Printed: 12/24/2020 3:35:12 PM
Modified: 12/24/2020 3:47:30 PM
LEBANON — The credit standing company Fitch Scores has reaffirmed its ‘A’ score for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Obligated Group, however downgraded its outlook from “constructive” to “steady” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with a information launch.
The D-H group contains Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Middle in Lebanon and related clinics in southern New Hampshire; Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon; Cheshire Medical Middle in Keene, N.H.; Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Well being Middle in Windsor; and New London Hospital.
Fitch, in its Dec. 23 launch, pointed to the D-H well being system’s “sturdy market place” and “excessive acuity affected person combine” as causes for affirming the ‘A’ score, demonstrating that the company has confidence in D-H’s capability to get better from the pandemic and see via its capital spending plans.
The downgrade from “constructive” to “steady” is as a result of challenges Fitch stated it foresees for D-H in undertaking objectives it set for itself in a efficiency enchancment plan, together with reaching and sustaining working money move margins of between 9 and 10%, following working losses in fiscal yr 2016.
Whereas Fitch stated these objectives are nonetheless achievable in the long run, they’re much less so within the close to time period as a result of ongoing pandemic and up to date surge in instances and hospitalizations nationwide.
Fitch additionally pointed to uncertainty surrounding D-H’s proposed mixture with GraniteOne, which incorporates Manchester’s Catholic Medical Middle.
“Completion of the merger relies on CMC’s progress in the direction of reaching required monetary metrics, which have been up to date within the wake of the monetary stress led to by the coronavirus pandemic,” the Dec. 23 information launch stated.
The rankings company views the proposed mixture with GraniteOne as of strategic profit to D-H in supporting a extra sustainable rural well being community throughout a bigger geographic area and in giving the group an inpatient presence in southern New Hampshire to “solidify its aggressive place on this demographically favorable space of the state by curbing affected person outmigration to competitor services.”
The mix settlement is pending earlier than of state and federal regulators, however Fitch stated D-H expects it will likely be accomplished this fiscal yr.