10 hospitals and health systems with strong finances

Here are 10 hospitals and health systems with strong operational metrics and solid financial positions, based on reports from Moody's Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's Ratings Service in the past month.

Hospitals and health systems are ordered chronologically by report, starting with the most recent.

1. Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center recently received a positive outlook from S&P. The revision of the hospital's outlook from stable to positive was primarily based on its material improvement in cash flow.

2. Pomona, N.J.-based AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center has an "A1" rating with Moody's. The hospital has the leading market share in its service area and had improved operating performance in fiscal year 2014. The hospital has also experienced continued growth of its strong balance sheet position.

3. Houston Methodist Hospital has an "AA" rating with S&P. The hospital has "remarkably high" operational liquidity and very strong cash flow, according to Kevin Holloran, an S&P credit analyst.

4. Anderson Hospital in Maryville, Ill., recently received a positive outlook from Moody's. The hospital has the leading market share in its service area and improved liquidity and debt coverage ratios.

5. Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health has an "A1" rating with Moody's. The system has growing cash balances, manageable capital spending plans and consistent financial performance.  

6. Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital has an "A" rating with Fitch. The hospital has strong liquidity and a solid market position in a competitive area.

7. Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Ky., recently received a positive outlook from S&P. The outlook revision from stable to positive was based on S&P's expectation that the hospital will maintain its recent operating improvements.

8. Allentown, Pa.-based Lehigh Valley Health Network has an "A1" rating with Moody's. The network is the leading system in its region and has a strong investment portfolio and improved operating margins.  

9. Walnut Creek, Calif.-based John Muir Health has an "A1" rating with Moody's. The system has strong balance sheet measures and a good payer mix. It is also located in demographically favorable markets in the San Francisco Bay Area.

10. St. Louis-based Ascension Health Alliance has an "Aa2" rating with Moody's. The network has $20 billion in total operating revenues, a nearly fully funded pension plan and a large portfolio of sizable hospitals and non-acute care business lines that provide geographic and operating diversity.

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