Standard & Poor's revised Newport Hospital's outlook to negative from stable last week, citing an unexpected increase in operating losses. The change affects $24.9 million of bonds issued in 1999 by the Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corp. on behalf of the hospital. Standard & Poor's rates the debt A.

"The negative outlook reflects concern about the higher operating loss and negative cash flow in 2009," Standard & Poor's credit analyst said Cynthia Keller-Macdonald in a press release. "While we expect some level of losses in the near future, they need to be lower and cash flow needs to be positive to maintain liquidity."

Newport Hospital's operating loses in 2009 have increased to $5.6 million from $3.8 million largely due to the poor economy, according to Standard & Poor's analysts. The rating agency cited the hospital's strong balance sheet, excellent liquidity and low debt level as positive credit factors.

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