Ratings downgrades exceeded upgrades in the third quarter, but the overall credit outlook for not-for-profit hospitals remained stable, Moody's Investors Service said. The agency downgraded 12 hospital ratings, affecting $2.2 billion in debt, and upgraded three, affecting $2.9 billion in debt. That compared with 10 downgrades and 19 upgrades in the second quarter. Year-to-date activity now shows 37 upgrades and 36 downgrades -- better than the 34 downgrades and 19 upgrades in the first nine months of 2004. Moody's said it affirmed 87 ratings in the third quarter compared with 31 in the year-ago quarter, supporting a stable outlook for the industry. The agency placed seven ratings on its Watchlist for possible downgrade, four due to Hurricane Katrina. The majority of the downgrades were below or at A3, the median rating among the 548 not-for-profit healthcare organizations Moody's follows. -- by Cinda Becker
Blip in downgrades, but credit outlook stable: Moody's
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