Fitch upgrades hospitals outlook from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’
Fitch Ratings, an international bond-rating service, has affirmed the BB+ rating on revenue bonds for CARTI, which were issued in 2013 by the Pulaski County Public Facilities Board. The action includes revising the outlook from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’.
“The revision of the outlook to stable reflects recent operating improvements achieved through expense controls and continued revenue growth in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 (unaudited),” the Fitch report stated.
CARTI’s fiscal year 2018 concluded June 30. Audited financials should be complete in September.
“We are confident year-end financials will show solid margins on operations,” said Adam Head, president and chief executive officer of the statewide network of cancer care providers. “This is particularly remarkable in light of the fact that we lost nearly $6 million on operations last year. As an independent third party, Fitch Ratings’ assessment is a validation of the message that CARTI has turned around, achieved stability, and is on a new trajectory.”
With volumes up in nearly every measurable category and anticipated net revenue growth over 10 percent from prior year, the Fitch report stated CARTI’s much-improved performance “includes significant revenue cycle improvements, enhancing physician alignment, and the tighter management of salary and wages, including some limited FTE reductions and significant reductions in use of overtime.”
“Our entire team has worked incredibly hard to make this transformation possible,” said Head. “Our dedicated physicians are working closely with leadership, and every member of our team is committed to moving CARTI forward. Now, our attention is focused on making CARTI a destination for cancer treatment for people from all over the state and beyond.”
Among these plans is a renovation that will combine two Conway clinics into one facility for medical and radiation oncology, as well as diagnostic imaging. This 13,400-square-foot center will be complete in late September. Plans for a new 24,000-square-foot cancer center in North Little Rock were also recently announced; this facility will open in summer 2019.
“CARTI remains committed to providing Arkansans the premier cancer care destination that combines expertise, convenience and accessibility,” said Head, who took over as CEO in the fall of 2017. “Our specialists are committed to innovation – and to the very latest cancer treatment techniques and technology – to diagnose and treat cancer at the earliest possible stage. Our comprehensive, one-stop shop approach addresses all aspects of the cancer journey – diagnosis, treatment, support programs, family care, recovery and more. CARTI will continue to provide the most advanced clinical techniques in taking care of patients while maintaining the highest quality in every area of cancer treatment.”