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News Article | December 16, 2016
Site: www.businesswire.com

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings has assigned an 'A' rating to the following bonds expected to be issued by the Hospital Authority of Hall County and the City of Gainesville (the authority) on behalf of Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS): Fitch has also affirmed the 'A' rating on approximately $388 million of bonds issued by the authority on behalf of NGHS. Fitch has withdrawn the 'A' rating on the series 2014C bonds as the issuance was consolidated in with the series 2014B bonds. In addition to the series 2017A/C bonds, NGHS expects to issue approximately $188 million of series 2017B bonds. The series 2017B bonds, in addition to the security described below, will be secured by a limited property tax pledge by Hall County, GA of up to seven mills. Fitch will assign a separate rating on the series 2017B bonds based on this support. The series 2017A/B bonds are expected to be issued as fixed rate bonds and the series 2017C bonds are expected to be issued as variable rate bonds. Bond proceeds will be used to refund all or a portion of NGHS's outstanding series 2010A and series 2010B bonds, to fund various capital projects, to reimburse for prior capital expenditures and to pay costs of issuance. The series 2010A/B fixed rate refunding will be dependent upon market conditions at the time of pricing. The series 2010A/B debt service reserve funds are expected to be released upon refunding, reducing the refunding par. Pro forma maximum annual debt service (MADS) is expected to equal approximately $55.6 million and is level through 2047. The series 2017A/B/C bonds are expected to price the week of Jan. 9 through negotiation. The Rating Watch Evolving has been removed as the ratings on NGHS are not subject to a variation to the 'US Nonprofit Hospitals and Health Systems Rating Criteria'. Bond payments are secured by a pledge of the gross revenues of the obligated group and a leasehold mortgage on certain properties, including the NGMC - Gainesville. STRONG OPERATING CASH FLOW: NGHS's strong profitability is a key credit strength which helps to mitigate the system's heavy debt burden. Profitability remains strong, although at lower than historical levels, with operating EBITDA margin equal to 14% in fiscal 2016, easily exceeding Fitch's 'A' category median of 10.3%. STRONG MARKET POSITION: NGHS operates the only two hospitals in its primary service area (PSA) of Hall County, GA and holds a dominant 81.8% market share. Further, the service area has exhibited strong population growth which is expected to continue through 2020 at nearly double the rate of Georgia. HIGH DEBT BURDEN: NGHS's debt burden has moderated due to strong revenue growth but remains high with pro forma MADS equal to 5.3% of fiscal 2016 revenue. Despite the strong profitability, MADS coverage by EBITDA of 2.8x in fiscal 2016 is light relative to Fitch's 'A' category median of 4.5x. MIXED LIQUIDITY METRICS: Unrestricted liquidity increased 20% since fiscal 2014 to $795 million at Sept. 30, 2016 and will be bolstered by $75 million of reimbursement from the series 2017 bonds. Pro forma liquidity metrics are strong relative to operating expenses with 338 days cash on hand but are light relative to debt with 15.6x cushion ratio and 88.4% cash to pro forma debt. SUSTAINED STRONG CASH FLOW: Fitch expects that Northeast Georgia Health System will sustain its strong operating profitability, providing adequate cash flows to provide for consistent coverage metrics. A deterioration in cash flow and debt service coverage could result in negative rating pressure. NGHS, headquartered in Gainesville, GA, approximately 53 miles northeast of Atlanta, operates a total of 657 acute care beds under a single hospital license on two hospital campuses (NGMC - Gainesville and NGMC - Braselton). NGMC - Braselton opened in April 2015 on time and on budget and is located approximately 17 miles from NGMC - Gainesville and 45 miles northeast of Atlanta. Additional operations include an employed multispecialty physicians group, a physician-hospital organization (PHO) network and two skilled nursing facilities. Total consolidated operating revenues increased 35% since fiscal 2014 to $1.05 billion in fiscal 2016. The strong revenue growth reflects increased volumes, the strong population growth in the service area and the opening of NGMC - Braselton. The obligated group accounted for 87% of consolidated operating revenue and 96% of total consolidated assets in fiscal 2016. NGHS signed a definitive agreement to acquire Barrow Regional Medical Center, a 56 bed hospital located in Winder, GA. The transaction is expected to close on Dec. 31, 2016 after which the hospital will be renamed NGMC - Barrow. Operating profitability remains strong but has decreased from historical levels. Operating EBITDA margin averaged 17.8% between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2014 but decreased to 12% in fiscal 2015 and 14% in fiscal 2016. Despite the compression, operating EBITDA margin remains strong, well exceeding Fitch's 'A' category median of 10.3%. The compression in fiscal 2015 reflects the start-up costs for NGMC - Braselton. Fiscal 2016 results reflect increased expenses related to the implementation of a new IT system. Management