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Who buys a bankrupt and in debt hospital group

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BROCKTON — Private equity firms have been buying up hospitals and health care systems, like Steward Health Care, at an increasing rate over the past few decades, according to the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

This growing trend, however, has left patients, doctors, and local politicians concerned that the private equity business model, which consists of acquiring hospitals with the end goal of quickly extracting financial value to deliver large returns to investors, does not lend to high-quality patient care.

That couldn’t be clearer in the case of Steward. This now-bankrupt for-profit corporation owns eight Massachusetts hospitals, including Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Morton Hospital in Taunton and Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River.

Morton Hospital in Taunton, seen here on Sunday, April 5, 2020, is one of eight hospitals owned by Steward in Massachusetts.

Cerberus Capital Management, the New York-based private equity firm that founded Steward, owned the health care system from 2010 until 2020. In its 10-year ownership, Cerberus made about $800 million off its investment in Steward, while the hospital system fell further into debt.

Ownership changed hands again in 2020 when Cerberus sold Steward Health Care to a group of its physicians led by Steward’s CEO, Ralph de la Torre.

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