Moody's affirms FirstHealth of the Carolinas' bond ratings

Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the "Aa3" and "Aa3/VMIG 1" ratings  assigned to $225 million of Pinehurst, N.C.-based FirstHealth of the Carolinas' outstanding debt.

The affirmation of the ratings was supported by a number of factors, including FirstHealth's very strong market share in its primary service area, strong balance sheet, and expected operating cash flow that should allow the system to finance its capital without adding leverage, according to Moody's.

FirstHealth also faces some challenges, such as some margin volatility over the last several years that has reduced its operating cash flow margin to levels below that of similarly rated organizations.

Additionally, Moody's maintained FirstHealth's stable outlook, reflecting the organization's strong market share and balance sheet measures combined with relatively steady debt service coverage metrics. But Moody's said it may revise FirstHealth's outlook to negative if improvement over the last several months is not sustained.


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