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Standard & Poor's Upgrades Wellmont Outlook
Date:8/25/2009

Standard & Poor's Rating Services has upgraded its outlook for Wellmont Health System to stable, citing the health system's "improving financial metrics" and "better-than-expected operating performance."

Kingsport, TN (Vocus) August 25, 2009 -- Standard & Poor's Rating Services has upgraded its outlook for Wellmont Health System to stable, citing the health system's "improving financial metrics" and "better-than-expected operating performance."

In addition to revising its outlook for Wellmont to stable from negative, S&P has also affirmed the health system's BBB+ credit rating.

S&P analysts said the upgraded outlook is supported by operating improvements that generated $6.5 million in operating income (unaudited) for fiscal 2009.

"This positive report from S&P is the result of hard work and commitment by our employees, physicians, board members and leadership team," said Mike Snow, Wellmont's president and CEO. "Their commitment and dedication are making the difference for our hospitals as we continue to face the challenges of a weakened economy and the uncertainty of healthcare reform."

The S&P ratings report states that Wellmont's operational improvements have not only led to current financial improvements but also bode well for future performance as well.

"The return to a stable outlook reflects our increased comfort that Wellmont has identified and corrected the accounting issues that led to the restated 2007 results and the 2008 audit delay," the report states. "Additionally, while current economic conditions,
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