is projecting operating EBITDA margin to equal 14.1% in fiscal 2017, reflecting dilution from the Barrow acquisition, and to incrementally increase each year to 16.6% in fiscal 2021. The system's strong operating profitability reflects effective cost management practices, increasing volumes and NGHS's leading market share in its service area. NGHS holds a dominant 81.8% market share in its PSA of Hall County, GA. No other hospital holds greater than 3% market share in the PSA. NGHS operates the only two hospitals in the PSA, with the closest competitor located 25 miles away. Hall County accounted for 43% of admissions in 2016. Additionally, NGHS holds a leading 26.3% market share in its secondary service area with Northside Hospital holding 16.3% market share. No other competitor holds greater than 10% market share. The system's total market share increased each year to 44.2% in 2016 from 36.7% in 2012. The growth reflects growth in both the SSA and the Braselton market. Despite the increase in pro forma debt, NGHS's debt burden is lower than historical levels due to the system's strong revenue growth. However, the pro forma debt burden remains high. NGHS's high debt burden reflects heavy capital spending to meet the growing population. Pro forma MADS is equal to 5.3% of fiscal 2016 revenue, nearly double Fitch's 'A' category median of 2.7%. In comparison, the system's prior MADS equaled 7.7% of fiscal 2013 revenues. The high debt burden requires the maintenance of strong cash flow to support coverage metrics. Despite the strong cash flow, MADS coverage by EBITDA and operating EBITDA of 2.8x and 2.6x in fiscal 2016 are light relative to Fitch's 'A' category medians of 4.5x and 3.9x, respectively. Approximately 42% of NGHS's pro forma debt is backed by a Hall County tax pledge, including the series 2017B bonds, series 2014A bonds and the series 2010B bonds (expected to be refunded by the series 2017B bonds). Pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement, the county is required to levy up to 7 mills to pay debt service if hospital system revenues are insufficient. Unrestricted cash and investments increased 20% since fiscal 2014 to $795 million at Sept. 30, 2016. The increase reflects the system's strong profitability and cash flows. Unrestricted liquidity will be further bolstered by $75 million of reimbursement proceeds from the series 2017C bonds, increasing pro forma liquidity to $870 million. Pro forma liquidity metrics, including reimbursement, are strong relative to operating expenses with 338 days cash on hand, exceeding Fitch's 'A' category median of 215.5. However, despite the growth over the past three years, pro forma liquidity remains light relative to NGHS's heavy debt burden with 15.6x cushion ratio and 88.4% cash to pro forma debt, comparing unfavorably with Fitch's 'A' category medians of 19.4x and 148.6%. Capital spending is expected to be moderate, averaging $143 million (141% of depreciation) over the next five years, allowing for further liquidity growth. Capital projects will be funded by approximately $75 million of series 2017C proceeds and cash flow. Unrestricted liquidity is projected to continue to increase over the next five years. Subsequent to the series 2017 bond issuance, NGHS will have approximately $984 million of bonds outstanding. Total pro forma par outstanding reflects the expected release of the series 2010A/B debt service reserve funds. Approximately 42% of NGHS's pro forma bonds outstanding are backed by the Hall County tax pledge. The pro forma debt profile will include approximately 66% underlying fixed rate bonds and 34% underlying variable rate bonds. NGHS is counterparty to three fixed payor swaps and a basis swap, including two fixed payor swaps entered into in October 2016, effectively converting approximately 19% of the total bonds to a synthetic fixed rate. No collateral was required to be posted at Sept. 30, 2016. NGHS covenants to provide annual and quarterly disclosure. 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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 18, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- American Healthcare Investors and Griffin Capital Corporation, the co-sponsors of Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV, Inc., announced today that the REIT has acquired Mint Hill Medical Office Building, an approximately 58,000-square-foot medical office building in the Charlotte suburb of Mint Hill, North Carolina. The three-story Mint Hill Medical Office Building is 100 percent triple net leased to two tenants, Carolinas Physicians Network, Inc. and The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, both of which are affiliates of Carolinas HealthCare System, for which the building was built-to-suit in 2007. Carolinas HealthCare System is one of the leading healthcare organizations in the Southeast and enjoys an investment-grade credit rating of AA- from S&P Global Ratings Inc. A number of healthcare services are provided at Mint Hill Medical Office Building, including allergy, biorepository, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, pulmonary and critical care, sleep medicine, sports medicine, telemedicine and urgent care. “Mint Hill Medical Office Building is 100 percent leased to affiliates of an investment grade credit tenant and one of the finest healthcare providers in the region,” said Danny Prosky, a founding principal of American Healthcare Investors and president and chief operating officer of Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV. “It is an excellent addition to the rapidly growing portfolio of Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV.” Mint Hill Medical Office Building was acquired from HSRE-Mint Hill, LLC, an affiliate of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, LLC. The seller, an unaffiliated third party, was represented by Joe Dominguez of Healthcare Real Estate Capital, LLC. Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV financed the acquisition using cash on hand and borrowings under its line of credit with Bank of America, N.A. and KeyBank, National Association. Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV purchased its first property in June 2016 and has since acquired a portfolio of nine medical office buildings for an aggregate contract purchase price of approximately $112 million. About American Healthcare Investors, LLC American Healthcare Investors is an investment management firm that specializes in the acquisition and management of healthcare-related real estate. One of the world’s largest managers of healthcare real estate, the company oversees an approximately 30 million-square-foot portfolio valued at more than $8.7 billion, based on aggregate purchase price, on behalf of multiple investment programs that include thousands of individual and institutional investors. As of September 30, 2016, this international portfolio includes more than 600 buildings comprised of medical office buildings, hospitals, senior housing, skilled nursing facilities and integrated senior health campuses located throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. The company and its principals have completed approximately $25 billion in aggregate acquisition and disposition transactions, approximately $15 billion of which have been healthcare-related. American Healthcare Investors is committed to providing investors with access to the potential benefits that healthcare-related real estate ownership can provide. For more information regarding American Healthcare Investors, please visit www.AmericanHealthcareInvestors.com. About Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV, Inc. Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV, Inc. intends to elect to be taxed as a real estate investment trust for federal income tax purposes beginning with its taxable year ending December 31, 2016, and it intends to continue to qualify to be taxed as a REIT. Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV intends to build a balanced and diversified portfolio of healthcare real estate assets, focusing primarily on medical office buildings, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, senior housing and other healthcare-related facilities. The REIT is co-sponsored by American Healthcare Investors and Griffin Capital Corporation. For more information regarding Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV, please visit www.healthcarereitiv.com. About Griffin Capital Corporation Griffin Capital Corporation (“Griffin Capital”) is a privately-held, Los Angeles headquartered investment and asset management company with a 21-year track record sponsoring real estate investment vehicles and managing institutional capital. Led by senior executives with more than two decades of real estate experience who have collectively closed transactions representing over $22 billion in value, Griffin Capital and its affiliates have acquired or constructed approximately 55 million square feet of space since 1995. Griffin Capital and its affiliates own, manage, sponsor and/or co-sponsor a portfolio consisting of approximately 38 million square feet of space, located in 30 states and the United Kingdom, representing approximately $6.9* billion in asset value, based on purchase price, as of September 30, 2016. Additional information about Griffin Capital is available at www.griffincapital.com. *Includes the property information related to interests held in certain joint ventures. This release contains certain forward-looking statements, including statements with respect to the quality of tenants at Mint Hill Medical Office Building, its potential value to the company’s portfolio and growth of the company’s portfolio. Because such statements include risks, uncertainties and contingencies, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and contingencies include, but are not limited to, the following: the uncertainties relating to the medical needs and local economy of Mint Hill, North Carolina; the strength and financial condition of Mint Hill Medical Office Building and its tenants; the uncertainties relating to changes in general economic and real estate conditions; the uncertainties regarding changes in the healthcare industry; the uncertainties relating to the implementation of Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV’s real estate investment strategy; and other risk factors as detailed from time to time in Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV’s periodic reports, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements in this document speak only as of the date on which such statements were made, and we undertake no obligation to update any such statements that may become untrue because of subsequent events.


