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Augusta Health Receives A1 Credit Rating with Stable Outlook from Moody's Investor Services

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Augusta Health received an affirmation of its A1 credit rating with a stable outlook from Moody's Investor Services, a leading provider of credit ratings research and risk analysis. The Moody's report summarized that the rating was based on "Augusta Health Care's dominant and growing market position, strong and consistent operating margins, exceptional balance sheet, low leverage, and minimal debt structure risks."

"This recognition by Moody's is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of all the employees at Augusta Health, and we congratulate all of them on all they have done," said William L. Pfost, Treasurer of the Augusta Health Board of Directors. "This achievement is even more significant when we look at the economics of today and the pressures on the healthcare industry to do better with less. Patient safety and quality of care have always been a hallmark of Augusta Health. Financial strength is essential to achieving these high standards of care."

Moody's conducted a review that included Augusta Health's organizational structure, strategic initiatives, market share developments, changes in competition and financial performance. The Moody's report noted Augusta Health's intentional efforts to grow its market through broadened clinical capabilities such as the cardiovascular program and the strength of its balance sheet and operating margins.

"To have our rating affirmed as A1 with a stable outlook is no small accomplishment, since Moody's has rated the healthcare industry with a negative outlook," added Mary N. Mannix, FACHE, President and CEO of Augusta Health. "We also believe this strong credit rating and outlook are required to remain an independent, community-owned hospital, and we are excited to have both affirmed by Moody's."

The Moody's report also cited some challenges for Augusta Health, including the lower revenue growth and slowdown in inpatient volumes that are an overall industry challenge, an increase in Medicare patients as government reimbursement declines, and recognition of the increased competitive actions of other regional systems in the marketplace.

"We recognize the same challenges that Moody's has commented on, and are prepared to meet them," said Mannix. "Moody's praised our proactive program to meet the adversities of our industry and environment, and believes the plan set forth to manage these challenges will help Augusta Health maintain its strong position."

Mannix further elaborated that having a community board oversee the management team and the assets of Augusta Health has been key to achieving the national quality excellence awards at Augusta Health. "The Board has been essential in assuring we focus on the right priorities for the community. Quality patient care and meeting community need is their top priority, and our community is very fortunate to have these community-minded people as the stewards of Augusta's resources," she added.

Augusta Health is an independent, nonprofit community hospital whose mission is to promote the health and well-being of our community through access to excellent care. Named one of the 100 Top Hospitals in America by Thomson Reuters in both 2011 and 2012, Augusta Health has also been nationally recognized by HealthGrades for clinical excellence and patient safety. For more information about Augusta Health, its programs or its services, please contact Public Relations at 540.245.7329 or 540.221.7329, or visit our website, www.augustahealth.com.