The already small pool of lenders willing to finance hospitals and other health-care businesses has dried up amid the credit crunch.

Not only have health-care businesses struggled to tap the tight credit markets, but so have the lenders those businesses depend on for new capital or to refinance existing debt. With troubles of their own, fewer lenders are willing to take the risk of funding an industry beset with uncertainties, leaving hospitals that are already barely hanging on with fewer options and creating the potential for more consolidations or bankruptcy filings.

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