Patients for Profit
How Private Equity Hijacked Health Care
Private equity investors are rapidly scooping up thousands of health care businesses, taking over emergency rooms or entire hospitals, and becoming major players in physician practices and patient care, from cradle to grave. But these acquisitions are often invisible to federal regulators. And their profit motives raise concerns about rising prices and the quality of treatment.
A quote from a source in the series
I don’t like using hyperbole, but as a provider I have never seen anything like this.Dr. Jonathan Guerra-Rodríguez, ICU nurse and internist
Buy and Bust
When Private Equity Comes for Rural Hospitals
MEXICO, Mo. — When the new corporate owners of two rural hospitals suddenly announced they would stop admitting patients one Friday in March, Kayla Schudel, a nurse, stood resolute in the nearly empty lobby of Audrain Community Hospital: “You’ll be seen; the ER is open.”
The hospital — with 40 beds and five clinics — typically saw 24 to 50 emergency room cases a day, treating patients from the surrounding 1,000-plus acre farms and tiny no-stoplight towns, she said. She wouldn’t abandon them.
A week later Noble Health had the final word: It locked the doors.
More Stories in the Series
Where Else is Private Equity Making Inroads?
ER Doctors Call Private Equity Staffing Practices Illegal and Seek to Ban Them
Doctors, consumer advocates, and some lawmakers are looking forward to a California lawsuit against private equity-backed Envision Healthcare. The case is part of a multistate effort to enforce rules banning corporate ownership of physician practices.
Britain’s Hard Lessons From Handing Elder Care Over to Private Equity
Four Seasons Health Care collapsed after years of private equity investors rolling in one after another to buy its business, sell its real estate, and at times wrest multimillion-dollar profits from it through complex debt schemes. The deal-making failed to account for the true cost of senior care.
Hospices Have Become Big Business for Private Equity Firms, Raising Concerns About End-of-Life Care
Private equity firms are seeing opportunities for profit in hospice care, once the domain of nonprofit organizations. The investment companies are transforming the industry — and might be jeopardizing patient care — in the process.
Despite a First-Ever ‘Right-to-Repair’ Law, There’s No Easy Fix for Wheelchair Users
Colorado lawmakers approved a measure that will make it easier for people to fix their power wheelchairs when they wear out or break down, but arcane regulations and manufacturers create high hurdles for nationwide reform.
Betting on ‘Golden Age’ of Colonoscopies, Private Equity Invests in Gastro Docs
An aging population in need of regular cancer screenings has driven private equity companies, seeking profits, to invest in many gastroenterology practices and set up aggressive billing practices. Steep prices on routine tests are one consequence for patients.
Private Equity Ownership of Nursing Homes Triggers Capitol Hill Questions — And a GAO Probe
In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden decried these financial arrangements, which two members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee had already asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate.
Profit Strategy: Psychiatric Facilities Prioritize Out-of-State Kids
Nearly all psychiatric residential treatment centers for children in South Carolina operate as for-profit businesses — some backed by private equity — and many prioritize out-of-state kids because it’s better for the bottom line. The scramble to secure treatment for children and teenagers has become so competitive that South Carolina will spend millions more each year as of April 1 to keep out-of-state patients from flooding the state's treatment facilities.
A quote from a source in the series
Their model is to deliver short-term financial goals and in order to do that you have to cut corners.Mary Inman, attorney
Explore the Database
KFF Health News analyzed 600 deals by 25 firms PitchBook identified as the top private equity investors in health care. Click below to view the acquisitions and top investors across the country.
Sarah Jane Tribble
Rae Ellen Bichell
Bernard J. Wolfson
Albert Riley Jr.