NEW YORK — Communication with the investment community is key to gaining the confidence of buyers of hospital-issued municipal debt, said panelists in a discussion Wednesday morning at the 18th annual Citi Not-for-Profit Health Care Investor Conference

The less buyers of municipal debt feel they know about a given institution, the less likely they are to invest, they said.

Jerry Solomon, a portfolio manager with the Capital Group, for one, said transparency on the part of a leadership team is crucial. Members of the C-suite must be willing to answer tough questions and engage in a dialogue with potential financiers if they want to form such a relationship. The answers to those tough questions are often less important than management’s willingness to engage them.

Robin Fisher, vice president and research analyst with Franklin Templeton Investments, agreed, saying that “radio silence” has killed recent deals, and it’s a red flag if a CFO respond to questions by pointing her to a rating agency’s report.

Franklin often engages in long-term relationships with hospitals over decades, and she needs early assurances about their transparency. “That’s not a credible answer in my opinion and it’s not showing me that long term, that I’ll have faith in having access to management on a go-forward basis.”

“Hospitals are generally the economic engine of these communities a lot of times, so we try to find hospitals that we think are going to be around for 30 years,” she said.