S&P downgrades Beebe based on allegations about doctor
Standard & Poor’s downgraded Beebe Medical Center, Lewes, Del., 10 notches to a junk CCC rating from a solid BBB+ in response to lawsuits concerning a physician under indictment over alleged sexual abuse. Earl Bradley, a pediatrician in Lewes, Del., was indicted in lateFebruary on allegations of sexually abusing more than 100 patients between 1998 and 2009. At deadline, Beebe Medical Center had not responded to a request for comment. Standard & Poor’s said liability from the lawsuits could force the 133-bed hospital into bankruptcy. The New York ratings agency said it’s uncertain if Beebe Medical Center will default on debt sold to short-term investors, which will force the hospital to rapidly pay off the loans. Roughly $36 million of the hospital’s outstanding $80.9 million in debt are bonds sold to short-term investors, according to Moody’s Investors Service, which rates the hospital Baa1 and placed it on watch for a downgrade. Fitch Ratings, which rates the hospital A-, also placed the hospital on watch for a downgrade.