Moody's: 1Q of 2012 Shows Even Mix of Hospital Upgrades, Downgrades

In the first quarter of 2012, Moody's Investors Service reported an equal number of upgrades and downgrades in the non-profit hospital sector, but Moody's analysts expect a negative outlook for non-profit healthcare providers for the remainder of 2012.

"While downgrades and upgrades were on par with each other during the first quarter, we expect downgrades to eventually outpace upgrades by the end of the year," said Carrie Sheffield, an associate analyst at Moody's and the author of the first quarter report. "This assumption reflects the pressures facing the [non-profit] healthcare sector and the fact that the majority of hospital ratings under review are trending toward downgrade."

As of March 31, five ratings were under review — four for possible downgrades and one for possible upgrade. The amount of debt on review for downgrade is $604 million, far greater than the $45 million of debt on review for upgrade.

Overall, there were 11 upgrades and 11 downgrades in the first quarter compared with five upgrades and six downgrades in the first quarter of 2011. Upgraded debt equaled $2.75 billion compared with $1.44 billion in downgraded debt, a ratio of 1.91 to 1.

Moody's also affirmed 65 ratings, which represented roughly three-quarters of all rating activity in the quarter and affected $28 billion of debt. Eight of the affirmations led to positive outlooks, while five led to negative outlooks.

More Articles on Hospital Credit Ratings:

4 Hospitals Receive Credit Downgrades in Past Month

Fitch: Property Taxes Would Afflict Illinois Non-Profit Hospital Ratings

Moody's: 5.6% Medicaid Cuts Credit Negative for Florida Non-Profit Hospitals

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