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Research Letter
August 24, 2020

Expansion of Private Equity Involvement in Women’s Health Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, New York, New York
  • 3Harvard Medical School, Department of Health Care Policy, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • 5Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 6Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 24, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3567

An influx of private equity involvement in women’s health care has garnered attention and scrutiny.1 Over the past decade, private equity firms have increasingly invested in or acquired hospitals, physician practices, laboratories, and biomedical device companies. Private equity firms use capital from corporations or wealthy individuals to invest in and acquire organizations and generally sell their holdings within 3 to 7 years.2 Proponents argue that they produce economic value by increasing operational efficiency while maintaining or improving the quality of care. Critics fear that the need to quickly achieve high returns on investments may conflict with the quality and safety of care or exacerbate health inequities.3 Recent evidence shows growing acquisitions of physician groups across specialties between 2013 and 2016,4 which is aligned with larger trends in the corporatization of medicine.5 Despite the growth and geographic breadth of private equity involvement in health care, to our knowledge, relatively little empirical research exists, especially in women’s health.

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