The updated Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP) Private Equity Hospital Tracker provides a current and refreshed list of all private equity-owned hospitals in the U.S.
The data surrounding PE ownership of hospitals is staggering. The PESP Tracker found that at least 460 US hospitals are owned by private equity firms. Over a quarter (26%) of private equity-owned hospitals serve rural populations.
Only a handful of private equity firms continue to dominate the list of PE-owned hospitals. By far the largest private equity owner and operator of hospitals is Apollo Global Management. PESP tracked at least 224 hospitals through Apollo’s two health systems Lifepoint Health and ScionHealth. Apollo’s stranglehold over hospitals has received further scrutiny in recent months in a bipartisan investigation by the Senate Budget Committee and a PESP report.
Texas continues to have the most private equity-owned hospitals out of U.S. states, with 97 PE-owned hospitals being located in the state. New Mexico has the highest proportion of private equity-owned hospitals, with over a third of its private hospitals (38%) having private equity backing.
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.
Even still, private equity firms often are allowed to operate behind closed doors. Limited regulation of hospital ownership, particularly of the predatory financial practices sometimes employed by private equity investors, makes accurate and up-to-date data on private equity in hospitals difficult to generate and maintain. With PE firms increasing their acquisitions of healthcare companies in recent years, more disclosure is a necessary tool for regulators and healthcare advocates.
Since the PESP Private Equity Hospital Tracker was first released, it has provided transparency and an accurate, up-to-date, and accessible tool to unveil the extent of private equity hospital ownership. The Hospital Tracker consists of a user-friendly database that provides any reader with a sortable and searchable list of U.S. hospitals and their ownership companies. Additionally, the Tracker contains an interactive map of all PE-owned hospitals, as well as density data of hospitals per state.
The private equity business model, which is characterized by the pursuit of outsized profits over short periods of time and a reliance on high levels of debt, is in many ways incompatible with providing quality, affordable healthcare. The PESP Private Equity Hospital Tracker serves as an important tool in ensuring the public has necessary transparency about the ownership structures of their local hospitals.