Private Equity’s Growing Role in Massachusetts Healthcare: A Critical Juncture for Regulatory Reform and Sustainable Care

Legislators focus on private equity’s role in health care following Steward Healthcare’s challenges

The healthcare industry in Massachusetts is facing financial challenges, with private equity playing an increasingly important role. According to officials, the presence of private equity in healthcare transactions has more than doubled in recent years. This trend is expected to continue as industry consolidation, for-profit ownership, and private equity investment shape the healthcare landscape in the state.

The Health Policy Commission (HPC) has been monitoring this trend closely, revealing that private equity was involved in 25 percent of healthcare transactions between 2013 and 2016. This number increased to 47 percent between 2017 and 2020, and further rose to 63 percent between 2020 and 2023. This data raises concerns about the impact of private equity on the healthcare system and the need for regulatory oversight.

HPC Executive Director David Seltz emphasized the importance of addressing these issues to prevent future crises like the one facing Steward Health Care. He stressed that urgent action is needed to ensure the stability and sustainability of the healthcare system in Massachusetts. Legislative leaders have tasked the HPC with investigating regulatory gaps and proposing policy changes to address the challenges faced by healthcare providers.

Recent events, such as Medical Properties Trust acquiring Steward’s Massachusetts properties without notifying HPC, highlight the need for stronger regulatory oversight. As discussions continue, it is clear that the future of healthcare in Massachusetts is at a critical juncture, with private equity interests influencing policy decisions and comprehensive regulatory reform needed to ensure a sustainable and equitable system for all citizens.

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