'BBB' credit rating affirmed for Baptist Health in anticipation of new hospital

Pensacola, Fla.-based Baptist Health Care had its default and $610 million bond credit ratings affirmed Dec. 19 at "BBB" even as it struggles with what Fitch Ratings calls a "thinner financial profile."

That's because the healthcare group is expected to benefit in the longer term from a new hospital it is building in what Fitch says is a more accessible area off a major highway and which will replace the group's main downtown campus. The hospital, due to be complete in late 2023, will support patient volume growth, more efficient patient care and enhanced physician recruitment, Fitch added.

"Fitch believes the expected benefits to be provided by the new hospital offset BHCC's thinner financial profile," the report said.

Baptist Health Care, which operates three hospitals including a 492-bed tertiary care facility in Pensacola, is expected to produce a breakeven financial performance in fiscal 2023, Fitch said. Total operating revenue for the group in 2022 is estimated at $792 million with an operating loss of $23.5 million.

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