March 26, 2024

Most physicians negatively view private equity ownership of healthcare practices

Editor's Note

According to a March 11 research letter published by JAMA Internal Medicine, most physicians have a negative view of private equity’s growing involvement in healthcare. The findings mostly come from a January 2023 survey of 525 medical doctors conducted by the American College of Physicians (ACP).

Some highlights include:

  • ACP survey respondents comprise the following areas: general internal medicine physicians (67%), salaried employees (70%), and those who were owners or partners in physician group practices (22%).
  • They found that nearly 61% of those polled held a negative view of private equity’s involvement in medical practices. Just 11% held a positive view and 29% were neutral. 
  • Of those surveyed, 6% worked for a private-equity-acquired healthcare company, and 10% (52 doctors) said a PR firm was interested in purchasing their practice. 
  • More than half of the doctors viewed private equity ownership as worse than independent ownership, and over half believed that it had a negative impact on physician well-being. 

Private equity purchases of physician practices are on the rise, according to a December 2023 NBC News article, with firms like Apollo, the Carlyle Group and Warburg Pincus spending over $1 trillion in the past decade buying hospitals, physician practices and other healthcare businesses. These firms aim to get 20% returns in 3-7 years, leading to poor practices that have been shown to drive up costs and negatively impact patient outcomes. 

“With private equity buying up an increasing number of physician practices, and spinning those into for-profit entities, it is important we examine the impact this change has on physicians, patient care and the overall healthcare sector,” said Omar T. Atiq, MD, president of the American College of Physicians, in an announcement related to the study. 


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