CHICAGO — St. Louis-based Ascension Health on Wednesday launches the first piece of its $1.34 billion new-money and restructuring deal that will raise funds for projects across its network, while also allowing the system to further reduce risk exposure and lower its maximum annual debt service.

“The goal is to reduce our risk profile by reducing our puttable debt and increasing our fixed-rate debt and to reduce our maximum annual debt service so that we are better able to provide services that carry out our mission,” said Steve Gilmore, Ascension’s director of capital finance.

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