Not-for-profit hospitals may be entering a period of an accelerated decline in credit quality, according to Moody's Investors Service, which said repeated annual operating losses and reduced liquidity have ended a three-year slowdown in credit erosion. Last year 52 issuers representing $9.8 billion in not-for-profit healthcare debt were downgraded, a 27% increase in number and a 51% increase in debt from 2002. In addition, in 2003 there were more downgrades to noninvestment grade from investment grade, downgrades of more than one grade and negative outlooks for downgraded credits than in 2002. Moody's rates 570 not-for-profit healthcare credits with more than $107 billion in debt. -- by Mary Chris Jaklevic
Hospital credit ratings likely to slip: Moody's
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