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Don't go to a private equity-owned hospital

Sponsor-backed facilities shown to have worse patient outcomes

Happy Wednesday. Here’s what we’ve got today…

  • A look at private equity’s impact on patient outcomes

  • The deal sheet, plus Bloomberg’s top travel destinations for the year


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Private equity hospital acquisitions cause worse patient outcomes, according to what its authors say is the first-ever analysis of in-hospital adverse events related to private equity ownership.

Using Medicare claims data, researchers affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the University of Chicago compared the change in incidence of inpatient adverse events at 51 private equity-owned hospitals to a matched control group of 259 hospitals from 2010 to 2017.

The Findings

The study focused on hospital-acquired conditions that are considered preventable, including falls, infections, and blood clots, among others — many of which, the authors note, can raise the risk of mortality.

Based on a difference in differences approach, private equity-acquired hospitals were associated with a 25.4 percent increase in hospital-acquired conditions. This finding was driven by a 27.3 percent increase in falls and a 37.7 percent increase in central line infections, a dangerous bloodstream infection, despite placing 16.2 percent fewer central lines.

The data also showed a doubling in surgical site infections post-acquisition, even as private equity-backed facilities performed 8 percent fewer surgeries than before. 

Potential Underlying Causes

The paper's authors posited that possible drivers of the substandard outcomes may be due to decreased staffing levels, worse provider techniques, and poorer clinician experience.

Along with their conclusions, they cite previous studies that have shown hospital-acquired adverse events tend to be sensitive to staffing levels, particularly among nurses. 

At the same time, previous research on the topic points to staffing reductions as a key value driver in private equity's hospital deals, also concentrated among nurses.

Of note, the study's findings seemingly contradict previous research in the space: A 2022 paper led by researchers at Duke found that private equity ownership actually had a more than 1 percent positive impact on patient mortality rate, though saw no differences across other outcomes measurements.

The current paper's authors say that may be due to selection of healthier or lower-risk patients, which they also saw within the private equity-owned group.

The researchers also call out their decision to focus on in-hospital events, which they believe provide a better assessment of patient experience. These events are more common than mortality, allowing analysis of more minute differences in quality of care that wouldn’t be captured by changes in mortality or readmissions.

Private Equity in the Hospital

“The private equity industry plays an essential role in providing local hospitals with the capital they need to improve patient care, expand access, and drive innovation,” said American Investment Council chief executive Drew Maloney in a statement to media outlets. “This research doesn’t reflect private equity’s full record of strengthening health care across the country.”

Whether or not that’s true, investors have become increasingly wary of the growing scrutiny directed toward private equity’s involvement in healthcare delivery.

That scrutiny includes a “cross-government public inquiry” to be coordinated by the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Health and Human Services, announced by the Biden Administration. Characterized as an effort to reign in “corporate greed,” a key area of focus is private equity’s role in healthcare.

A separate bipartisan congressional investigation is also specifically examining quality of care at private equity-backed hospitals. Apollo’s investment in LifePoint Health and Leonard Green’s involvement in Prospect Medical Holdings (PMH) have emerged as early targets.

Both firms are fielding criticisms over staffing levels, hospital shutdowns, sale-leasebacks, and dividend recapitalizations. Senator Chuck Grassley has been quick to note dozens of instances in which the hospitals in question had been deemed by regulators to have placed patients in “immediate jeopardy,” a designation defined by HHS as having caused, or is likely to cause, “serious injury, harm, impairment or death.”

Is There More to the Story?

Leonard Green’s 2010 acquisition of PMH provides an interesting case study that touches on an area of weakness in last month’s findings. Acknowledged by the paper’s authors, there was no easy way to control for the selection bias inherent in private equity ownership. Sponsors had a reason for acquiring each specific hospital, which may have contributed to the divergence in patient outcomes.

PMH’s thesis focused on a roll-up of struggling safety net hospitals (obligated to provide care regardless of patients’ ability to pay), and Leonard Green oversaw its growth from a five-hospital system in Southern California to a footprint that spanned Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Texas, and New Jersey.

With a system-wide 80 percent of revenue from Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, PMH’s hospitals would have comprised a not insignificant portion of last month’s findings.

The issue, however, is that the acquisition of a distressed system will naturally predispose the sponsor to exposure to hospitals with worsening metrics across both financial and patient outcomes.

