Texas Health Resources' debt received a rating upgrade from Moody's Investors Service, after the system demonstrated that it has recovered financially from its October Ebola crisis.
The Arlington, Texas-based system also is preparing to issue $360 million in new bonds that will be used for prior capital spending and to fund new projects.
In October, Moody's revised the outlook on the system's long-term debt from positive to developing after THR came under fire for its inpatient handling of the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.
The system's Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas initially failed to recognize Thomas Eric Duncan's symptoms as signs of Ebola, sending him home when he first presented at the emergency department. Critics contended that Texas Health Presbyterian could have done more to prevent Duncan's death, and to prevent the spread of the virus to two of the hospital's nurses, one of whom is now suing the hospital.
The hospital's chief clinical officer, Dr. Daniel Varga, apologized for the missteps before a House investigative committee in October.
Presbyterian's emergency department went on diversion for nine days during the crisis, leading to a 53.3% drop in ED volume during the first 20 days of October. Surgical volume fell 25% during that time and the hospital's average daily census slumped 22.2%.
As a result, revenue at Presbyterian declined $8.1 million, or 25.6%, and the system also spent another $6 million on Ebola-related patient care, supplies, decontamination, transportation, legal fees, communications, security and other related services.
Texas Health Presbyterian is the second-largest of the system's 14 hospitals.
Yet for a system the size of THR, the impact of the crisis was relatively small. Volume rebounded to near-normal levels by early December, and its financial report for 2014 showed that it ended the year with an operating margin of 7.7%, down from 8.3% in 2013.
The results showed a “multi-year trend of strong operating performance,” and demonstrated “financial resiliency and effective management,” Moody's said in a report Wednesday.
Moody's upgraded the system's fixed-rate debt to Aa2 from Aa3, and its outlook from developing to stable.
THR is expected to issue $300 million in taxable fixed-rate bonds and $60 million in tax-exempt fixed-rate bonds on April 29.