FLINT, Mich., May 28 Fitch Ratings announced today that it is assigning a bond rating of BB+ on Hurley Medical Center's approximately $67.1 million revenue bonds, series 2003, 1998A, and 1998B. The bonds were issued by the City of Flint Hospital Building Authority. In addition to its rating on the bond series, Fitch is upgrading Hurley's Rating Outlook to Stable from Negative.
"This rating upgrade confirms the effectiveness of HMC's commitment to provide patient-centered health care in a highly efficient, cost effective manner. The investor community can see that our increased operational efficiency serves a dual purpose - it supports financial stability, while continuing to improve the quality of care we provide," according to Patrick Wardell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hurley Medical Center.
While Hurley receives no financial support from the local level, it has managed to find a financially prudent way to provide vital health care services for approximately 450,000 people in Genesee County and particularly the county's 60,000 uninsured patients, 12% of the county's population. Fitch's rating incorporates the expectation that Hurley will be able to adequately service bondholders while still fulfilling its mission as a safety-net hospital. While 56% of the Medicaid patient population in Genesee County use Hurley for medical care, Hurley's exceptional specialty services continue to attract a significant proportion of the insured population to balance its revenue streams and help compensate for the pressures of serving the uninsured and under-insured patient population.
Hurley Medical Center has impressed the investor community by strengthening its fiscal health and reversing many years of negative financial trends. Current strategies for improving HMC revenues include the expansion of a successful program to increase enrollment of uninsured patients in Medicaid. As a safety-net hospital serving a multi-county region, Hurley is regionally recognized as the only Level I Trauma Center, the highest Level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and the only Burn Unit in Genesee County.
In the past year, Hurley has introduced state-of-the-art technology to improve the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients, restructured its operating room processes to improve throughput efficiencies, as well as redesigned key programs that improve patient experience, quality of care and physician participation in the development of key service lines. Significant capital improvements underway include expansions of the Emergency Department and Cardiovascular Services as well as plans to modernize the Children's Medical Pavilion, to name just a few.
Hurley continues to be a regional leader in health education, illness prevention and in the promotion of wellness. Strategically, the hospital has forged key partnerships with community-based organizations to provide rapid information and intervention on the key issues facing the community.
The medical center is playing a vital role in a community redevelopment program aimed at revitalizing much of the surrounding neighborhoods, making them more desirable residential areas. Collectively, Hurley is moving forward to help Hurley employees and others seek affordable housing in a safe residential area, with green zones, and easy access to healthcare services.
Hurley is a 461 bed public, non-profit, teaching medical center. Annually, more than 20,000 people use Hurley for their inpatient hospital care. And, as Genesee County's largest medical center, Hurley treated more than 78,000 emergency cases in 2007.
Fitch Ratings, Ltd. is an international credit rating agency dual-headquartered in New York City and London.