A new study by researchers at the Petris Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth finds that private equity firms own more than half of all specialists in some U.S. markets.
In more than a quarter of local markets — in places like Tucson, Ariz.; Columbus, Ohio; and Providence, R.I. — a single private equity firm owned more than 30 percent of practices in a given specialty in 2021. In 13 percent of the markets, the firms owned groups employing more than half the local specialists.
The medical groups were associated with higher prices in their respective markets, particularly when they controlled a dominant share, according to a paper by researchers at the Petris Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. When a firm controlled more than 30 percent of the market, the cost of care in three specialties — gastroenterology, dermatology, and obstetrics and gynecology — increased by double digits.