NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service said it has upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1 the long-term bond rating assigned to Norman Regional Hospital Authority, Okla.'s $64.8 million of outstanding bonds. The outlook is revised to positive from stable.

The upgrade to Baa3 from Ba1 and the positive outlook reflects Norman Regional Hospital Authority's (NRHA) dominant market position, multi-year improvement in operating performance and absolute cash relative to the rating category, and modest capital plans going forward.

These factors are offset by NRHA's still high debt load, leveraged balance sheet and declining volumes. However, the positive outlook indicates Moody's confidence that NRHA will be able to continue to deleverage and maintain favorable operations that could lead to a potential upgrade within the next two years.

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