Exposing The Hidden Hand Influencing Many Modern-Day Doctors

It's a trend that has impacted more and more practices across the nation in recent years. Exposing The Hidden Hand Influencing Many Modern-Day Doctors Shutterstock

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Whether it’s for an annual check-up or to deal with a medical issue, we all want to believe that our healthcare providers are motivated only by a desire to help us reach our full potential.

But somebody is behind the scenes paying your doctor, right? So if we want to find out exactly what factors play a role in modern medicine, it’s important to find out who’s writing those checks.

The impact of private equity firms

Just like in many other sectors of the economy, a growing number of doctor’s offices are owned by private equity firms that invest in hopes of making a profit.

Here’s a brief rundown of the situation:

  • In about one-fourth of local markets, these firms own more than 30% of all practices.
  • That includes 13% of markets where more than half of the offices are under private equity control.
  • The higher that percentage goes, the more insurers and patients pay for healthcare.

Across those markets where private equity firms control 30% or more of physician practices, the cost of gastroenterological, dermatological, and OB-GYN care is considerably higher than elsewhere.

How experts perceive the issue

As Laura Alexander of the Washington Center explained, doctor’s offices in only a select number of markets were being scoped up by these firms just a few short years ago.

Now, instead of small practices owned by the doctor, faceless entities are in control. It can make sense from a business standpoint and, if done correctly, can even improve the quality of care.

But these investors must be held accountable for their decisions … and that’s often not the case.

Health economics professor Richard Scheffler put it succinctly: “We’re seeing a fundamental change in how medicine is being practiced in the U.S.”

Chris Agee
Chris Agee July 17th, 2023
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