Apollo's 220-hospital 'stranglehold' harms patients and workers, report alleges

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management's ownership of two large health systems — Louisville, Ky.-based ScionHealth and Brentwood, Tenn.-based Lifepoint Health — downgrades hospital services, hurts workers and puts patients at risk, according to a study published Jan. 11 by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project.

Since acquiring Lifepoint in 2018 and spinning off ScionHealth in 2021, Apollo has consolidated ownership of 220 hospitals in 36 states, with a workforce of about 75,000 employees. Many of the hospitals have experienced service cuts, layoffs, poor quality ratings and regulatory investigations, according to the report. 

The report comes amid rising scrutiny of private equity hospital ownership. 

In December, the Senate Budget Committee launched an investigation into the effects of private equity ownership on hospitals that specifically mentioned Apollo's ownership of Lifepoint. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse requested "documents and detailed answers" about certain hospital transactions and the degree to which private equity firms are calling the shots at hospitals. 

A Harvard Medical School-led study published Dec. 26 in JAMA also found that hospitals that are bought by private equity-backed companies are less safe for patients. On average, patients at private equity-purchased facilities had 25.4% more hospital-acquired conditions, according to the study. 

"Apollo's purchase of these hospital systems follows a disturbing pattern of harm caused by the growing influence of private equity in the healthcare sector," PESP Healthcare Director Eileen O'Orady, said in a news release. "Private equity's utmost priority to maximize short-term profit over the long-term viability of the companies it controls leads to excessive debt, cost cutting, worse outcomes for patients and deteriorating working conditions for employees. Apollo's management of its hospitals seems to follow the usual playbook."

The study, "Apollo's Stranglehold on Hospitals Harms Patients and Healthcare Workers," was developed in conjunction with the American Federation of Teachers and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Click here to access the full report.

Apollo, Lifepoint and ScionHealth did not respond to Becker's request for comment.

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