The Maricopa County Special Health Care District Board has voted to issue up to $450 million in general obligation bonds to fund the transformation of Maricopa County’s public teaching hospital and safety net system of care.
The bonds have been assigned high investment grade ratings by two of the national credit rating agencies: Fitch has assigned a AAA rating and Moody’s a Aa3 rating.
“These high ratings underscore the remarkable financial turnaround of our health care system,” said Steve Purves, MIHS President and CEO. “The high ratings also are due to the support of Maricopa County residents and the county’s strong economy and tax base.”
“This is a major milestone in our Care Reimagined journey to transform our community’s public teaching hospital and safety net health care system,” Purves added.
Issued in accordance with voter authorization, the bonds will fund:
• Initial phases of construction of a new hospital at 24th Street and Roosevelt, with capacity for 236 patient rooms and shelled space for future growth. The new tower will replace Maricopa Medical Center, which opened in 1971.
• Equipping and renovating the Maryvale Hospital to provide for 198 behavioral health inpatient beds and a 30-bay emergency department.
• Renovation of the Behavioral Health Annex at MIHS’s Roosevelt campus.
• Construction of 7 new ambulatory facilities and renovation of 3 outpatient facilities located throughout Maricopa County to improve access to MIHS’s services.
The 2018 project, part of the “Care Reimagined” transformation, will enhance Maricopa Integrated Health System’s facilities to be more attractive and patient-friendly.
“Since Maricopa County voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 480 in 2014, our focus has been providing state of art facilities and technology for our patients, physicians, employees and volunteers,” said Susan Gerard, Chairman of the Maricopa County Special Health Care District Board of Directors.
Mark Dewane, a Board member, said MIHS’s “strong bond ratings translate to savings for taxpayers” for this voter-approved project.
The Board approved the bond sale at its September meeting, and the Fitch and Moody’s ratings were issued earlier this month. Following a very successful bond pricing with strong investor reception on Oct. 11, the transaction is set to close with the funds available for projects on Oct. 30. The strength of the investor reception during the pricing period allowed underwriters to reduce yields, resulting in a more favorable outcome for taxpayers.
The District Board also approved the selection of Kitchell Corporation as the construction manager at risk for the main hospital and the central utility plant. Once the contract is finalized, the first steps will include determining the approach of the $350-$450 million projects and creating a construction schedule that will serve as a guide over the next several years.
The first phase of the transformation project began in January 2018 with the groundbreaking for the West Valley Primary and Specialty Care Center in Peoria. Construction has begun on this major outpatient facility, and construction is expected to be completed in 2020.