News Article | October 28, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Azalea Health, a leading provider of fully-integrated cloud-based healthcare solutions and services, announces the addition of southeast rural health care providers and facilities, including designated Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). The organizations are implementing Azalea® EHR and Azalea® RCM for an integrated healthcare management and medical billing solution. Jefferson Hospital is a 37-bed acute care hospital, owned and operated by the Hospital Authority of Jefferson County and the city of Louisville, Georgia. Jefferson has been dedicated to serving their community residents since 1974, delivering both inpatient and outpatient care. They also operate three Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) which provide community-based primary health care to Jefferson and surrounding county residents. Jefferson is also a member of Georgia Hospital Association’s Center for Rural Health. After an unsuccessful implementation with a previous vendor, Jefferson partnered with Azalea Health to roll out their user-friendly EHR Suite throughout their hospital-owned RHCs. “You amaze me with your EHR and we are grateful for the experience we’ve had so far with Azalea Health,” said Steve Widener, CEO of Jefferson Hospital. “We are very happy with our partnership with Azalea and we definitely recommend them for anyone who is considering rolling out an EHR in their facility.” Piedmont Pediatrics is located in Clinton, South Carolina and specializes in the needs of children from infancy through adolescence, particularly in the areas of ADHD, asthma and childhood obesity. Piedmont Pediatrics is a member of the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH), a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare in rural communities. Earlier this year, Azalea Health was selected as the preferred SCORH vendor for medical billing and practice management. This partnership gives rural clinics and hospitals across South Carolina the opportunity to use Azalea’s technology-enabled healthcare solutions and managed services, which are particularly important in rural settings. As a SCORH constituent, Piedmont Pediatrics was able to gain access to the user-friendly Azalea® EHR and Azalea® RCM. “We are able to appreciate the overall cost-savings of a cloud-based solution to manage our workflow and do our billing,” said Karen Nolen, Office Manager. “We did not have that with our previous system which needed several pieces of expensive hardware to maintain.” About Jefferson Hospital Jefferson Hospital is a 37-bed general acute care facility in Louisville, GA, providing primary medical and surgical care to Jefferson County and the surrounding area. Jefferson Hospital has a well-equipped emergency room, which utilizes hospital staff and contract physicians. Support services are provided for both inpatients and outpatients and the scope of service is consistent with the current mission of the hospital to provide quality community-based primary health care to Jefferson and surrounding counties. Jefferson Hospital is a member of Georgia Hospital Association's Center for Rural Health and includes three designated Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). About Piedmont Pediatrics Piedmont Pediatrics is a pediatric clinic located in Clinton, South Carolina. The pediatric clinic’s team consists of experienced pediatricians and staff who take pride in giving young patients the personalized pediatric care they deserve. The child-focused practice focuses on the needs of children from infancy through adolescence, particularly in the areas of ADHD, asthma and childhood obesity. Piedmont Pediatrics is a member of the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health status of rural and underserved people throughout the state. About Azalea Health Azalea Health is a leading provider of fully integrated, technology-enabled healthcare solutions and managed services for practices of all sizes and most specialties. Azalea’s comprehensive portfolio includes integrated electronic health records, practice management, electronic prescribing, interoperability services, personal health records, patient portal, telehealth, Azalea M™ mobile platform integrated with Apple® HealthKit, as well as Revenue Cycle Performance™ services. The Azalea platform also provides tools and resources to help customers meet their Meaningful Use requirements, as well as strategies to navigate accountable care and alternative payment models. To learn more, please visit http://www.AzaleaHealth.com, call (877) 777-7686 or connect via social media on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Lui P.P.Y.,Hospital Authority | Wong O.T.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | Lee Y.W.,Chinese University of Hong Kong
American Journal of Sports Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: Both osteointegration and remodeling of graft midsubstance (collectively called graft healing) are slow processes after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Tendon-derived stem cells (TDSCs) form a cell sheet after treatment with connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) and ascorbic acid, which exhibits higher tenogenic and maintains high chondroosteogenic gene expression of TDSCs. No external scaffold is required for cell delivery. Hypothesis: Wrapping the TDSC sheet around the ACL graft would promote early graft healing in a rat model. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Green fluorescent protein (GFP) rat TDSCs were treated with connective tissue growth factor and ascorbic acid to promote cell sheet formation. Rats undergoing unilateral ACL reconstruction were divided into a control group and a TDSC group. The tendon graft was wrapped with the GFP-TDSC sheet before graft insertion in the TDSC group. At weeks 2, 6, and 12 after reconstruction, the samples were harvested for computed tomography imaging and histologic or biomechanical testing. The fate of the transplanted cell sheet was examined by immunohistochemical staining of GFP. Results: There were significantly higher tunnel bone mineral density (BMD) (42.3% increase, P = .047) and bone volume/total volume (BV/TV) (625% increase, P = .009) at the metaphyseal region of the tibial tunnel at week 2 and at the femoral tunnel at week 6 (BMD: 30.8% increase, P = .014; BV/TV: 100% increase, P = .014) in the TDSC group compared with the control group. Only the TDSC group showed a time-dependent increase in tunnel BMD (overall P = .038) and BV/TV (overall P = .015) at the epiphyseal region of the tibial tunnel. Semiquantitative image analysis showed better graft osteointegration and higher intraarticular graft integrity with lower cellularity and vascularity, better cell alignment, and higher collagen birefringence in the TDSC group. The ultimate load at week 2 (52.5% increase, P = .027) and stiffness at week 6 (62% increase, P = .008) were significantly higher in the TDSC group. Cells positive for GFP were observed in all samples in the TDSC group at week 2 but became reduced with time after reconstruction. Conclusion: The TDSC sheet improved early graft healing after ACL reconstruction in the rat model. © 2013 The Author(s).


