Standard and Poor's affirms HMH's A- bond rating for a second year
Anticipated sale to Baptist Health key to retaining rating
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. – In a report this week, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) affirmed a rating of A- on 2013 revenue bonds that Hardin County issued on behalf of Hardin Memorial Health (HMH). S&P, one of the nation’s leading rating agencies, pointed to the pending sale of HMH to Baptist Health as an indicator of HMH’s long-term financial stability.
HMH Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lennis Thompson said the report specifically cited “…that HMH’s sale to Baptist will mitigate HMH's long-term capital needs and underfunded pension liabilities, generate beneficial operating synergies at HMH, and limit disruption in service at HMH.”
Thompson said the report went on to say that if the sale is further delayed, S&P could lower the rating or revise the outlook to negative at the next review.
“S&P also looked at HMH’s low debt and strong market position as positive attributes in affirming the rating,” he said.
HMH President & CEO Dennis Johnson called the A- rating very rare for a county-owned system. He praised the entire HMH team and the HMH Board of Trustees for their forward thinking vision and commitment to growth.
“HMH’s patient volumes increased dramatically over the last eight years. Our team’s dedication to compassionate, patient-centered care makes this happen,” said Johnson. “Our Board of Trustees’ foresight and understanding of the volatile healthcare industry cannot be understated. Their decision to sell HMH to Baptist Health ensures HMH will have the capital we need to provide Central Kentuckians with advanced healthcare long into the future”.
The sale of HMH to Baptist Health is pending because of legal action taken by retired physician Larry Hall, M.D., who has challenged the process used to conduct the sale. While we await a decision by the Court of Appeals, HMH continues to prepare for the transition to join Baptist Health as soon as the lawsuit is concluded.