PESP Hospital Tracker, Harvard Study cited: Quality concerns in PE-owned hospitals
January 13, 2024
New research released by Harvard Medical School highlights concerns about the quality of care in hospitals acquired by private equity firms. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reveals a 25% increase in “hospital-acquired adverse events” among Medicare patients after acquisition by private equity. This surge is driven by a 27% rise in patient falls and a nearly 38% increase in bloodstream infections associated with central venous catheters. Surprisingly, despite performing 16% fewer central line insertions, private equity-owned hospitals witnessed a spike in these infections. The findings raise significant worries about the impact of private equity on healthcare delivery and emphasize the need for further examination and awareness.
Multiple publications covered the launch of the Harvard study in JAMA and concurrently reported on PESP’s own data about private equity hospital ownership.
The data surrounding PE ownership of hospitals is staggering. The PESP Private Equity Hospital Tracker found that at least 386 US hospitals are owned by private equity firms, which represents 30 percent of all proprietary for-profit hospitals. Over a third (34 percent) of private equity-owned hospitals serve rural populations.
The consequences of this type of hospital ownership have been borne mostly by healthcare workers and the communities they serve. Private equity’s hospital profiteering has resulted in dangerous conditions, closures and reduced access to services, declining quality, and fraud.
“Experts who have been tracking the impact of private equity ownership in health care called the findings ‘stunning.’
‘I have to say that the number is even higher than than what I expected,’ said Eileen O’Grady, who is the health care research and campaigns director for the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, which aims to hold private equity groups accountable.
O’Grady said the research makes sense, based on what she’s hearing from people who work in hospitals that have been bought out by private equity firms, but she believes this is the first time a study has been able to quantify outcomes for patients, partly because there’s little transparency in private equity deals.”
“Private equity firms own at least 386 hospitals in the U.S., or about 1 in 10 of all private hospitals, according to nonprofit advocacy group the Private Equity Stakeholder Project. The model’s growing activity in health care and pursuit of quick returns for investors has been met with concerns about its impact on health care costs, quality and access.”
“Private equity firms have invested about $1 trillion into hospital systems in the past decade, including $200 billion in 2021 alone. There are more than 380 hospitals in the United States owned by private equity firms, according to the Private Equity Stakeholder Project. More than one-third of these hospitals serve rural communities.”