Patent
Hospital Authority and Chinese University of Hong Kong | Date: 2011-07-18

A system and method are provided for capturing hearing characteristics from self-administered hearing tests or from professionally administered hearing tests, including loudness tolerance levels as at different sound frequencies, as an individualized audiological profile for automatically enhancing audio to complement and address as closely as possible an individuals hearing deficits. The user may self-administer a hearing test on a convenient personal apparatus, such as a smartphone. The system includes the ability for capturing an environment profile. The users hearing is protected against harm in the enhanced audio setting while being provided with the option of a enhanced hearing experience. The invention is useful for any individual seeking an enhanced hearing experience, whether having hearing within normal range or hearing that is impaired. Thus the system is useful as a hearing aid.


Patent
Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hospital Authority | Date: 2014-03-13

The present invention provides a method for assessing the presence and risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease in a subject by detecting sequence variation in DACH1 (Dachshund homolog 1) gene. A kit and device useful for such a method are also provided. In addition, the present invention provides a method for treating type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease in patients who have been tested and shown to have the pertinent genetic variations.


Patent
Chinese University of Hong Kong, Nanyang Technological University and Hospital Authority | Date: 2012-09-10

A microfluidic platform including a microfluidic layer and a contact layer. The microfluidic layer is embedded with a microfluidic structure including a micro-channel and a fluidic sample contained in the micro-channel. The contact layer is able to be attached to the microfluidic layer, and includes a first heater for heating a first area of the microfluidic structure to a first temperature and a second heater for heating a second area of the microfluidic structure to a second temperature. The microfluidic layer and the contact layer rotate together during operation. A method for controlling a sample in the micro-channel of the microfluidic structure.


Cho W.C.,Hospital Authority
Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics | Year: 2014

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are increasingly recognized for their potential utility in cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Emerging technologies in the past decade have allowed possible isolation and characterization of CTCs in the peripheral blood of cancer patients, including immunomagnetic technique coupled with immunofluorescence methodology, microfluidic platform, x-ray imaging technique and flow cytometry, filter-adapted FISH and miRNA microarray. Although there are still a number of challenges associated with the identification and molecular characterization of CTCs, the analysis of CTCs carries important prognostic and therapeutic implications for personalized cancer management. © 2014 Informa UK, Ltd.


