CHICAGO — Standard & Poor's upgraded Silver Cross Hospital in Illinois by one notch to BBB as it prepares to pull its rating at the hospital's request.

The hospital recently completed a $260 million refunding through the Illinois Finance Authority. Fitch Ratings affirmed the hospital's BBB-plus rating and Moody's Investors Service assigned a first time rating of Baa1. Both assign a stable outlook.

Standard & Poor's said it assessed SCH's enterprise profile as strong, characterized by a growing primary service area and an ample medical staff, and its financial profile as adequate, characterized by moderate unrestricted reserves as measured by cash on hand and by a highly leveraged balance sheet.

The review March 26 preceded hospital management's request for withdrawal of Standard & Poor's ratings on SCH's bonds, which will occur over the three business days following the release of the review.

"The 'BBB' rating further reflects our view of the hospital's improving business position as a result of the location of its new facility, strategic alliances with major medical centers on its new campus, trend of good cash flow and operating losses, and limited capital needs for the near term," said Standard & Poor's analyst Brian Williamson.

The stable outlook reflects analysts' view that the hospital's trend of growing cash flow will continue as a result of volume growth and continued focus on minimizing expenses.

The hospital's total debt level load is $415 million. The hospital is in the southwest Chicago suburb of New Lenox and its rated bonds are secured by a revenue and mortgage pledge of the obligated group.

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