Home Private Equity Most physicians view private equity involvement in healthcare negatively, survey finds

Most physicians view private equity involvement in healthcare negatively, survey finds

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Survey subjects were gathered from the ACP’s IM Insider Research Panel. Each year, the college invites 1% of members to take part in the group, narrows the candidates by random sampling to ensure balance, and adds additional nonmember internal medicine participants.

Lead author Jane M. Zhu, MD, and colleagues conducted the investigation in January 2023, with 525 filling out the survey (a 57% response rate). Of those, 67% were general internal medicine physicians, 70% were salaried employees, and 22% were owners or partners in physician group practices. Another 10% (or 52 participants) said a private equity firm had expressed interest in purchasing their practice and nearly 6% worked for a PE-acquired healthcare company.

More than half of respondents (52%) viewed PE ownership as worse or much worse when compared to independent ownership. And 49% said they believe PE ownership to be worse or much worse than not-for-profit hospital or health system ownership. Those surveyed also carried negative views about PE as it pertains to physician well-being (58%), healthcare prices or spending (57%), and health equity (51%). However, they were also more likely to view innovation as a positive aspect of private equity ownership.

Meanwhile, PE-employed physicians (n = 29) were less likely to report high professional satisfaction, and autonomy compared with others working outside of private equity. Fewer PE-employed physicians reported being somewhat likely or extremely like to remain with their employer.

In a corresponding opinion piece [2], JAMA Internal Medicine Associate Editors called the findings “striking.”

“Before putting up ‘for sale’ signs across the healthcare system, it is incumbent on physicians, regulators and professional societies to call for more evidence and to ensure patient access to high quality care—before it is too late,” Cary P. Gross, MD, and Giselle Corbie, MD, wrote.

You can read more about the research letter in JAMA at the link below.  Another survey published in 2020 found that 86% of early career radiologists believe corporate medicine is having a negative impact on the specialty.

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