Private equity has pumped more than $1 trillion into the US healthcare sector in the last decade, with over 8,000 deals completed. But it isn’t panning out well for patients. A new study led by researchers from Harvard Medical School (HMS) finds that care tends to deteriorate at hospitals after private equity firms take over.

Patients are 25% more likely to have a fall, catch new bloodstream infections, or experience other forms of harm during a hospital stay at facilities owned by private equity, according to the study, which was published Dec. 26 in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). The researchers examined insurance claims data for Medicare hospitalizations from 2009 to 2019, including more than 600,000 hospitalizations at 51 hospitals run by private equity and upwards of 4 million stays at 259 similar hospitals not owned by private equity.

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