Standard & Poor’s last week downgraded North Country Health Services’ debt to BBB-plus from A due to poor operating results. The action affects $13.3 million of debt sold in 2006 through the city of Bemidji and $37 million of debt sold in 2002.

The rating change reflects NCHS’s negative 0.2% operating margin in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2008, after posting two years of operating margin gains of 1.9% or better, analysts wrote. The pressure is continuing as reflected in a budgeted negative 0.5% operating margin expected for fiscal 2009. 

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