What happened when private equity snapped up Colorado anesthesia groups

U.S. Anesthesia Partners, created by private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe in 2012, became one of the most powerful anesthesia presences in Colorado, The Washington Post reported June 29.

At one point, U.S. Anesthesia Partners employed 330 anesthesiologists in Colorado. It also has contracts at 10 of the Denver region's 15 largest hospitals.

As the company's size grew, so did the cost of services, resulting in higher patient bills and insurance rates. This caused tensions between the company and physicians to rise, with about 1 in 3 leaving USAP over a three-year period, according to the Post.

"The company became big enough to influence pricing and raised prices because it could," Matt Bigalk, who worked as director of operations at USAP's Colorado branch from 2015 to 2017, told the Post. 

A spokesperson for U.S. Anesthesia Partners told the Post that it denied that the company used monopoly power. USAP told the Post that the firm faces plenty of competition and pressure from insurance companies.

USAP has more than 4,500 clinicians across nine states.

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