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26 Aug 2010
New York, August 26, 2010 -- The improvements noted in fiscal year 2009 not-for-profit
hospital medians are not likely to be sustained in the years ahead as
hospitals must make expense management a continuing key focus as the industry
experiences many changes, says Moody's Investors Service in
a new report.
The FY 2009 medians for the sector show improvement in all major ratios
and all broad rating categories, reversing the wide and sweeping
declines of FY 2008 medians. While a demonstrable recovery,
liquidity levels remains below the peak levels of FY 2005.
"Looking beyond 2010, the improvements in key operating indicators
will not likely be sustained given the strong headwinds facing the industry,"
said Moody's Vice President Kay Sifferman, author of the report.
"Not the least of these will be intense funding pressure on Medicare
She said Moody's negative outlook on the not-for-profit
hospital sector predicts weaker financial performance ahead due to a sluggish
economic recovery, growing levels of uncompensated care, and
flat volume trends.
"In reaction to the widespread financial crisis and deep recession,
many management teams deftly executed cost control strategies to stabilize
and improve their financial positions despite flat volume trends and slower
revenue growth," said Sifferman. "Many hospitals
reduced capital spending and refrained from issuing debt, contributing
to the improved liquidity metrics."
Medicare rate reductions effective October 1 and lower rate increases
from commercial payers also will contribute to lower revenue growth.
"Liquidity will likely hover at these lower levels as most hospitals
will not be able to sustain their two-year capital diet and remain
competitive," said Sifferman. "Those hospitals
that can execute deeper levels of expense management through fundamental
changes in their operations will be positioned better to navigate the
next couple of years."
The report, "Not-for-Profit Healthcare Medians
for Fiscal Year 2009 Show Improvement Across All Major Ratios and All
Rating Categories," is available at moodys.com.
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VP - Senior Credit Officer
Public Finance Group
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John C. Nelson
MD - Public Finance
Public Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
Moody's Investors Service
Moody's: Improvements in not-for-profit healthcare medians not sustainable
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