5 takeaways on GI practice management, private equity

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The COVID-19 pandemic is one factor that's changed the private practice and management landscape for gastroenterologists, according to a paper written by United Digestive leaders.

The article was authored by United Digestive CEO Mark Gilreath; chief strategy officer Neal Patel, MD; chief medical officer John Suh, MD and Joel Brill, MD, chief medical officer at Phoenix-based PRedictive Health. It is a follow-up to a 2019 publication in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology describing the market forces driving consolidation.

Here are five key takeaways from "Gastroenterology Physician Practice Management and Private Equity: Thriving in Uncertain Times":

1. Gastroenterology is seeing an explosion of private equity growth, and three platforms are dominating the space: GastroHealth, the GI Alliance and United Digestive.

2. A driving force of consolidation is physicians' desires to remain independent. Reimbursement and payer negotiations have also put pressure on independent practices. 

3. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed gastroenterology platforms to respond and adapt to the challenges physicians faced. More independent practices became interested in joining a management organization.

4. Mergers and acquisitions may attract more publicity, but they don't always create value the same way organic growth initiatives do. They can also carry more risk with high complexity and high upside.

5. Some private practice models still hold onto a traditional leadership model with one decision-maker. However, most larger healthcare organizations have a dyad leadership model with expertise from physicians and non-physicians.

Read the full article published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology here.

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