The efforts hospitals have been putting in to improve efficiency and financial performance seem to be paying off.

Those quarterly results are the best seen in at least five years at
both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's. Fitch had
already seen an improvement in the fourth quarter of 2004 when it
upgraded five acute-care hospitals or systems and downgraded just four.
The results are worth noting given the not-for-profit healthcare
industry's track record of downgrades outpacing upgrades. The ratio of
upgrades to downgrades has been getting better and better each quarter,
said Stephen Infranco, an S&P director.