Private Equity Acquisition And Responsiveness To Service-Line Profitability At Short-Term Acute Care Hospitals

Health Aff (Millwood). 2021 Nov;40(11):1697-1705. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2021.00541.


As private equity firms continue to increase their ownership stake in various health care sectors in the US, questions arise about potential impacts on the organization and delivery of care. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we investigated changes in service-line provision in private equity-acquired hospitals. Relative to nonacquired hospitals, private equity acquisition was associated with a higher probability of adding specific profitable hospital-based services (interventional cardiac catheterization, hemodialysis, and labor and delivery), profitable technologies (robotic surgery and digital mammography), and freestanding or satellite emergency departments. Moreover, private equity acquisition was associated with an increased probability of providing services that were previously categorized as unprofitable but that have more recently become areas of financial opportunity (for example, mental health services). Finally, private equity-acquired hospitals were less likely to add or continue services that have unreliable revenue streams or that may face competition from nonprofit hospitals (for example, outpatient psychiatry), although fewer shifts were noted among unprofitable services. This may reflect a prevailing shift by acute care hospitals toward outpatient settings for appropriate procedures and synergies with existing holdings by private equity firms.

MeSH terms

  • Hospitals, Private*
  • Humans
  • Ownership*
  • Renal Dialysis