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Editorials

Private equity takeovers are harming patients

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p1396 (Published 19 July 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p1396

Linked Research

Evaluating trends in private equity ownership and impacts on health outcomes, costs, and quality

  1. Merrill Goozner, journalist
  1. GoozNews, Chicago, IL, USA
  1. merrill{at}goozner.com

Evidence review suggests that costs rise and quality falls at acquired healthcare providers

Private equity investment in healthcare provider institutions reached record highs in recent years in both the US and Europe, with US acquisitions accounting for three quarters of the combined $100bn (£78bn; €91bn) in investment in 2021.12 The US Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recently estimated that private equity firms own 11% of US skilled nursing facilities and 4% of US hospitals.3

Private equity firms use capital supplied by wealthy individuals to buy companies, and, after a relatively brief period of ownership, sell them at a large profit. Private equity involvement in healthcare, which receives limited oversight from either financial or public health regulators, has drawn considerable criticism from patient advocacy groups, academic researchers, and journalists, for draining financial resources from healthcare institutions.12456 Such involvement also receives considerable attention in the medical literature for its impact on quality of healthcare, making the linked systematic review of that literature by Borsa and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj-2023-075244) a timely addition to the debate.7

Unlike non-profit and government operators of healthcare …

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