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April 13, 2017

MaineHealth retains A+ bond rating

S&P Global Ratings has affirmed the A+ credit rating assigned to MaineHealth, northern New England's largest health care system with an outlook of "stable." The rating is unchanged from the previous year.

"Given the uncertainty in the health care industry overall, including the mounting challenges to health care in rural states like Maine, and our announcement last fall of plans to invest $512 million in new facilities at Maine Medical Center, we were very pleased to see S&P maintain our strong credit rating," Albert G. Swallow, executive vice president and treasurer of MaineHealth, said in a news release.

MaineHealth has member healthcare organizations serving 1.1 million people in southern, central, coastal and western Maine as well as Carroll County, N.H. All told, 1.1 million people reside in the area served by MaineHealth.

S&P’s findings

S&P Global's report on MaineHealth's credit rating included these findings:

  • There has been consistent growth in the system's operating margins as well as the organization's relatively low debt levels and healthy reserves.
  • The system's flagship hospital, Maine Medical Center in Portland, is seeing growing demand and posting strong financial results.
  • Work being done across the MaineHealth system to integrate its services and align members should result in financial and clinical improvement.
  • MaineHealth's upcoming borrowing plans, which include funding for a $512 million expansion and renovation project at Maine Medical Center, have not negatively impacted the organization's credit worthiness of the organization.

"Clearly, our work together as members within a system has a lot to do with our growing financial strength," said Swallow.

As Mainebiz reported in December, MaineHealth is proposing combining the budgetary functions of its member hospitals into a single $2.2 billion organization with a single budget and balance sheet overseen by a systemwide board of trustees.

"Hopefully these conversations will lead to a refinement of our governance and operating models so that we can fully leverage our $2.2 billion system while retaining local decision-making over the care delivered in our communities," Swallow said in the news release.

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