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March 23, 2010; | As health care related stocks gave Wall Street a boost yesterday in the wake of the health care reform legislation, Fitch Ratings declared that their “negative outlook” credit rating published in February for nonprofit hospitals remains unchanged.

The ratings service sees that sector (though not all hospitals within it) as being unstable. Here is some of what they said in a statement released today: “As coverage expansion is phased in over the next several years, hospitals should see moderate volume increases accompanied by dramatic reductions in uncompensated care costs. However, the bill offsets these benefits with reductions in Medicare update factors, penalties for adverse outcomes, and sharp cuts in current uncompensated care funding levels.”

We have written before in the newswire about the predator filled environment in which small community hospitals function, about the community benefits concerns of legislators and attempts in some areas to impose property taxes on these types of institutions. There is a lot of upheaval going on in this sub-sector and NPQ will try to keep you all posted.—Ruth McCambridge