Press Release

IU Health invests in workforce as patient demand rises

October 29, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana University Health saw gains in operating income for the first nine months of 2021, compared to the same period of 2020, as it continued to face surging patient demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results, however, lagged from the same period in 2019.

A new variant in the pandemic and a rise in overall patient care needs put stress on IU Health’s system and caregivers as its hospitals operated close to capacity during late summer and into the fall. For the first nine months of 2021, patient discharges rose 8% and surgical cases increased 16% compared to the same period last year.

Expenses, including wages and supplies, increased 11.4%, or $538 million, to $5.24 billion compared to 2020 as a result of investments IU Health made in its team members. As COVID-19 challenges persist, so have the pressures on IU Health’s workforce. In response, IU Health continues to invest in resources and in its highly skilled workforce. This summer IU Health increased base pay for new staff to $16 an hour, stepping up to $18 after two years of service. The pay increases, along with compensation adjustments for other employees during the past year, help recruit and retain staff necessary to deliver the best care for patients.

Operating income rose 20% to $503 million as compared to prior year, which was negatively impacted by low surgical volumes and heightened expense during the early months of the pandemic. Compared to 2019, however, operating income decreased by 1.7%.

Positive financial results allow IU Health to reduce the cost of care for Hoosiers, invest in capital projects, and make meaningful contributions to the communities it serves.

Care Affordability

  • IU Health is committed to reducing the cost of care for Hoosiers. Begun in 2021, a pricing improvement plan has reduced prices by over $100 million in the highest volume areas, including lab and radiology charges. The plan aims to improve care affordability with savings of $1 billion over coming years.
  • Pricing estimates are available for all services through a patient estimates team since 2015. Also available is an online self-service tool that lets patients to see individualized cost estimates for more than 800 common services.

Capital Projects

  • IU Health has continued its transformative capital projects without meaningful delay. They include the consolidation of services of two adult hospitals in downtown Indianapolis on one medical campus, with investments of $1.6 billion for construction of the new hospital and expanded campus and $1.08 billion for additional investments to the campus and neighboring property holdings. A new regional academic medical campus in Bloomington also is set to open in December of this year.

Community Investment

  • IU Health provides more community benefit than any other health system in Indiana. The 2020 Community Benefit Report, to be released soon, outlines $900 million in community support, which is three times the estimated value of IU Health’s tax-exempt status.
  • IU Health established a $100 million Community Impact Investment Fund to address social issues affecting health outcomes across the state and disbursed nearly $4.5 million in 2021 towards that effort.

“As we continue to adapt to the pandemic and the challenging job market, IU Health has aimed to make values-based decisions with our team members and patients in mind. Our decisions included temporarily postponing inpatient non-emergent procedures in September while investing in our team members with market-rate wage adjustments, premium pay programs and supplemental staffing initiatives to allow us to respond to patient needs in these challenging times,” said Jenni Alvey, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

About IU Health

Indiana University Health is Indiana’s most comprehensive healthcare system. An academic health center, IU Health provides leading-edge medicine and treatments.

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