May 9, 2023
Who makes the decisions regarding your health care? Your doctor? Maybe not. And that is a growing problem. Today, though patients may not realize it, private equity’s footprint can be found most everywhere health care is provided: emergency rooms, hospital chains, general practitioners’ offices, cardiologists’ offices, home health agencies, nursing homes and more recently, even in behavioral health. Private equity firms have invested almost $1 trillion in hospitals and specialized practices over the last decade and there is no end to this surge in sight. The consequences of this seismic shift upon patient care and costs to the government payers are increasingly drawing scrutiny from industry observers.
The potential for private equity to insidiously undermine the doctor-patient relationship and usurp the ability to make treatment decisions from physicians is growing exponentially. It is vitally important to have in place effective enforcement strategies to ensure that physician autonomy and quality patient care are not sacrificed in a private equity firm’s desire to generate maximum investment returns.
In this article, Jeanne Markey and Gary Azorsky look at how the long under-utilized “corporate practice of medicine” or “CPOM” statutes, combined with false claims statutes, themselves a fixture of our nation’s jurisprudence, can offer a powerful means of preserving a fundamental component of appropriate patient care, the duty and the power of physicians to exercise their independent judgment when caring for their patients.