AHA wants hospital bonds included in municipal securities legislation

As FierceHealthFinance readers know, when the market tanked, hospitals went through horrific struggles to manage their increasingly costly bond obligations. With the crisis still at hand, the American Hospital Association wants to make sure that at least some of its members get relief.

The AHA is now urging the House Financial Services Committee to include tax-exempt hospital bonds in any legislation designed to help stabilize the municipal securities market. The House is considering language that would channel some of the Troubled Assets Relief Program funds to purchase muni bonds.

In a letter to committee chair Barney Frank (D-MA), the AHA made a pitch for some of those funds, noting that with some help, hospitals would be able to borrow for much-needed capital projects and perhaps even more importantly, to refinance high-priced existing debt.

The letter, by AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack, also reminded Frank that most means hospitals would ordinarily have to straighten out their bond situation, such as bond insurance and bank letters of credit, are either unavailable or unaffordable. Under these circumstances, hospitals are often diverting patient care resources to debt service, Pollack said.

To learn more about the AHA's pitch:
- read this Healthcare Finance News item

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