Cooper’s credit rating improves to A-, highest mark ever

Cooper University Health Care Cooper University Health Care is a prominent South Jersey system.

Cooper University Health Care’s credit rating was raised to an A- by S&P, the highest rating in the 135-year history of the system — and an example of how far the system has come in recent years.

The rating, which is for bonds issued by Camden County Improvement Authority, was upgraded from BBB+.

George Norcross III, the chairman of the board of trustees of Cooper University Health Care, said the rating is a tribute to the work the system has done.

“This upgrade speaks to the remarkable turnaround Cooper University Health Care has made from near bankruptcy at the turn of the century to today’s strong financial position,” he said. “This achievement is a testament to the commitment of the thousands of Cooper team members who work, day and night, to provide the best health care to our patients.”

S&P cited Cooper management’s focus “on cost containment and revenue enhancement” and noted that Cooper “has remained focused on increasing market share” and “developing, enhancing and promoting its key services to gain more tertiary referrals” to “limit outmigration to the Philadelphia academic medical centers.”

S&P noted that Cooper continues benefit from its “physician recruitment; rising tertiary transfers from community hospitals … and ambulatory expansion in the suburbs.” It also noted MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper has “boosted oncology services since 2003.”

Co-CEO Kevin O’Dowd said the rating reflects years of hard work and smart efforts.

“Cooper has grown into an elite, nationally recognized academic health system with patients from all 50 states and more than 35 countries,” he said. “Today’s credit rating upgrade is validation of Cooper’s financial strength, our prudent growth strategies and the tremendous work by our dedicated team members who tirelessly serve our patients, their families and each other to produce our current and future success.”

Co-CEO Anthony Mazzarelli agreed.

“This credit rating upgrade confirms our strategy to focus on becoming an exceptional academic health system and managing our finances in a way that allows us to continue to grow to meet increasing demand from patients seeking the higher level of care our experts provide,” he said.

Earlier this fall, O’Dowd and Mazzarelli were named to the top spot of the ROI Influencers: Health Care list for all of the reasons listed above and more.