Declining revenues and a potential default event prompted Fitch Ratings late Tuesday to downgrade Saint Barnabas Health Care System to BB-plus from BBB, affecting roughly $900 million of debt. Fitch also revised the outlook to negative.
The New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority has served as a conduit issuer for most of the health care provider's debt. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has also sold bonds previously for the system. Saint Barnabas is the largest health care system in New Jersey, with 2,300 acute-care beds, according to Fitch. It is the second-largest employer in New Jersey.