AU Health experiences downgrade as cash flow problems remain, danger of covenant breach looms

Augusta, Ga.-based AU Health System was downgraded amid negative operating cash flow and concern it may breach covenants later this year, Moody's said March 23.

The downgrade to "B2" from "Ba3" applies to revenue bonds. The outlook is negative.

AU Health, which is being pursued for a merger by Marietta, Ga.-based Wellstar Health System, won't likely experience any immediate resolution of its cash problems, Moody's said.

"The negative outlook reflects the potential that weak cashflow could be prolonged and contribute to a further decline of an already very weak liquidity position," Moody's said in the research note.

AU Health comprises a 478-bed adult hospital and 154-bed children's hospital and serves as the academic medical center for the Medical College of Georgia.

The system had approximately $327 million of debt as of fiscal 2022.

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