.
Growth in the hospital industry takes several forms. Mega-mergers have caught a lot of attention. But hospitals also are building or acquiring new facilities, mostly on the outpatient side, like urgent care or surgery centers. Or they are attracting new physicians to bulk up profitable specialties like cardiology or orthopedics. Executives anticipate those moves will bolster their market share and make it more difficult for health insurers to exclude them from networks.
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