CHICAGO - Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago won an upgrade from Standard & Poor's in recognition of its improved balance sheet and successful transition to its replacement hospital.

The rating agency upgraded Lurie Children's Hospital, formerly known as Children's Memorial Hospital, to A from A-minus. The rating applies to fixed rate bonds issued in 2008. The hospital paid off its 2008 variable-rate debt late last month.

"The rating action reflects our view of Lurie Children's completion and successful transition to its new location in the Streeterville neighborhood, strong unrestricted reserves that we anticipate will continue to incrementally improve, and decreased debt levels that have contributed to good debt service coverage," said analyst Suzie Desai.

The stable outlook reflects the system's strong continued strong business position, improved balance sheet, solid cash flow margins, and good coverage.

The hospital borrowed $65 million through a direct bank purchase to reimburse itself for the ongoing costs of its $915 million replacement facility in 2011.

Children's opened the new Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in a new downtown location in 2012. It borrowed $380 million through the Illinois Finance Authority in 2008 primarily to finance the project.

The hospital previously operated on a campus north of downtown. It is the only freestanding pediatric hospital in Illinois. The hospital has a AA-minus from Fitch Ratings.

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