5 hospitals and health systems with strong finances

Here are five hospitals and health systems with strong operational metrics and solid financial positions based on recent reports from Moody's Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's Rating Service.

1. Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services has an "AA" rating with Fitch and an "Aa3" rating with Moody's. The system has a strong market position and improved operating performance in 2014 as well as through the six-month interim period that ended June 30. In 2014, the system posted a 1.8 percent operating margin and an 8.5 percent operating EBITDA margin, which is significantly improved from fiscal year 2013.

2. Allina Health System, based in Minneapolis, has an "AA-" rating with Fitch and an "AA-" rating with S&P. The system's main credit strength is its comprehensive model and geographic reach in the competitive Twin Cities metropolitan area. The system also has solid pro forma debt service coverage.

3.Chicago-based Northwestern Memorial HealthCare has an "AA+" long-term rating with S&P. The system has strong operations for the first nine months of FY 2015. It is outperforming its budget for the current fiscal year.

4. Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Health Care has an "AA" rating with Fitch. The system has ample liquidity and a solid market position. Advocate maintains a leading position in its six-county Chicago metropolitan service area that is nearly double its nearest competitors.

5. Bayhealth Medical Center, a two-hospital system based in Dover, Del., has an "AA-" rating with Fitch. The system has an excellent financial profile and strong market leadership. Bayhealth maintains a dominant position in its primary service area, with a stable market share around 80 percent.

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