Although hospital bonds nationwide are almost never underwritten competitively, New Jersey's health care financing agency says its one-year experiment with the process has found that there is room after all for the bid systems.

"It seems like there is a place for competitive deals in the right circumstances," said Steve Fillebrown, deputy director of research and information services at the state's Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, which issues most of New Jersey's hospital bonds. "We have found that we can do them, but we just have to use them carefully."

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