7 hospitals downgraded for declining financial performance

Seven hospitals and health systems have experienced credit downgrades from Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings in the past month, according to HFA Partners.

The downgrades include large systems such as West Penn Allegheny Health System in Pittsburgh, which was downgraded from BB- to B+ by Fitch, medium-sized players such as Palomar-Pomerado Health; a two-hospital system in the San Diego area that was bumped from AA to A+; and standalones such as Anderson Hospital in Illinois, which Moody's dropped from Baa2 to Baa3.

Tampla, Fla.-based HFA Partners did not give specific reasons for the downgrades.

However, both Moody's and Fitch have noted that specific segments of the healthcare industry have experienced some deterioration in financial performance, with continued pressures coming from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the rising number of uninsured patients. For example, Fitch cited widening losses at Penn Allegheny for its downgrade, attributed to lower patient volumes and physician losses.

One hospital did receive an upgrade: Moody's moved up Bellin Memorial Hospital in Green Bay, Wis., one notch to A2 from A3.

To learn more:
- read the HFA Partners newsletter 
- here's a Fitch press release