Fitch Ratings has upgraded the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation’s rating to A-plus from A in recognition of its sustained operating profitability and positive volume trends.

The upgrade affects $75 million of debt issued in 1998. Fitch assigned a positive outlook to the credit in 2007. The outlook is now stable at the higher rating.

Analysts said the rating is supported by the faculty foundation’s strong nationwide clinical reputation, and affiliation with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, a part of Northwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“NMFF’s main credit strength is the caliber of its multi-specialty group that is highly regarded nationwide for its clinical and research excellence,” Fitch wrote. “The physician group has grown significantly to 670 doctors in fiscal year 2009 from 537 in fiscal year 2005.”

The foundation is the teaching faculty for Feinberg and its physicians account for 60% of admissions at Northwestern. “Fitch views this interdependent relationship favorably,” analysts wrote.

The foundation, has no upcoming debt plans, had revenues of $521 million in fiscal 2009. It has $109 million of unrestricted cash and investments that could cover 88 days worth of operating ­expenses.

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