Patient volumes rebounded and staff shortages began to moderate in the first quarter at Universal Health Services, signaling what CEO Marc Miller on Wednesday called a “year of continued transition into a post-pandemic world.”

Universal Health, a King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based for-profit system, reported more patients in acute care and behavioral health during the first quarter. Same-facility admissions in behavioral health grew 7.5% from a year ago, while acute care admissions jumped 7.2%. 

The health system is filling more positions and as a result, considering expansion options as it prepares to treat more patients, Chief Financial Officer Steve Filton said during Wednesday’s earnings call. Executives recently met to discuss possible changes to facilities operating at more than 80% capacity, he said.

“This is a bit of a compounding dynamic,” Filton said. “As we’re able to hire more people and fill more of our permanent vacancies, I think we’ll be able to treat more patients, and as we’re able to treat more patients, we may need to increase capacity in some of our facilities and some of our de novo projects.”

In March, Universal Health ended inpatient services at its Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, taking a $10 million hit from the shutdown and severance costs. However, Universal subsidiary Valley Health System is building a nearby hospital in West Anderson and plans to open it in early to mid-2024. About a year ago, it opened Northern Nevada Sierra Medical Center in Reno, Nevada. 

Universal Health operates almost 30 acute-care hospitals, 331 inpatient behavioral-health facilities and 39 outpatient facilities and ambulatory care locations across 39 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. 

Late Tuesday, Universal Health reported first-quarter net income of $163.12 million, or $2.28 per share, compared with net income of $153.91 million, or $2.02 per share, a year ago. 

Quarterly revenue rose 5.3% to $3.47 billion. Expenses increased 4.2% to $3.19 billion, including increases of 3.6% for salaries and wages and 2.4% for supplies.

Despite first-quarter improvements, Universal Health did not change its financial guidance for 2023, as its for-profit peers HCA Healthcare and Tenet Healthcare did. Universal Health closed at $142.79 per share on Wednesday, up about 1.5% from Tuesday’s closing price.