Texas Health Presbyterian takes financial hit for Ebola screw-ups

The confirmation that two nurses were infected with the Ebola virus has had a devastating short-term effect on the bottom line of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Texas Health Presbyterian has been, to date, ground zero in the Ebola outbreak in the United States. Two of its nurses have been infected with the virus after treating a Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the disease earlier this month. The hospital has come under relentless criticism for the way it handled Duncan's case, and some employees have anonymously said poor management of the facility is to blame. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tightened its infection control guidelines earlier this month in response.

Texas Health Presbyterian took out advertising space in two local newspaper over the weekend to apologize to the public.

The census rate at the Dallas hospital is now standing at around 33 percent--remarkably low for an urban facility--as patients openly avoid the hospital, according to CNN Money.

The fortunes of the Texas Health Presbyterian apparently deteriorated so quickly that Moody's Investors Service announced last week that it had switched its outlook for its parent company, Texas Health Resources, from positive to developing. Moody's in a statement said the change "reflects a high degree of uncertainty about Texas Health Resources' (THR) financial performance after the Ebola-related situations at one of the system's flagship hospitals," The change came just a few months after Moody's had upgraded the hospital system's rating, according to CNN.

Texas Health Presbyterian accounts for about 17 percent of Texas Health Resources' overall revenue of $3.5 billion per year, according to Moody's.

The ratings service did suggest the state of affairs for Texas Health Resources may be short-lived. "Good debt service coverage, combined with its good liquidity profile, provide cushion to absorb a short-term negative impact on performance," Moody's said.

To learn more:
- read the CNN Money article
- here's Texas Health Presbyterian's written apology