Unequivocal success would be a complete turnaround in hospital performance. However, a successful outcome in this scenario might also be the delay or prevention of a hospital closure, even if that facility’s outcomes actually worsen.

Leonard Green and PMH acquired systems out of or nearing bankruptcy on multiple occasions, and it was far from the only instance of distressed system acquisitions.

Immediately preceding LifePoint’s sale to Apollo, the system reported a quarterly loss of $5.3 million on declining revenue, and had begun selling off hospitals to ease its debt burden.

Cerberus Capital Management, another firm actively pursuing hospital deals in the study’s measured time period, has a reputation for discount purchases of distressed assets — its hospital deals fit the theme.

Although, even if such a thesis accounts for a portion of private equity’s in-hospital failings, it can’t explain away other criticisms:

PMH has been hit with repeated allegations of Medicare fraud, anecdotes of corroded surgical tools, and reports of feces left on facility walls. It’s also reportedly left staffers without critical supplies: “Say we need 4x4 sponges, dressing for a patient, IV fluids,” said a veteran nurse at one of PMH’s hospitals, “we might not have it on the shelf because it’s on ‘credit hold’ because they haven’t paid their creditors.”

Private equity health system ownership

Co-investments listed separately in firm-level breakdown

Beyond the scrutiny, many sponsors simply don’t see upside in what has become an increasingly challenged industry.

Per Private Equity Stakeholder Project data, financial sponsors are currently backing around 40 U.S.-based health systems. Notably absent from the list are most middle market healthcare sector specialists — firms like Linden, Arsenal, Frazier, Water Street, Varsity, and WindRose, among others.

An investor at one such firm, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said his team no longer considers health system or hospital deals. He notes that they’re also now avoiding most new provider-focused roll-ups.

Perhaps the only financial backer currently attempting to enter the space is General Catalyst, who recently announced plans to acquire its own health system as a testing ground for new products and offerings it invests in. It’s a bold bet that the firm’s partners will hope doesn’t land themselves in front of a congressional committee down the line.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) agreed to acquire Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) for around $14 billion in cash.

Novartis is in advanced talks to acquire Cytokinetics, a biotech developing a treatment for heart failure, for over $10 billion.

DigitalBridge and Silver Lake invested $6.4 billion into Vantage Data Centers, a hybrid colocation wholesale data center provider.

GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) agreed to acquire Aiolos Bio, a clinical-stage biotech focused on respiratory and autoimmune diseases, for $1 billion upfront and $1.4 billion in total, including contingent payments.

Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) has agreed to acquire Axonics, Inc. (Nasdaq: AXNX), a developer of sacral neuromodulation therapies, for $3.7 billion.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has agreed to acquire Ambrx, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing protein therapeutics, for $2 billion.

Great Hill Partners is preparing to sell One Inc., a digital payment solutions provider for the insurance industry that could be worth north of $1 billion.

SoundCloud, a Berlin-based music streaming platform, is kicking off a sale process that backers Raine Group and Temasek hope could bring in more than $1 billion.

AmerCareRoyal, a portfolio company of HCI Equity Partners, acquired TTM, a provider of thermoformed and flexible packaging solutions.

Concord Technologies, a portfolio company of Excellere Partners, has acquired Biscom, a Massachusetts-based provider of enterprise secure document delivery and communication solutions owned by ParkerGale Capital and Maranon Capital.

Crest Rock Partners has made an investment in SPT, a Houston-based provider of specialty pipe inspection and cleaning services.

EQT has agreed to acquire Mabtech, a provider of antibodies and assays.

Hyle Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in Ciemme Alimentari, an Italian producer of gnocchi.

McIntyre Partners has agreed to acquire Moreld Group, an offshore engineering and construction services provider, from HitecVision.

Vision Innovation Partners, a portfolio company of Gryphon Investors, has acquired Bucks-Mont Eye Associates, a practice based in Sellersville, Pennsylvania.

GE HealthCare (Nasdaq: GEHC) agreed to acquire MIM Software, a Cleveland-based provider of medical imaging software.

CVC Capital Partners is in talks to acquire Sunday Natural, a vitamin and supplements brand, in a deal that could be valued at around €900 million.

The Italian government is preparing to invest €320 million ($351.10 million) to increase its stake in Acciaierie d'Italia, Italy’s largest steelmaker.

