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HUD MORTGAGE EFFORT CUTS HOSPITALS' COSTS

Federal Housing Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo announced an initiative Thursday designed to save hospitals about $167 million annually by refinancing their mortgages.

As many as 230 hospitals nationwide could benefit from the refinancings, generating as much as $726,000 for each hospital in debt-service savings every year, Cuomo said.

Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that 69 hospitals that it insures will be allowed to reduce required reserve funds for mortgage payments to two years' worth of reserves rather than four.

Funds drawn from the reserves can be used for hospital improvements or expansions or to buy new medical equipment. The money cannot be used for current operations or maintenance, said Cuomo.

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