Moody's Investors Service put Western Missouri Medical Center's MIG-1 rating on $46.6 million of notes on negative watch for a possible downgrade due to a change in how the rating agency analyzes support under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development loan program.

The taxable bonds, which mature Oct. 1, 2012, were sold last year through Johnson County. Since the original rating was assigned, Moody's has reevaluated the credit quality associated with the takeout financing of the USDA-RD loan program, which provides the primary source of security for the notes.

"Placing the ratings on watchlist for potential downgrade … incorporates the small but not completely remote risk that the hospital could file for bankruptcy during the next fourteen months, which could potentially put stress on the timely execution of the permanent financing or issuance of refunding notes," analysts wrote.

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