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Private equity firms are increasingly buying hospitals across the US, and when they do, patients suffer, according to two separate reports. Specifically, the equity firms cut corners, slash services, lay off staff, lower quality of care, take on substantial debt, and reduce charity care, leading to lower ratings and more medical errors, the reports collectively find.

Last week, the financial watchdog organization Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP) released a report delving into the state of two of the nation’s largest hospital systems, Lifepoint and ScionHealth—both owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Through those two systems, Apollo runs 220 hospitals in 36 states, employing around 75,000 people.

The report found that some of Apollo’s hospitals were among the worst in their respective states, based on a ranking by The Lown Institute Hospital Index. The index ranks hospitals and health systems based on health equity, value, and outcomes, PESP notes. The hospitals also have dismal readmission rates and government rankings. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ranks hospitals on a one-to-five star system, with the national average of 3.2 stars overall and about 30 percent of hospitals at two stars or below. Apollo’s overall average is 2.8 stars, with nearly 40 percent of hospitals at two stars or below.

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