Nonprofit hospital rating upgrades outpaced downgrades in 2021: Fitch

Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of 17 nonprofit hospitals and downgraded 12 in 2021, and 87.3 percent of the sector had stable rating outlooks as of year-end 2021, according to a Jan. 18 report.

In 2021, 8.8 percent of nonprofit hospitals had positive rating outlooks and 3.1 percent had negative rating outlooks.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused problems for the nonprofit hospital sector, the outlook is neutral for 2022, according to the report. However, Fitch said that it will be difficult for nonprofit hospitals to maintain strong margins with expense inflation outpacing revenue growth for most facilities. 

Fitch predicts that pressure from COVID-19 will slowly decrease over time, but this won't happen until the omicron variant has passed. It also predicts cost pressures on labor supplies to continue into 2022.

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