Healthcare added 19,400 jobs last month, as the overall economy increased hiring by 192,000 and unemployment held steady at 6.7%. The new preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a continued trend of anemic job growth among hospitals, which face pressure from public and private insurers to prevent avoidable admissions, while consumers continue to struggle in a weak economy. Hospitals reported weak to declining admissions, ratings analysts said. Hospital employment grew by 4,000 jobs, or 0.1%, last month.
The UPMC system, which is engaged in a contract fight with its largest commercial payer, reported growth in its patient volumes and insurance business that led to improved earnings in the first half of its fiscal 2014. The Pittsburghbased, 13-hospital system reported operating income of $112 million on revenue of $5.7 billion in the first half of its fiscal 2014, which ends in June. That’s up from $85 million in operating income on $4.96 billion in revenue the previous fiscal year. The UPMC system is in the last year of its contract with health insurer Highmark, which last year acquired UPMC rival West Penn Allegheny Health System, Pittsburgh. The $1 billion deal created one of the largest integrated delivery networks in the country, the Allegheny Health Network, and heated up competition in the Pittsburgh market.
Healthcare data analytics and consulting firm IMS Health Holdings went public in a big way Friday, successfully pulling off the second largest initial public offering of the year and watching its stock climb more than 17% for the day, another indication of a market bullish on healthcare technology. Danbury, Conn.-based IMS offered 65 million shares at an initial price of $20 a share, raising roughly $1.3 billion. That ranked as the secondlargest IPO this year, behind auto lender Santander Consumer USA Holdings, whose January IPO raised $2 billion.