30 December 2021

Best Healthcare System in the World

The juxtaposition of private equity and healthcare is an unmitigated disaster, as was shown in the sad saga of Pinnacle Dermatology, a private equity backed medical chain that prioritizes profits over people:

The email to the health care workers was like something out of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “We are in the last few days of the month and are only 217 appointments away from meeting our budget,” the August 2020 memo stated. “Don’t forget the August bonus incentive for all patients scheduled in August! That’s the easiest money you can make. Get that money!!”

The “Get that money!!” entreaty wasn’t addressed to a bunch of hard-charging, coke-snorting stockbrokers. It went to Michigan-based employees of Pinnacle Dermatology, a private equity-owned group of 90 dermatology practices across America.

The memo was shared with NBC News by a former Pinnacle employee, Dr. Allison Brown, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist. Brown says Pinnacle terminated her shortly after she advised management of questionable practices that she contends were hurting patients.
There is no human activity that private equity cannot ruin.


Physicians have a duty to put their patients’ interests first. But when aggressive financiers take over medical operations, the push for profits can take precedence, doctors in an array of specialties have told NBC News. Paying bonuses for increased patient visits may result in unnecessary appointments and costs, for example.


“The private equity business model is fundamentally incompatible with sound health care that serves patients,” concluded a paper in May co-authored by Richard M. Scheffler, professor of health economics and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley; Laura M. Alexander, the vice president of policy at the American Antitrust Institute, a nonprofit organization; and James R. Godwin, a Ph.D. candidate at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

The researchers found that private equity’s focus on short-term profits “leads to pressure to prioritize revenue over quality of care, to overburden health-care companies with debt, strip their assets, and put them at risk of long-term failure, and to engage in anticompetitive and unethical billing practices.”

Private equity does that with everything that they touch. 

They are a cancer on society, but you would never find that out if you had it checked out at Pinnacle Dermatology.  Their lab would lose the results.


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