Senate probing whether ER care has been harmed by growing role of private-equity firms

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www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/senate-quest…

Sen. Gary Peters said he was concerned that emergency medicine staffing companies "may be engaging in cost-saving measures at the expense of patient safety and care."

A Senate committee has asked three major private-equity firms for information on how they run or staff hospital emergency departments to see if private equity’s management of a large share of the nation’s ERs has harmed patients.

Led by its chairman, Sen. Gary Peters, D.-Mich., the inquiry by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee centers on three of the nation’s largest private-equity firms: Apollo Global Management, the Blackstone Group and KKR. According to the information requests, Peters’ staff conducted interviews with over 40 emergency department physicians who expressed “significant concerns” about patient safety and care resulting from the aggressive practices of private-equity firms in the arena. Those practices include improper billing, retaliation and anti-competitive activities, the committee’s letters to the companies said.

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14 Comments

jeffw

Private equity investments in healthcare have been pretty rough.

But also, I work in healthcare… There are like a million problems with the US healthcare systems and private equity that I would put above ER issues. 95% of the complaints I hear about ERs are from people who should not have gone to ERs. If you twisted your ankle or something, you should go to urgent care.

mipadaitu

Part of it is because of cost cutting, it's harder and more expensive to see a family doctor, so the ER is the default way to see a doc.

If the healthcare system was functioning, everyone would have easy access to a doctor's appointment, and wouldn't need to go anywhere else unless it is critical.

jeffw

I would push back on that a bit. It’s harder to find a *doctor*, but the cost cutting has pushed primary care onto nurse practitioners, DNPs, PAs, etc.

FlounderBasket

To my knowledge urgent care centers can deny seeing you but ERs can't. People use the ER as a doctor's office because they can't get care elsewhere.

jeffw

EMTALA, yeah. But still, that’s a small number of patients

HeyThisIsntTheYMCA

Growing number. I'm disabled with rare conditions and primary cares have just been giving up and shuffling me from practice to practice since covid

snooggums

Private equity investment in any industry destroys whatever was positive about the industry.

High quality products? Now they are brands slapped on cheap imported shit until people catch on.

Obviously the same short term profit motives will result in cutting patient care in the medical field for ahort term profits.

Fuck private equity firms.

ChihuahuaOfDoom

I'm the exact opposite, I go to the urgent care knowing they can't help and get sent to the ER, 3 times in the last 2 years.

jeffw

Yeah, there’s some things, like chest pain, where they won’t even risk it because they’re scared of liability stuff, even though in reality they probably could help.

RamblingPanda

Some things should not be for profit, including and starting with healthcare.

EdibleFriend

And at the end of this probe will anything be done?

MelodiousFunk

Maybe a sternly worded letter. Maybe.

beebarfbadger

Yes, the lobbies will make sure that any remaining obstacles to maximising profits on the backs of their victims are removed.

Melkath

Yes.

The Senate will finally be graced with an opportunity to go on the record saying "Nothing wrong here. American healthcare is the best healthcare! That is why it must receive the best payment! You may be jealous of all those people who can afford the payment and look SO HEALTHY, but that just means you need to embrace the American dream harder. Work your ass off. Yank on your bootstraps. Every. Day. Do it every day and never question it. For years and years. Then in no time at all, you will be rubbing shoulders with Mr. Elon Musk, Former President Donald Trump, and current POTUS Joe Biden himself at a swanky James Bond themed bar, all sharing your personal stories about that time the ER turned you away during a life threatening event because you were a poor, which gave you the motivation to yank on them bootstraps hard enough that 50 billion dollars just spontaneously fell out of the loopholes. No notes. American healthcare is the bestest most awesomeist system to exist in the history of the universe."

And too many people will respond "AMERICA! FUCK YA!"