Moody's: Non-profit hospital finances continue to deteriorate

Non-profit hospitals and health systems continue to face tough financial circumstances, with the one-two punch of a weak economy and tight credit continuing to sock their bottom lines. That's reflected in the latest crop of credit ratings from Moody's Investors Service, which has lowered far more ratings than it has raised for non-profit hospitals and systems for the third quarter in a row--though things do look better than they did in late 2008.

Analysts at Moody's have just lowered credit ratings for 17 hospitals and systems, responsible for $4.6 billion in debt between April and June, while raising ratings for four borrowers with debt totaling $734 million. Moody's downgraded systems for reasons including weak operations, falling cash reserves and bonds vulnerable to rapid repayment.

That brings the ratio of downgrades to upgrades up to 4.3 to 1, compared with 3.8 to 1 in the previous three months. However, it's a big improvement from the last quarter of 2008, when the ratio was 6.8 to 1.

To learn more about Moody's latest ratings:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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