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Great Plains Med Center bonds: A- ratingTell North Platte what you think

Standard & Poor’s Financial Services, the nation’s leading rating agency, recently announced an A- rating with a stable outlook for Great Plains Regional Medical Center’s long-term bond rating.

The rating comes as a $100 million expansion is in the first phase. The expansion will be financed by bonds. The bonds will be priced and available in November.

In a written statement to Great Plains Regional Medical Center, S&P attributed their A- rating to:

• Strong business position.

• Consistently healthy operating levels (ranging from 4 to 6 percent in the last five years).

• Growing unrestricted reserves, resulting in strong cash on hand (currently at 275 days).

• Successful physician recruitment (an increase of 30 physicians in the last three years).

The rating is a slight decrease in Great Plains Regional Medical Center's credit rating,from A to A-, but hospital officials were pleased.

“We’re entering into the largest construction project in the hospital’s history, said Greg Nielsen, Great Plains Regional Medical Center chief executive officer. “The project will transform the landscape of our local medical community, improving overall patient experience, realizing operational efficiencies and ultimately improving the way we deliver health care.”

The bonds will fund construction of the 116-bed, five-story patient "tower" which will feature modernized patient units, private rooms with more space for family members, more parking and expansion of the central utilities.

The recent rating puts GPRMC in line or better than other like-size S&P-rated hospitals across the state.

“This is a very favorable rating outcome," said Krystal Claymore, Great Plains Regional Medical Center chief financial officer. "We fully expected that the $100 million project investment would affect our bond rating. We were pleased to learn though that our strong financial performance and clear mission and vision helped us achieve the A- rating."

Through September 2012, admissions have grown by 6 percent, outpatient visits by 7 percent, emergency visits by 10 percent and physician visits by 46 percent, Claymore said.

According to S&P’s written statement, “The stable outlook reflects our anticipation that Great Plains Regional Medical Center will continue to generate healthy operating margins as a result of its dominant market position, successful physician recruitment and good utilization.”

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 10/19/2012
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