It’s something you heard over and over again for the past two years. The fact that hospitals were right at capacity and staff shortages were causing front line medical workers to burn out.
Well, that’s only partially true. As it wasn’t covid that did that, it was the takeover of the medical industry by private equity firms over the years that have caused hospitals to be run like fast-food restaurants to maximize profits with minimal staff, all while filled to capacity.
According to NBC news, private equity firms now make up a large percentage of hospitals and hospital services in America. Even if one of these private equity firms haven’t bought a specific hospital yet, they most likely provide the services within that hospital via a contract. So in essence they run all of those hospitals as well.
Private equity firms such as Blackstone, Cerberus, and Apollo, some of the largest firms in the world, now own or run hospitals all across the country.
These firms are so obsessed with profits over all else that this is cited as the reason most hospitals were short on PPE equipment when the pandemic first started. As an equity firm maximizing profits, they see leaving inventory on shelves the same way as leaving money on the table. Every dollar must be making money, and PPE sitting on a shelf makes no money. So inventories were kept to bare minimums.
The same goes for occupancy and staffing. Just like the airlines maximize profits by making sure every plane is filled to capacity, the equity firms run hospitals the exact same way. Having excess capacity is wasted money and lost opportunity. So these hospitals were all run at maximum capacity with minimal staff even before the pandemic started.
If you want to know how pervasive this takeover is, consider this. Just one company owned by Blackstone called TeamHealth owns or manages 30% of America’s emergency rooms. That’s just one company under one equity firm. There are dozens more.
This helps to support rumors that hospitals put covid patients on ventilators when that may have not been the best medical decision. Insurance and government payouts were higher for certain treatments and patient types. So of course, these hospitals that were owned by private equity firms made the easy decision to prioritize those cases and treatments.
This is also why non-covid care and elective or non-emergency surgeries were canceled at many hospitals. It was a simple business decision, not one based on needs. Covid patients were bringing in more money and required less staff, so private equity owned hospitals simply stopped providing other less profitable services.
This is all just the latest example of how giant private equity firms ruin every industry they touch, all the while making themselves even more powerful and wealthy in the process.
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