7 recent hospital, health system credit rating actions

The following hospital and health system credit rating and outlook actions occurred in the last week. 

Fitch Ratings

Fitch affirmed Chicago-based Rush System for Health's "AA-" issuer default rating and the "AA-" ratings on $448 million of fixed-rate tax-exempt revenue bonds and $330 million of taxable series 2020 fixed rate revenue bonds. The "AA-" rating "reflects Rush's strong financial profile in the context of its midrange revenue defensibility and strong operating risk profile assessments," Fitch said. The outlook is stable. 

Fitch withdrew ratings on five Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health's bonds. Three of the bond ratings were withdrawn due to pre-refunding activity, the other two were withdrawn because they didn't sell, according to the credit rating agency. 

Fitch affirmed Jupiter (Fla.) Medical Center's "BBB+" issuer default rating and "BBB+" revenue bond rating on its $32.1 million series 2013A. Fitch cited the medical center's leading market position in Jupiter and the completion of a new patient tower as credit strengths lending to the affirmation. The outlook is stable.

Moody's Investor Services

Moody's affirmed Leesburg-based UF Health Central Florida's "A3" rating, affecting about $76 million of outstanding debt. The affirmation "reflects our expectation that operating revenue and margins will improve through strategic footprint expansion, expense reduction strategies and expanded service offerings through the UF Health Shands brand," Moody's said. The rating outlook was changed to stable from negative, reflecting Moody's view that the hospital will return to a historically stronger performance and larger operating cash flow margins. 

Moody's affirmed the "A3" rating of Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics in Florida, affecting $841 million of rated debt. The affirmation reflects the hospital's role as an academic medical center for the University of Florida College of Medicine, which will help its enterprise growth, Moody's said. The outlook is stable. 

S&P Global Ratings

S&P affirmed its "AA-" long-term rating on Wausau, Wis.-based Aspirus Health's fixed rate bonds and revised the hospital system's outlook to negative from stable.  S&P said the outlook revision reflects its definitive agreement to acquire seven inpatient facilities, 21 physician clinics, and air and ground medical transport services from Ascension Wisconsin. 

S&P Global Ratings affirmed the "BBB" issuer credit rating on Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center. The credit rating agency also revised the credit rating outlook to positive from stable. The affirmation and outlook revision is a result of Virginia Mason's deal to form an 11-hospital health system with CHI Franciscan, based in Tacoma, Wash. S&P views the merger as a positive for the medical center.

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