DECATUR, Texas, Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Decatur Hospital Authority,  a body corporate and political subdivision or the State of Texas ("DHA"), announced today that they have extended the expiration date for the solicitation of consents (the "Consent Solicitation") from holders of the...


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Ziegler, a specialty investment bank, is pleased to announce the successful closing of the $68,470,000 tax-exempt, fixed-rate, Regional West Medical Center Series 2016A issue through the Hospital Authority No. 1 of Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska. Regional West Medical Center (Regional West), rated “BBB+” by Fitch Ratings, operates a 166 acute care bed regional referral center hospital in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Regional West is one of only three level II trauma centers in the State of Nebraska and provides trauma care to a four-state region encompassing eastern Wyoming, southern South Dakota, northern Colorado and western Nebraska.   Ziegler served as the sole manager of the Series 2016A Bond issue that refunded the outstanding portion of Regional West’s Series 2012A fixed-rate private placement and the Series 2012B variable rate private placement. The Series 2016A bonds include $25 million of project financing for multiple capital improvement projects on Regional West’s main campus. In conjunction with the Series 2016A financing, Medical Center restructured its Series 2013 fixed-rate placement that also included $5 million of additional new money proceeds with a local capital partner “With this refinancing, we were able to substantially restructure our debt service to achieve a number of goals in the realignment of our capital structure which will help provide for Regional West’s future growth,” stated John Mentgen, President and Chief Executive Officer for Regional West Health Services. Ziegler assisted management in obtaining an inaugural Fitch rating of “BBB+” compared to the Medical Center’s prior rating of “Baa2” by Moody’s despite new leverage. The overall plan of finance reduced the Medical Center’s maximum annual debt service by approximately $1 million and facilitated covenant relief. Ziegler also served as swap advisor on the termination of a fixed payer swap which further reduces the Medical Center’s capital structure risk going forward.    Mike Quinn, Managing Director in Ziegler's Healthcare Finance practice, commented, “Ziegler was delighted to assist its longtime client led by Mr. Mentgen with the Series 2016 issuance. Regional West is a critically essential provider of care to its community. The financing provides cost effective, new debt capital that assists the organization with its growth initiatives. The refunding component optimizes the organization’s debt portfolio eliminating all remaining capital structure risk.” Ziegler is a premier investment bank to community and regional healthcare providers, and is the fourth-largest lead managing underwriter of healthcare issues, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data. For over 80 years, we have been assisting these organizations with creative, tailored financial solutions for their capital needs. Specializing in transactions that cover the broad spectrum of healthcare management – from hospitals, physician groups, managed care companies and senior living facilities to post-acute service organizations – Ziegler offers an array of services including investment banking, financial risk management, merger and acquisition services, as well as capital and strategic planning. For further information on the structure and use of this issue, please see the Official Statement located on the Electronic Municipal Market Access system's Document Archive. For more information about Ziegler, please visit us at http://www.Ziegler.com. About Ziegler: The Ziegler Companies, Inc., together with its affiliates (Ziegler), is a privately held, specialty investment bank with unique expertise in complex credit structures and advisory services. Nationally, Ziegler is ranked as one of the leading investment banking firms in its specialty sectors of healthcare, senior living, religion, and education, as well as general municipal and structured finance. Headquartered in Chicago, IL with regional and branch offices throughout the U.S., Ziegler provides its clients with capital raising, corporate finance, FHA/HUD, strategic advisory services and research. Ziegler serves institutional and individual investors through its wealth management and capital markets distribution channels. Certain comments in this news release represent forward-looking statements made pursuant to the provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This client’s experience may not be representative of the experience of other clients, nor is it indicative of future performance or success. The forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, in particular, the overall financial health of the securities industry, the strength of the healthcare sector of the U.S. economy and the municipal securities marketplace, the ability of the Company to underwrite and distribute securities, the market value of mutual fund portfolios and separate account portfolios advised by the Company, the volume of sales by its retail brokers, the outcome of pending litigation, and the ability to attract and retain qualified employees. # # #

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