Charterhouse Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in Two Circles, a sports data and marketing firm, from Bruin Capital.

Corsair Capital acquired MJM Holdings, an independent commercial broker based in Poland, from Posella Ltd. and Solter Capital.

HMP Global, a healthcare events producer and education company backed by Susquehanna, has acquired Drug Channels Institute, a healthcare market intelligence firm.

Pharos Capital acquired a majority stake in RhythMedix, a Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based provider of remote cardiac monitoring solutions.

Shrieve Chemical Co., owned by Gemspring Capital, acquired TLC Ingredients, a supplier of food and industrial ingredients.

Verdantas, a Tree Line Capital Partners portfolio company, has acquired Peterson Brustad, a water and natural resources consulting firm.

• Fort Point Capital-backed Yandell acquired Eagle Transportation Co. and Redwood Empire Wine Storage, expanding its wine-focused logistics and transportation capabilities.

QIC is preparing to sell its 58 percent stake in Poweco, a New Zealand electric and natural gas producer.


Auna, owner of a chain of hospitals and health plans across Peru, Colombia, and Mexico, filed for an IPO with plans to list on the NYSE.


Stone Point Capital made a growth investment in ClearPoint Health, a medical stop-loss captive platform.

Altamont Capital Partners invested in Mini Melts, an ice cream company.

Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals, a Chinese biotech developing therapeutics for cardiovascular and ocular conditions, raised $162 million from Bayer and RTW Investments.

Second Dinner, an indie game developer behind Marvel Snap, raised $100 million in Series B funding led by Griffin Gaming Partners, with participation from NetEase.

ExtraHop, a provider of cloud-native security network detection and response (NDR) solutions, raised $100 million in growth capital from existing backers Crosspoint Capital Partners, DigitalSky Ventures, Etairos, and others.

PerformYard, a cloud-based platform for employee performance management, raised $95 million in funding from Updata Partners.

Quora, a platform of crowd-sourced questions and answers, raised $75 million in Series B funding from Andreessen Horowitz, focused on the build-out of its AI chat capabilities.

Nalu Medical, a developer of neurostimulation technology for chronic neuropathic pain, raised $65 million in new equity funding from Novo Holdings, with existing backers Gilde Healthcare, MVM Partners, Endeavor Vision, Decheng Capital, Longitude Capital, Advent Life Sciences, Pura Vida, and Aperture Venture Partners also participating.

PhotoRoom, a developer of AI-powered photo editing software, is in the process of raising $50-60 million at a $500-600 million pre-money valuation, per TechCrunch.

Luma, a digital modeling and illustration software company, raised $43 million in Series B funding. Andreessen Horowitz led, with participation from Nvidia, Amplify, Matrix Partners, South Park Commons, and Remote First Capital.

Conta Simples, a Brazilian corporate card and expense management platform, raised $41.5 million in Series B funding. Base10 Partners led, with participation from Valor, Jam Fund, Y Combinator, Big Bets, and Broadhaven.

Vortexa, a London-based analytics platform for energy and freight markets, raised $34 million in Series C funding. Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital led, with participation from Notion Capital, Monashees, Metaplanet, FJ Labs, and Communitas Capital.

Anecdotes, a developer of GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) software, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Glilot Capital Partners led, with participation from Vertex, DTCP, and existing backers Red Dot, Vintage, and Shasta.

Zilo, a transfer agency software business with a focus on the buy side, raised £25 million in Series A funding. Fidelity International Strategic Ventures and Portage co-led, with participation from State Street and Citi.

Burro, a developer of autonomous robotic vehicles for the agriculture industry, raised $24 million in Series B funding. Catalyst Investors and Translink Capital co-led, with participation from S2G Ventures, Toyota Ventures, F-Prime Capital, and Cibus Capital.

Vita Health, a telehealth behavioral health platform focused on suicide risk management, raised a $22.5 million Series A. LFE Capital, Athyrium Capital Management, and Flare Capital Partners led, with participation from CVS Health, CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, Connecticut Innovations, and HopeLab.

PursueCare, a virtual addiction and mental health care provider, raised $20 million in Series B funding. T.Rx Capital and Yamaha Motor Ventures co-led, with participation from Seyen Capital and OCA Ventures.

