Private equity investors are rapidly scooping up thousands of health care businesses, taking over emergency rooms or entire hospitals, and becoming major players in physician practices and patient care, from cradle to grave. But these acquisitions are often invisible to federal regulators. And their profit motives raise concerns about rising prices and the quality of treatment.

Buy and Bust: When Private Equity Comes for Rural Hospitals

KHN Original

Noble Health swept into two small Missouri towns promising to save their hospitals. Instead, workers and vendors say it stopped paying bills and government inspectors found it put patients at risk. Within two years — after taking millions in federal covid relief and big administrative fees — it locked the doors.

Profit Strategy: Psychiatric Facilities Prioritize Out-of-State Kids

KHN Original

Nearly all psychiatric residential treatment centers for children in South Carolina operate as for-profit businesses — some backed by private equity — and many prioritize out-of-state kids because it’s better for the bottom line. The scramble to secure treatment for children and teenagers has become so competitive that South Carolina will spend millions more each year as of April 1 to keep out-of-state patients from flooding the state’s treatment facilities.