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Private equity involvement in the healthcare industry in Massachusetts has been steadily increasing for years. This trend was put on the spotlight after financial troubles hit Steward Health Care, but it is not just one for-profit system that is affected by this phenomenon.

According to data presented by Health Policy Commission Executive Director David Seltz, private equity interests have been involved in about 47 percent of healthcare transactions between 2017 and 2020, more than doubling the figure from the previous period. The HPC examined a total of 182 provider purchases and sales between 2013 and 2023, with private equity interests accounting for more than half of these transactions in recent years.

The crisis at Steward has brought this trend into sharper focus, prompting lawmakers to investigate factors that led to its financial difficulties. The HPC has been discussing this issue since December, but it’s only now that leaders are taking urgent action to address challenges posed by private equity ownership and industry consolidation in the healthcare sector.

To prevent similar problems at other facilities, the Health Care Financing Committee has been tasked with investigating gaps in the state’s regulatory framework and proposing policy changes. The committee also mentioned that they were not informed about the acquisition of Steward’s Massachusetts properties by Medical Properties Trust, which ultimately led to significant financial difficulties for the company. The situation is still developing, but it highlights a growing concern about how private equity involvement can impact healthcare delivery and patient care.

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