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Hospitals may target more outpatient sites for acquisition after the pandemic, Moody's says

Even before the pandemic, an increasing number of patients were seeking care outside of the four walls of a hospital. Now, the pandemic is accelerating the shift and will likely cause hospitals to rethink their acquisition targets and development plans, according to Moody's Investors Service's Healthcare Quarterly report released Oct. 28. 

"We expect that after the pandemic, more acute care hospitals will focus their acquisition and development plans on outpatient facilities," Moody's said. 

Moody's said many patients will likely continue to seek care outside of the hospital even after the pandemic. The trend is credit negative for hospitals because it may result in a loss of volumes, the credit rating agency added.

Moody's said that inpatient hospitals with many outpatient facilities in their local markets will fare better than those without many outpatient sites because they can capture more surgical volumes. 

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare, New York City-based Northwell Health are examples of health systems that have numerous outpatient sites in their markets, according to the report.

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