DCH Health suffers credit downgrade as it faces sustained operating losses

Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based DCH Health System had the rating on a series of its bonds lowered to "A-" from "A" as the three-hospital system continues to experience sustained operating losses, S&P Global said March 29. The outlook is negative.

While the system's dominant local market share gives it a major boost, DCH Health is not expected to make any rapid improvement on its "deeply negative underlying operations."

Days of cash on hand, for example, are at their lowest in recent years, totaling approximately 150, the ratings agency said.

"The negative outlook also reflects DCH's lower DCOH that is expected to remain pressured and provides minimal cushion to the existing rating," the research note said.

DCH Health, which operates a total of 510 staffed beds, said March 22 it is giving at least 5 percent pay increases to all its staff beginning April 13.

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