The overall strong financial performance of not-for-profit hospitals so far in 2005 continued in the third quarter, with more debt upgraded than downgraded, ratings agency Standard & Poor's said. The trend is expected to continue through the year. S&P upgraded 11 ratings and downgraded five already low- or speculative-grade ratings. Third-quarter outlook changes also included more positive than negative revisions. The upgrades occurred largely because of favorable volume trends, rate increases, cost containment and revenue management, and in some cases, "a steady track record of gradual improvement" at the hospitals involved, S&P said. Last week Moody's Investors Service said its third-quarter downgrades exceeded upgrades, but its overall credit outlook was stable. -- by Melanie Evans
S&P says not-for-profit hospitals' credit still strong
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