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Are patients less safe in private equity practices?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Over the last few decades, an increasing number of hospitals, physician practices and nursing homes have all come under the ownership of private equity firms.

Hailed for their supposed efficiency (and profits), private equity firms are having a huge impact on modern healthcare, but it isn’t a positive one. 

No money, no supplies and poor patient care

In theory, private equity companies are supposed to improve a medical practice’s efficiency without lowering the quality of care that patients receive. 

In practice, however, studies indicate that patient falls, bed sores and hospital-acquired infections increase once private equity companies get involved:

  • Patient slips, trips and falls rise by 27.3%
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections increase 37.7% (despite the use of central lines dropping 16.2%)
  • Surgical site infections doubled even while the number of surgical procedures dropped 8.1%

There is a slight decrease in patient mortality associated with private equity hospitals, but that may be related to the fact that their patients are typically younger (which generally translates to healthier and less complicated medical histories), less likely to have dual coverage under Medicare and Medicaid and more likely to be transferred to other facilities for acute care.

Private equity firms are primarily driven by financial returns on their investments. This can translate into cost-cutting measures aimed at maximizing profits for their shareholders. Unfortunately, these cost-saving strategies often come at the expense of patient safety. Necessary resources may be reduced, supplies may be rationed, staffing levels may be stretched thin and corners may be cut in areas critical to patient care, such as infection control and equipment maintenance.

If you or your loved one suffers an adverse medical event that you believe was related to poor patient care in a private equity clinic, practice or hospital, you may have the right to compensation. Learning more about how medical malpractice laws work can help.