CHRISTUS Health, TX's Revenue Refunding Bonds Assigned 'A+' Rating; Series 2008C-5 Bond Rating Withdrawn

DALLAS  Oct. 29, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'A+' long-term rating to Tarrant County Cultural Educational Facilities Finance Corp., Texas' $73.3 million series 2009C fixed-rate hospital revenue refunding bonds issued for CHRISTUS Health. Standard & Poor's also affirmed its 'A+' underlying rating (SPUR) on CHRISTUS Health's series 2005A-3, A-4, A-5, A-6, B-2, and C-3 bonds (various issuers), which will undergo a mode change to insured or uninsured fixed-rate obligations from insured auction rate bonds. At the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its long-term ratings and SPURs on CHRISTUS Health's other rated debt obligations of various series and by various issuers. The outlook on all ratings is stable. 

"Factors supporting the ratings include CHRISTUS' strong regional and international profile, and the financial- and geographic-risk dispersion its multiple facilities and markets create for the system overall," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Karl Propst. "Although we lowered CHRISTUS Health's debt ratings earlier this year, we recognize that management's plan of correction has taken hold and is working well, producing positive operating and excess margins of 2.1% and 9.4%, respectively, as well as much improved debt service coverage and acceptable operating and debt liquidity." 

No new money will be issued with the proposed series 2009 bonds. Costs of issuance will be paid from operating funds. Upon issuance of the series 2009C bonds, existing ratings on the system's 2008C-5 bonds will be withdrawn. 

CHRISTUS Health was created on Feb. 1, 1999, when it acquired substantially all of the assets of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston and the Incarnate Word Health System of San Antonio to form one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the U.S. Today, the system includes more than 50 hospitals, long-term-care facilities, and long-term acute-care facilities in more than 60 cities, nine U.S. states, and in Mexico. The system also includes more than 175 clinics, outpatient centers, and physician offices, as well as the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research and a managed-care product. Total system assets were $4.4 billion as of Sept. 30, 2009. CHRISTUS is organized into multiple regions, but most of its operations are concentrated in Texas and Louisiana. 

RELATED RESEARCH 

USPF Criteria: "Not-For-Profit Health Care," June 14, 2007

USPF Criteria: "Debt Derivative Profile Scores," March 27, 2006

Complete ratings information is available to RatingsDirect subscribers at www.ratingsdirect.com. All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site at www.standardandpoors.com; select your preferred country or region, then Ratings in the left navigation bar, followed by Find a Rating. 

Media Contact:

David Wargin, New York (1) 212-438-1579, [email protected] 

Analyst Contacts:

Karl Propst, Dallas (1) 214-871-1427

Martin D Arrick, New York (1) 212-438-7963 

Suggested Articles

The profit margins and management of Community Health Group raise questions about oversight of managed care insurers.

Financial experts are warning practices about the pitfalls of promoting medical credit cards to their patients.

A proposed rule issued by HHS on Tuesday would expand short-term coverage, a move Seema Verma said will have "virtually no impact" on ACA premiums.