Mount Sinai NYU Health, New York, saw its credit rating slip to junk grade primarily in response to problems at Mount Sinai Hospital but also because of challenges stemming from the system's 1998 merger. The merger is in the process of unwinding. Fitch Ratings downgraded about $666 million in bonds to BB+ from BBB- and changed its outlook on the bonds to stable from negative. Fitch cited the financial decline at Mount Sinai Hospital and the likelihood that the hospital will take on additional debt this year. The hospital continues to incur significant operating losses while turnaround initiatives recommended by the Hunter Group were slow to be implemented, Fitch said. Mount Sinai Hospital is budgeting to lose $78.3 million on operations in 2003 after recording operating losses of $64.3 million and $46.8 million in 2002 and 2001, respectively, Fitch said. NYU Hospitals Center earned $6.3 million on operations in 2002, the ratings agency said. -- by Cinda Becker
Mount Sinai NYU's credit rating falls to junk grade
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