What 5 leaders think about private equity

As private equity becomes more prevalent in healthcare, physicians have divided opinions on its importance and its use. 

Here is what five healthcare leaders have told Becker's about how private equity is shaping the industry: 

"Private practice will still be around, just different. Suspect practices left standing will be: large single-specialty or multispecialty groups or those owned by large national systems such as United Healthcare, Cigna, etc., or private equity. I guess you could call them private. Bottom line, there will be fewer 'self-employed.'" — Bhagwan Satiani, MD, professor of surgery emeritus in the department of surgery at the Ohio State University in Columbus

"The emergence of private equity investments in healthcare have provided opportunities for physicians to maintain a level of independence. Private-equity-backed platforms have created alternative structures to the traditional 100 percent physician owned, or full employment models. Physicians can leverage executive and financial resources of private equity investors, while maintaining clinical autonomy over their private practice. As history seems to dictate, as physician practices grow and thrive, so do ASCs." — Rich Searles, partner at Merritt Healthcare Advisors

"Private equity continues to purchase groups and invest in numerous domains for care delivery. I remain deeply concerned, as current GDP spend in the U.S. on healthcare is approaching 20 percent. Private equity investors expect return on investment. With this trend, it is easy to imagine GDP on healthcare to grow to 25 to 30 percent. These dollars are not necessarily going to translate to better care and quality or access." — Matt Mazurek, MD, assistant clinical professor of anesthesiology at St. Raphael's Campus of Yale New Haven (Conn.) Hospital

"The disgusting and terrible trends are (1) the corporate practice of medicine via private equity buyouts of physician practices and hospitals; (2) paramedicine's continued erosion of healthcare quality (privileges granted to [advanced practitioners], pharmacists, optometrists, etc.); and (3) the huge amount of money wasted on highly paid medical "administrators.'" — Frank Hromas, MD, general family medicine physician in Amarillo, Texas 

"During this time we have seen an exponential explosion in the number of healthcare administrators/managers. These increasingly large cliques of manager/administrators now more frequently view physicians as an oppositional force. We have seen accelerating consolidations within healthcare systems, with many hospitals and healthcare facilities now part of megasystems dominated by corporate or private equity interests, who have increasingly imported senior decision-makers and managing board members from other successful non-medical business sectors. But, said leader-imports increasingly have no clinical background. As physicians have abrogated their roles in business leadership positions, these boards now have little to no input from practicing clinicians and do not seek such input. Healthcare is increasingly being run as a business for business's sake, with profit as a sentinel driving force." — Harry Severance, MD, adjunct assistant professor at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. 

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