Rising Complications Found in Hospitals Acquired by Private Equity Firms 

By Consumers for Quality Care, on January 24, 2024

Rising Complications Found in Hospitals Acquired by Private Equity Firms 

A recent study, reported by The New York Times and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), revealed significant increases in medical complications at hospitals acquired by private equity firms.  

Specifically, the study observed a 25 percent rise in instances of surgical infections and bed sores among Medicare patients in hospitals that had been acquired by private equity firms, as compared with other hospitals. The study also found a rise in central line infections, which medical experts say should never happen, and an increase in patient falls.  

This study raises hard questions about the quality of care administered by private-equity-owned hospitals. Over the last two decades, private equity firms have expanded their presence in the health care industry, acquiring hospitals, nursing homes, physician practices, and even home health care companies.  

The effect that these acquisitions may have on health care quality has become a point of concern. Under private-equity ownership, some hospitals have faced financial distress. Others have seen a steady deterioration of patient safety. Still others have closed their doors under scrutiny from state and federal regulators. All the while, the consolidation of these hospitals and health systems has often led to higher prices for consumers.  

Members of Congress have noticed as much. The Senate Budget Committee has initiated a bipartisan investigation into this matter, and several Democratic lawmakers are pushing for more transparency and broader reforms to address private equity’s role in the health care industry. 

The corporatization of medicine hurts health care consumers, and private equity firms are accelerating the trend toward corporatization. CQC is deeply troubled by the new trend of private equity-owned hospitals, especially given that the business tactics they use tend to hurt consumers. CQC urges lawmakers, regulators, and other stakeholders to fix this deeply broken system. Health care providers – and the companies that own them – should always put patients before profits.