2 Hospitals Receive Credit Downgrades in Past Month

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The holidays slowed credit pressures for most hospitals, as only two acute-care health systems received credit downgrades in the past 30 days compared with five credit upgrades, according to a report by HFA Partners.

West Penn Allegheny Health System's recent downgrade made headlines last week after reports indicated the health system's bondholders and potential new owner Highmark tentatively agreed to a deal that would prevent West Penn from filing for bankruptcy.

The health systems receiving credit downgrades include:

•    Tuomey Healthcare System (Sumter, S.C.) — from BBB to BBB- (S&P)
•    West Penn Allegheny Health System (Pittsburgh) — from CCC to C (Fitch)

Bucking recent hospital credit trends, upgrades outnumbered downgrades in the past month. Hospitals and health systems that recently garnered credit upgrades include:

•    Meridian Health System (Neptune, N.J.) — from A- to A (S&P)
•    Methodist Hospitals (Gary, Ind.). — from BBB- to BBB (Fitch)
•    St. Charles Health System (Bend, Ore.) — from A3 to A2 (Moody's)
•    Thorek Memorial Hospital (Chicago) — from A to A+ (S&P)
•    Yampa Valley Medical Center (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) — from BBB to BBB+ (S&P)

Four hospitals and health systems also had positive rating affirmation changes, while nine hospitals and health systems had negative rating affirmation changes.

Related Articles on Hospital Credit Ratings:
Fitch Cuts West Penn's Credit Rating to "C"
CFO Warren Forgey: Forging Finances Ahead at Schneck Medical Center
8 Hospitals Receive Credit Downgrades in Past Month

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