Contents.com, a developer of AI-powered multilingual content solutions, raised $18 million in Series B funding from Alkemia Capital, with participation from Thomson Reuters Ventures, Azimut Digitech Fund, and Invictus Capital.

QuantHealth, a clinical trial simulation platform, raised $17 million in Series A funding from Accenture Ventures, Bertelsmann Investments, Pitango HealthTech, Shoni Top Ventures, and Nina Capital.

SynMax, a satellite analytics company focused on the energy and maritime sectors, raised $13 million in funding led by Bill Perkins, with participation from Alex Moore.

Heranova, a biotech aiming to develop innovative women's health diagnostics and therapeutics, raised $13.5 million in seed and seed+ funding led by Emerging Technology Partners, Sinovation Ventures, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, and Triwise Capital.

Unbox, a decentralized finance and tech-enabled supply chain management platform, raised €12 million in Series A funding, with backing from HSBC Asset Management and SFPIM.

DigitalOwl, a provider of AI-enabled medical record summarization, raised $12 million from RGA.

Ask-AI, a provider of generative AI solutions, raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Leaders Fund, with participation from Vertex Ventures, State of Mind Ventures, GTMFund, and Seed investors.

Imbed Biosciences, a developer of advanced biomaterials for soft-tissue repair, raised $10 million in convertible debt funding. The round was led by Niterra, with participation from existing backers Pegasus Tech Ventures.

Care Continuity, a provider of data-driven patient navigation solutions, raised $10 million in Series A-3 funding led by Empactful Capital and Viewside Capital, with participation from Flat Creek Capital and Loop 289.

Cumulus Oncology, a UK-based oncology biotech, raised £9 million in seed funding. Eos Advisory and Scottish National Investment Bank co-led.

AbbeyCross, a developer of a platform focused on emerging market foreign exchange, raised $6.5 million in seed funding. Valar Ventures led, with participation from BNY Mellon, Third Prime, and Gaingels.

Parallel, a teletherapy platform focusing on students with special learning needs, raised $6.125 million. Rethink Impact led, with participation from existing investors.

PierSight, a satellite-based surveillance provider for the maritime industry, raised $6 million in seed funding. Alpha Wave Ventures and Elevation Capital led, with participation from Techstars.

Mush Foods, a biotech developing next-gen meat alternatives, raised $6.2 million in seed funding, per Axios. Viola Ventures led, with participation from Arc Impact, Siddhi Capital, and Foodtech-Hub—the Kitchen.

Peerlogic, a developer of AI-powered conversational intelligence solutions, raised $5.65 million in Series Seed funding. AZ-VC led, with participation from In Revenue Capital, Cervin Ventures, Singularity Capital, and Revere Partners.

WTHN, a wellness startup that offers acupuncture services and herbal products, raised $5 million in Series A funding. L Catterton led, with participation from Halogen Ventures and angel investors.

Health In Her HUE, a digital health platform serving women of color, raised $3 million in seed funding led by Seae Ventures, with participation from Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, Morgan Stanley Inclusive Ventures Lab, HBCU Founders Fund, Stanford Impact Fund, and Genius Guild.

Maalexi, a platform for small agribusinesses to manage trading-related risks, raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding led by Global Ventures, with participation from Rockstart and Ankurit Capital.

CharacterX, a decentralized synthetic social network, raised $2.8 million in seed funding at a $30 million valuation. Lightspeed Venture Partners, INCE Capital, and Spark Digital Capital co-led, with participation from CGV, ZC Capital, GRI, Fermion Capital, and 84000LP.

Shimmer, a provider of online ADHD coaching, raised $2.2 million in seed funding. WorkLife Ventures and Seed to B led.


Lexington Partners raised $22.7 billion for its latest secondaries fund.

Ares Management is approaching a final close on more than €20 billion for its latest direct lending fund, which could be the largest-ever.

Cinven raised $14.5 billion for its latest flagship buyout fund.

Apollo Global Management is targeting $2 billion for its second credit opportunities fund.

New Catalyst Strategic Partners is launching with an initial capital commitment from Apollo and plans to focus on early-stage venture and growth investments.


1. Planning for the year ahead

• Bloomberg Pursuits released its list of the top travel destinations of 2024. —Where to Go in 2024: The best new resorts, restaurants and museums to plan a trip around in the year ahead, Bloomberg


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