CHICAGO - While the market has strengthened for many issuers over the last month, nonprofit health care providers continue to struggle to sell bonds at attractive prices - a problem that is likely to persist throughout 2009, Standard & Poor's predicted in a grim report on the sector issued yesterday.

Difficulty in accessing capital in the bond market is just one of many problems facing U.S. nonprofit health care providers in 2009. The national recession, weak investment market, and state budget crunches are all likely to aggravate existing negative trends, Standard & Poor's warned in "Recession Amplifies Negative Outlook for Not-For-Profit Health Care Sector." The rating agency will hold a teleconference call on the report today.

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