Fitch Downgrades Massachusetts' Saints Medical Center Amidst Ended Steward Talks

Fitch Ratings has downgraded $45 million in revenue bonds to B- from BB+ on behalf of Saints Medical Center in Lowell, Mass., citing the hospital's deteriorating credit profile and the recently terminated acquisition discussions with Boston-based Steward Health Care as the key drivers, according to a Fitch news release.

Merger talks between SMC and Steward mutually ended on Oct. 6. SMC instead looked to affiliate with Lowell (Mass.) General Hospital. Fitch officials thought if the merger between Lowell General and SMC did go through, it would be "highly unlikely" that SMC's debt will be refunded, which had been announced with the Steward agreement, according to the release.

Fitch officials also said SMC has a negative 2.8 percent operating margin and a low number of days cash on hand.

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