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Partners cities new efficiencies as it reports profit after year of losses

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Main entrance to Massachusetts General Hospital, the flagship of Partners HealthCare.

Partners HealthCare, the big and prestigious Boston-based hospital system, is reporting a profit  after a year of losses. It says it had  a $24 million operating gain for 2017’s first quarter.

The Boston Business Journal reports that the system’s finances are stabilizing “despite ongoing struggles which include a growing number of patients on government insurance, a new state assessment that cost Partners $7 million in the second quarter {of last year}, and drops in volume from some of the more lucrative service lines like surgery.”

In explaining the turnaround, Partners Chief Financial Officer Peter Markell told the publication:

“At the end of the day, when you have a heavily fixed cost structure capital base, you can become more efficient by growing and putting that through that same fixed cost base and by becoming more efficient about your use of space and variable costs that drive unit costs. This effort is focused on allowing us to improve our unit cost structure and to grow.”

The publication continued:

“Some of {Partners’} financial success came from its acquisition of Wentworth Douglass, a New Hampshire hospital that became part of Partners in January. Wentworth Douglass generated $1 million in operating income on its own. While that’s a small portion of Partners overall finances, Markell said it’s an example of how Partners can benefit from expanding to other states. Most recently, the health system announced plans to acquire three of Care New England’s four hospitals in Rhode Island.”

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