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Press Releases / August 01, 2022

Geographic Variation in Private Equity Penetration Across Physician Specialties

Investment in physician practices by private equity firms is growing rapidly in the United States. In the second quarter of 2021 alone, 63% of physician practice deals had private equity buyers.* This trend is projected to increase, so it is important to understand patterns in private equity healthcare market penetration and how it may impact patient outcomes, competition, and costs.

In new research, Jane Zhu, MD, and her team, looked at geographic and specialty variation in private equity penetration nationwide. Their work is analyzed in the latest NIHCM Research Insights. Key findings include:

  • Private equity investment in physician practices was highest in the Northeast, Florida and Arizona, and lowest in the Midwest.
  • Of six specialties reviewed, the number of physicians working in private equity acquired practices was highest in dermatology, followed by gastroenterology.
  • Penetration may vary across states as a result of demand level and market size, which directly impact investment opportunities for private equity firms. Overall, the consolidation of independent physician practices may result in reduced competition and increased prices in local healthcare markets, especially in areas with high levels of private equity investment. This work also highlights the need for practice ownership transparency and monitoring.

This study was funded in part by the NIHCM Foundation through the NIHCM Research Grant Program. Research Insights summarize outstanding health services research.

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*Dyrda, L. (n.d.). 63% of Q2 physician practice deals had private equity buyers. Becker's ASC Review. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-transactions-and-valuation-issues/63-of-q2-physician-practice-deals-had-private-equity-buyers.html

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