HealthSouth caught up
HealthSouth Corp., Birmingham, Ala., said last week that it has caught up on $117 million in past-due interest payments and will keep current with upcoming payments. The company said asset sales and improved cash flow from operations allowed it to generate a cash reserve of $445 million before interest payments resumed. HealthSouth suspended interest payments on its more than $3 billion in debt in late March after alleged accounting fraud at the company became publicly known. The company said it is negotiating an exchange offer with holders of $344 million in bonds that were due for principal repayment on April 1.
Texas system: Increase tax
The board of JPS Health Network, Fort Worth, Texas, voted last week to recommend increasing property tax collections by 2% next year, to 23.7 cents per $100 of assessed property value from 23.2 cents per $100. The increase would add $3.8 million to JPS' current $348 million budget. Spokeswoman Drenda Witt said Tarrant County has asked its public health system to shoulder new expenses for nonhospital services, such as a public health building. The proposed tax increase must be approved by the county commission, which meets in September.
N.M. hospital downgraded
Memorial Medical Center, Las Cruces, N.M., was downgraded last month to B from BBB- by Fitch Ratings, which cited deteriorating financial performance at the hospital and uncertainty about its future. The 187-bed hospital lost $12.4 million on revenue of $176.3 million in 2002, compared with a $2.6 million gain on revenue of $165.5 million in the previous year, according to audited financial statements. The hospital is owned by Las Cruces and Dona Ana County, which have been considering options including a sale or lease.