Moody’s, S&P Revises Northern Light Health Investment Outlook

Date: 07/25/2019

Both Moody's Investors Service (Moody’s) and Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P) revised the Northern Light Health investment outlook from negative to stable, upholding their Ba1 and BBB ratings respectively. We are encouraged by this affirmation that Northern Light Health is creating a strong financial future as we undergo a significant transformation of our infrastructure, technology platforms, and business operations.

The improved outlooks reflect ongoing improvements in operating margins from Northern Light Health’s work to streamline corporate services, improve budgeting, and reduce expenses. The agencies are impressed with Northern Light Health’s ability to grow market share by expanding access to its services and through the proposed addition of Mayo Regional Hospital into the system. External factors also affected the rating, including the recent Medicaid expansion in Maine that will help to offset lost revenue from care that previously went unpaid.

Northern Light Health senior vice president and chief financial officer, Tony Filer, CPA, notes that while there is still work to be done, he is encouraged by revised outlooks and sees them as validation of the system’s work toward improving care. “Providing quality healthcare with available resources requires hard work, careful planning, and outside-the-box thinking. I’m proud of everyone from our frontline staff to our leadership team who come together to make our healthcare system work better and more efficiently for the people we serve.”

Two years ago, Northern Light Health embarked on a proactive, four-pronged, transformation initiative. This ongoing work includes building an enterprise-wide electronic health records system, making upgrades to key business platforms, optimizing real estate space and healthcare facilities, and designing system improvements. While the agencies and Northern Light Health agree there will be continued challenges as we roll out the electronic health records and other operational improvements, we are working diligently to address these challenges and build organizational change capacity.

“These investments let us reinvent how we deliver care and position Northern Light Health to serve our patients today and for decades to come,” says Northern Light Health president and CEO, M. Michelle Hood, FACHE. She adds, “We are pleased to learn of our improved outlook, but most importantly, we’re proud to uphold our commitment to make healthcare work better for our patients.”