Forbes: Austin’s Seton Medical Center one of most profitable hospitals in U.S.

September 2nd, 2010 1:24 pm CT

Austin’s Seton Medical Center is one of the most profitable hospitals in the country, according to a new list from Forbes magazine.

Seton Medical Center ranks fifth on the list, based on an operating margin of 34 percent. Net patient revenue for the 405-bed hospital is $432 million, according to Forbes.

Seton Medical Center, Austin’s largest hospital, is part of the Austin-based Seton Family of Hospitals, whose nonprofit parent is St. Louis-based Ascension Health Inc.

The Forbes list, done by the American Hospital Directory, is based on operating income figures that hospitals must report to the federal Medicare program each year. It found that 24 hospitals in the country with more than 200 beds each make an operating margin at least 25 percent.

The most profitable hospital in the country, Flowers Medical Center in Dothan, Ala., recorded an operating margin of 53 percent, according to Forbes.

Five other Texas hospitals appeared on the Forbes list of the 25 most profitable hospitals: Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, No. 2 (45 percent operating margin); Conroe Regional Medical Center, No. 16 (28 percent), Medical Center of Plano, No. 17 (28 percent); Medical City Hospital in Dallas, No. 19 (26 percent); and Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso, No. 23 (25 percent).

“Some say profitable hospitals may be using local monopoly to overcharge insurers and patients,” the magazine reported. “Others see the high profits simply as [a] sign of efficiency and good quality.”