In a report on health-care financial medians, Moody's Investors Service said positive trends recorded by hospitals over the last three years probably will not continue.
Dennis Farrell, a vice president and assistant director at Moody's, said that a number of factors could decrease earnings at many health-care institutions in the coming years.
The factors include price controls or spending limits resulting from national health-care reforms, and lower prices associated with the growth of managed care. Earnings also may be limited in the future by potential curbs in the growth of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals, and elimination of state Medicaid matching programs.
However, Farrell said increased profitability since 1990 of the 355 health-care institutions Moody's rates does not mean that more rating upgrades are in the offing.
Farrell said that the stronger profits were due in part to increased Medicaid funding for some facilities and more efficient operations.
Moody's said that 1992 was generally a "very good year" for health-care facilities in comparison to the previous two years.