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Broward Health Rating Upgraded

Upgrade Contradicts Market Trends, Points to "Solid" Performance and


FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing solid performance, a sustained improvement in core operations through general cost containment and revenue enhancement initiatives, key service line growth and better management of productivity, the nations' two largest rating agencies have issued Broward Health's bond ratings.

Moody's Investor Services reaffirmed its recent upgrade of Broward Health's ratings to A2. Standard & Poor's Rating Services upgraded their rating to 'A.' Each called Broward Health's outlook stable. The high ratings make bonds attractive to investors.

These upgrades are particularly notable given the considerable challenges faced by hospitals today. In its reports, Standard & Poor's and Moody's both identify Broward as a very competitive market with significant challenges in terms of growth, pricing and competition - thus making the upgrade and reaffirmation of the prior upgrade even more positive news for Broward Health.

"These rating agencies know the industry; they know the difficulties in our market, and through their upgrades, they are affirming the operating strategy we have put in place," said Alan Levine, President/CEO of Broward Health. "Our fundamentals are strong, and their confidence level in us is high. We do not take this lightly, and we will continue to work hard to improve our operating performance."

Both rating agencies also cite the strategy of reducing taxes as a strength. In September, Broward Health's governing board, the North Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners, voted to cut the millage rate to 1.6255, the lowest in more than 25 years. This was the fourth tax cut in a row, with the rate being down from its high of 2.50.

As an operating strategy, Broward Health has been trying to reduce its reliance on property taxes decreasing to 15% of total revenue in 2007. According to the rating agencies, the reduction in taxes provides Broward Health the capacity for additional revenue in the event of an emergency or unexpected economic event.

"Our operating strategy must be to continue to provide tax relief whenever possible while becoming more competitive," said Mike Fernandez, Chairman of the Board. "Our Board will continue to make the proper investments in the best technology and human capital. We truly understand the magnitude of our responsibility to do this while safeguarding every dollar entrusted to us."

Despite steep competition by four HCA hospitals, three Tenet hospitals and Holy Cross Hospital, Broward Health retained its place as the market leader with a third of all patients choosing Broward Health's hospitals and health centers.

Moody's report stated: "Under the direction of a new CEO and CFO, [Broward Health] is endeavoring to change its image from a safety-net health system to one where patients seek their care. Strategies include re-cultivating physician relationships, moving more quickly on capital decisions and enhancing ... clinical areas of excellence (neurosurgery, orthopedics, women and children's services, oncology and cardiology)." An additional strategy was the renaming of the North Broward Hospital District and its facilities to Broward Health, a major move in the recognition of the system as a complete network of healthcare services with one brand name.

Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized community health system offering world class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. One of the five largest public health systems in the nation, Broward Health operates more than 30 healthcare facilities, including Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children's Hospital, Weston Regional HealthPark, Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information visit .

SOURCE Broward Health
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