Moody's maintains stable outlook on for-profit hospital sector

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Moody's Investors Service has maintained its stable outlook on the U.S. for-profit hospital sector, as it expects outpatient services to fuel revenue growth.

Over the next 18 months, Moody's expects same-facility EBITDA to grow between 2.5 percent and 3 percent. The debt rating agency said the increase will be driven by growth in outpatient services, as government and commercial payers continue efforts to shift patients to lower cost settings. However, this positive trend in outpatient services will be offset by higher patient costs and uninsured rates, which will constrain inpatient volume growth, according to Moody's.

Patients with high deductible health plans are increasingly responsible for the cost of their care and are seeking care in lower cost settings. "This is resulting in a deferral of procedures and increased price sensitivity that is driving patients to have procedures performed outside of the hospital setting," said Moody's. The debt rating agency expects fewer people to have health insurance next year due to the federal government's plan to cut funding to advertise the exchanges by approximately 90 percent.  

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