Physicians Concerned About Private Equity’s Impact on Health Care

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Greatest concerns are around physician well-being, health care spending, and equity

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 22, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Physicians express largely negative views about the impact of private equity (PE) on the health care system, according to a research letter published online March 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Jane M. Zhu, M.D., from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues conducted a survey to assess physicians’ views toward PE ownership. The analysis included 525 participants in an American College of Physicians research panel.

The researchers found that 9.9 percent of respondents reported that PE had expressed interest in purchasing their practice, while 5.5 percent worked for a PE-acquired health care entity. Most respondents (60.8 percent) viewed PE involvement in health care negatively, while 10.5 percent viewed it as positive or somewhat positive and 28.8 percent were neutral. Just over half of respondents (52.0 percent) viewed PE ownership as worse or much worse versus independent ownership, while 49.3 percent viewed PE ownership as worse or much worse versus not-for-profit hospital or health system ownership. PE was viewed unfavorably related to physician well-being (57.7 percent), health care prices or spending (57.0 percent), and health equity (51.2 percent), while health care innovation was noted as a potential positive. PE-employed physicians were less likely to report high professional satisfaction (extremely or somewhat satisfied) versus non-PE-employed physicians (44.8 versus 74.4 percent) and also reported lower autonomy (48.3 versus 66.3 percent).

“Our estimates of PE-involved physicians mirror those in the literature and suggest new areas for inquiry around clinical practice and workplace experience,” the authors write.

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