Despite Merger Activity, Negative Credit Conditions Persist
Moody's, the giant credit rating agency, recently reported good news about upgrades in healthcare credit ratings for the quarter, and then proceeded to dump a bucket of cold water over everything.
Despite the fact that upgrades exceeded downgrades in the nonprofit hospital and health system sector by a ratio of 3.3-1 in the third quarter, Moody's says the high number of upgrades is the result of an increase in merger and acquisition activity. It is not due to a fundamental change in underlying negative credit conditions, the agency suggests.
That makes sense. One quarter does not portend a trend.
But broadly, mergers are supposed to drive efficiencies, and to some degree, efficiencies can have a big impact on margins. So how to gauge the state of the healthcare game as the chess pieces rearrange themselves as never before?
Lisa Martin, senior vice president in the Moody's Healthcare Group, says that regardless of the news about credit upgrades, "it just so happens that in this quarter, there were more positive rating actions than negative."
- How Top-Ranked MA Plans Earn Their Stars
- Readmissions: No Quick Fix to Costly Hospital Challenge
- How Hospitals Can Become 'Upstreamists'
- 4 Ways to Lower the Cost to Collect from Self-Pay Patients
- House Calls Key to Pioneer ACO Success
- How Telehealth Pays Off for Providers, Patients
- 4 Tips for Managing Employed Physicians
- WellPoint Dominates Nearly Half of Markets, AMA Says
- Defensive Medicine Still Prevalent Despite Tort Reform
- CMS Offers Some ACOs $114M for 'Upfront' Costs