EMHS bond rating remains at BBB

Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings affirmed its 'BBB' long-term rating for EMHS—holding consistent with our previous rating. It does include a negative outlook citing uncertainty about our ability to reverse a trend of weak earnings and budget performance. EMHS’ balance sheet, the agency did note, is relatively stable and is expected to remain consistent with rating level expectations.

EMHS senior vice president and chief financial officer Tony Filer, expressed understanding and acceptance of the rationale used by S&P to arrive at this rating decision and acknowledged that EMHS has a lot of hard work ahead to reach our goals. “In the past, our operating results have been below expectation according to S&P. However, the turnaround plans in place—which include onsite support via a systemwide consulting engagement—give the rating agency more assurance that we will implement the improvement plans and build an infrastructure for sustainability and future efforts.”

To be a truly integrated healthcare delivery system, EMHS must perform as one entity to deliver a quality, seamless, patient-centered experience across the care continuum. Therefore, nearly one year ago, our system embarked on a proactive, four-pronged, systemwide transformation initiative, which includes building an enterprise-wide electronic health records system, upgrades to key business platforms, optimization of real estate space and healthcare facilities, and designing system improvements that will revolutionize the way we provide care to patients.

Filer explained, “These continue to be challenging times for healthcare providers. We have an obligation to invest in our people and infrastructure, to rethink how we operate and deliver quality healthcare. We are just now beginning to see these investments and redesigns generating improvements that need to be sustainable—we’re seeing encouraging results.”

Our more than 12,000 employees are coming together like never before in this transformation initiative to shape a bright future for what will soon be known as, Northern Light Health. According to EMHS president and CEO, M. Michelle Hood, FACHE, “We employ bright, hardworking people throughout the state who care deeply about our patients. With their expertise and a solid plan in place, we remain confident in the system’s ability to deliver the care our communities deserve for generations to come.”

About bond ratings

Ratings do not impact EMHS’ current financials since all of our existing debt is financed at fixed interest rates. These rates were established as part of our common treasury initiative over the past several years.

S&P is one of the two bond rating agencies that assesses the creditworthiness of our system. Moody's Investors Service is the other bond rating agency that is also reviewing our current rating. We expect to have their rating update by June 15 and will communicate their findings after the public release of their report.

For questions, please contact Suzanne Spruce, APR, EMHS Chief Communications Officer and Associate Vice President at 207-973-5758 (W) or 207-949-3893 (C).
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