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Moody's affirms Ballad Health bond rating

From staff reports • Feb 13, 2020 at 7:30 PM

JOHNSON CITY — Ballad Health reported on Thursday that Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed its Baa1 revenue bond rating with a positive outlook. This rating follows affirmation of Ballad Health’s "A-" credit rating by Standard and Poor’s in November 2019.

“With such serious headwinds for non-urban and rural health systems, we are proud that Moody’s has recognized the hard work of our board, our team members and our physicians as we seek to deliver high quality care at a lower cost,“ said Ballad Health Chairman and CEO Alan Levine. “With more than 600 rural hospitals at risk of closure in the United States, and the ongoing challenges that disproportionately affect non-urban and rural hospitals, the credit rating agencies have seen that our disciplined approach and willingness to adapt to this environment are bringing stability to hospitals in our region. Less than 25% of our patient volume is commercially insured, while more than 70% is uninsured, or covered by government programs that pay less than the cost of providing care. And with many of our commercially-insured patients carrying the burden of high-deductible plans, this means we have to remain focused on reducing cost while delivering high-quality care. Moody's recognizing this challenge and standing by its outlook is something our region should be proud of, especially given the trend of downgrades in the last six months.”

While Ballad Health said its efforts to reduce lower-acuity admissions and reduce costs have been recognized nationally, these efforts also have the effect of reducing revenue growth.

Levine serves on the CEO Executive Forum of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, along with notable private and public sector leaders in healthcare at the federal level. In his role, Levine has committed Ballad Health nationally to lead in the pledge to bring accountability to the industry for movement toward value-based care.