Private Equity in Healthcare: A Concern for Patients as Steward Health Care Sells Physician Group to Optum Care

Optum Care acquires physician group from struggling Steward Health Care

Recently, Steward Health Care in Massachusetts has reached a deal to sell its physician group to Optum Care, as reported by Sen. Edward J. Markey D-Mass. The company, which operates nine healthcare facilities in the state, is currently facing financial instability due to accumulated debt. Steward was previously owned by Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity company that made significant profits from the company.

Sen. Markey expressed concern over Steward’s financial situation and urged for a transition away from their practices. He emphasized the importance of maintaining healthcare access and ensuring patients and providers are the top priority. Markey suggested that Optum Care must demonstrate their commitment to controlling costs and prioritizing patient care.

As the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security, Markey has called for Steward CEO Dr. Ralph de la Torre to testify at a congressional hearing in Boston on April 3rd. This hearing will provide an opportunity for Congress to examine the impact of private equity ownership on healthcare providers and patients alike.

Markey highlighted the need for healthcare reforms that prioritize patient outcomes over profit motives. He believes that these reforms are necessary to ensure that patients receive high-quality care without being hindered by financial pressures or profit-driven decisions made by private equity companies like Cerberus Capital Management.

For more information on this topic or any other related issues in healthcare policy, please reach out to SMorse@himss.org

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