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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Milford Regional Medical Center's (MA) rating to Ba2 from Ba1; outlook stable

28 Mar 2019

New York, March 28, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Milford Regional Medical Center's (MA) (MRMC) revenue bond rating to Ba2 from Ba1. The rating outlook is stable. This rating action affects approximately $102 million in rated debt.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The downgrade to Ba2 is based on Moody's view that MRMC will maintain high financial leverage, particularly in light of incremental debt borrowings associated with a new IT project. In addition, the downgrade reflects Moody's belief that MRMC will operate with declining and only moderate cash levels, and will face operating challenges that will make it difficult to sustain improvement in margins.

The Ba2 rating further reflects MRMC's small size amid larger systems in the greater Boston market. MRMC's very limited operating income will constrain its financial flexibility. Ongoing operating challenges, several of which resulted in negative operating performance in fiscal 2018, will include higher bad debt levels and weak outpatient surgery trends. MRMC will continue to subsidize its employed physician group, although this group will help align financial incentives and aid demand. Further, MRMC will continue to benefit from its relationships with physicians that are affiliated with well-regarded academic medical centers. This, along with ongoing expansion of urgent care centers, will continue to support steady inpatient trends.

RATING OUTLOOK

The stable outlook reflects Moody's expectations that MRMC will show a sustained reversal in operating losses despite challenges including implementation of new IT systems. The outlook also reflects Moody's belief that balance sheet measures will not materially worsen.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE

-Sustained improvement in operating income and operating cash flow

-Improvement in days cash or cash to debt metrics

-Meaningful reduction in financial leverage

-Improved inpatient and outpatient market share resulting in strong top line growth

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE

-Lack of sustained improvement in operating income or cash flow

-Further rise in financial leverage

-Ongoing decline in days cash or cash to debt metrics

-Material disruption related to installation of new clinical and billing IT systems

LEGAL SECURITY

Bonds are backed by a gross receipts pledge of the obligated group (which includes the hospital and the Milford Regional Physician Group). The bonds are also secured by a mortgage on the primary hospital campus in Milford as well as a debt service reserve fund.

PROFILE

MRMC is a 145 bed community hospital located approximately 40 miles southwest of Boston and 15 miles southeast of Worcester, Massachusetts. The obligated group also includes Milford Regional Physician Group (MRPG), a multi-specialty physician group practice with 94 employed physicians across multiple sites.

METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Not-For-Profit Healthcare published in December 2018. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Diana Lee
Lead Analyst
PF Healthcare
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street
New York 10007
US
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Daniel Steingart
Additional Contact
PF Healthcare
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

No Related Data.
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