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Moody’s health care debt downgrade biggest in 20 years

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 18, 2013

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Moody’s Investors Service downgraded $20 billion in nonprofit health care debt in 2012, about three times more than last year’s $6.4 million downgraded debt, according to a February report.

It is the highest amount of downgraded debt in one year since 1995, when Moody’s began tracking that metric. The $20 billion debt was more than double this year’s $9.7 billion in upgraded debt.

The downgrade was caused by lower volume trends, poor revenue growth and debt service coverage, the report said. Liquidity, competition, increased debt and management issues also contributed.

Three health systems — Catholic Health Initiates, Dignity Health and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center — made up about $13 billion of the $20 billion downgraded debt.

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