Antelope Valley Hospital received a BBB long-term credit rating and a BBB issuer credit rating from Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, together marking the highest credit score the hospital has received on record.
“The rating reflects AVH’s unique market position in its primary service area within Los Angeles County,” Chloe Pickett, S&P; Global Ratings credit analyst, said in a statement.
The designation also marks first time Antelope Valley Hospital has received an investment grade designation since 2014 and is the first time Antelope Valley Hospital has been rated by S&P.; Previously, Moody’s Investor Services rated the hospital as Baa3 in 2013, which is the equivalent of a -BBB rating.
In an email, an AVH spokesperson credited the hospital’s success to its standing as the only full-service, acute-care hospital in the Antelope Valley and to its board of directors recently announcing full support for Chief Executive Edward Mirzabegian, showing a strategic alignment between the board and management.
The spokesperson also credited AVH’s operational success, having sustained several years of positive cash flow and a balance sheet that has had more cash than debt since 2017.
In S&P;’s opinion, the credit agency said it expects unrestricted reserves-to-long-term debt to remain stable, assuming moderate capital spending.
The hospital endured multiple obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic. The spokesperson wrote to the Business Journal that patients were at one point apprehensive about coming into to receive care. Of course, the hospital also faced a surge of COVID patients.
“As with many hospitals across the nation, AVH was faced with significantly higher labor and supply costs during the past 18 months, largely driven by disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic,” the spokesperson wrote.
“Although the pandemic created many challenges, the hospital worked hard to maintain financial stability and operational efficiency, all without losing the overall quality of patient care,” Mirzabegian said in a statement.