Fitch Ratings said the attention hospitals pay to quality and patient-safety efforts will be a differentiating factor in their credit ratings going forward. Moody's Investors Service said it anticipates such efforts will reduce short-term operating results at many hospitals, but in the long run hospitals that "demonstrate a sustainable link between quality investments and better clinical outcomes" likely will improve financial performance, achieve better bond ratings and gain a competitive advantage. The hospital industry is placing more focus on quality strategies and investing in information technology to achieve improvements, as regulators, third-party payers and consumers increasingly seek to tie performance to reimbursement, both ratings agencies said in special comments. "A strategy focused on quality will likely touch every part of hospital operations, and many management teams have cited the need to change or redevelop the operating culture of the organization to be successful," Moody's said. -- by Cinda Becker
For hospitals, better care to equal better credit
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