Hackensack University Medical Center's Long-Term Investor Rating Upgraded to A3 From Baa1

Upgrade by Moody's Reflects Improvement in Award Winning Hospital's Operating Performance in 2010

Jul 28, 2011, 11:06 ET from Hackensack University Medical Center

HACKENSACK, N.J., July 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Hackensack University Medical Center today announced that Moody's Investors Service upgraded to A3 from Baa1 the long-term rating assigned to Hackensack University Medical Center outstanding bonds.  This is exceptional news in light of the fact that Moody's downgraded 12 hospitals and health systems in the second quarter of this year – signaling the strongest bias towards downgrades since the height of the recession. 

"The trend in favor of downgrades has not been this strong since the first and second quarters of 2009 at the height of the credit crisis," said Moody's Associate Analyst Jennifer Ewing in an announcement. "We also predict more downgrades than upgrades in the second half of 2011, particularly for smaller independent hospitals."  

Ewing attributes the decline to continued high unemployment, cuts in government funding, and a very slow economic recovery. 

Moody's has indicated the outlook for Hackensack University Medical Center remains stable. The upgrade of the rating to A3 from Baa1 and the stable outlook reflect Hackensack University Medical Center's financial performance and a strong management team that has engaged in strategies which have proven to be financially accretive for the medical center. 

"As one of the nation's leading medical centers, we are extremely pleased to learn that Moody's has significantly upgraded our long-term rating," said Robert C. Garrett, Hackensack's president and chief executive officer. "Especially in this economy, this is a huge mark of confidence and a wonderful reflection of our operating performance." 

"We are proud of the upgrade in our Moody's rating," said Robert L. Glenning, the hospital's executive vice president and chief financial officer.  "We have worked hard to enhance our operating performance and Moody's has given us a positive sign that they agree." 

Some of the strengths of Hackensack University Medical Center indicated in the Moody's report are the success of opening the medical center's John Theurer Cancer Center and Heart & Vascular Hospital in December 2010, which have aided volume growth and contributed to stronger financial performance through the first quarter of 2011, and the hospital's leading and growing market share of 28.8% in Bergen County. Also beneficial is the fact that Hackensack University Medical Center is the leading tertiary provider in Northern New Jersey and provides a wide array of primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary services including organ transplantation, a Level II trauma program, cancer services, cardiovascular services and a leading children's hospital. 

In addition, Hackensack University Medical Center has been recognized nationally by independent firms and organizations for its high quality outcomes. In addition to serving patients in Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic Counties, Hackensack University Medical Center also serves as a destination of choice for patients throughout the tri-state area due to its strong clinical reputation. A four time recipient of the Magnet Award for Nursing Excellence, Hackensack University Medical Center is known for its clinical strength and depth of services, allowing Hackensack University Medical Center to maintain its leading market share in its service area (28%) as well as capturing outmigration to New York City providers.

Hackensack University Medical Center has been ranked among the top 50 hospitals nationally in four specialties – Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, and Geriatrics and Neurology and Neurosurgery – in U.S. News Media & World Report's 2011-12 Best Hospitals rankings. Covering 94 metro areas in the U.S., the regional hospital rankings complement the national rankings by including hospitals with solid performance nearly at the level of nationally ranked institutions. Hackensack University Medical Center has been ranked #7 overall in the New York Metro Area, and was recognized as a high-performer in the following specialties: Ear, Nose & Throat; Gastroenterology; Gynecology; Nephrology; Neurology & Neurosurgery; Orthopedics; Pulmonary and Urology.

SOURCE Hackensack University Medical Center