Who's up and who's down
McLeod Regional Medical Center, Florence, SC
Affected debt: $296.8 million
Agency: Standard & Poors
Remarks: S&P revised its rating outlook to positive from stable on debt issued by Florence County, SC, for McLeod Regional Medical Center. In addition, S&P assigned it's A+ long-term rating to $122 million series 2010A fixed-rate bonds to be issued for McCleod by the county. S&P also affirmed its A+ underlying ratings on the county's $62.5 million series 1998A bonds and $112.3 million series 2004A and 2004B bonds. S&P states that the outlook revision to positive reflects McCleods increasingly strong financial profile with strong balance sheet metrics.
Oconee Regional Medical Center, Milledgeville, GA
Affected debt: $28.2 million
Agency: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
Remarks: S&P revised its rating outlook to stable from positive on the $3.5 million series 1997 bonds and the $24.7 million series 1998 bonds issued by Baldwin County (GA) Hospital Authority for Oconee Regional Medical Center. At the same time, S&P affirmed its BB+ long-term rating. S&P notes that the outlook revision reflects the medical center's volume softness in fiscal 2009 and the interim period of fiscal 2010, weak demographics within its primary service area, and constrained capital spending levels in recent years.
Saints Medical Center, Lowell, MA
Affected debt: $51 million
Agency: Moody's Investors Service
Remarks: Moodys has downgraded to Ba3 from Ba2 the long-term bond rating assigned to Saints Medical Center on $51 million of outstanding bonds issued by the Massachusetts Health & Educational Facilities Authority. The downgrade is a result of multiyear operating losses and a rapid decline in liquidity balances. The outlook is negative at the lower rating level, reflecting the uncertainty surrounding a potential Stark Law violation which may result in a payment to the federal government and has postponed SMC's affiliation with Covenant Health Systems.