There’s a dangerous bill being floated in Albany that would allow for-profit private equity inverstors to control healthcare facilities — we all need to know how this proposal will endanger patient care.
We’re working around the clock to block this bill, and here’s why:
When for-profits get their hands on healthcare, they always look to cut services seen as “less profitable.”
Case in point: When Vanguard’s Weiss Hospital in Chicago (private-entity) failed a spot inspection for maternity-ward security, instead of resolving the issue through increased staffing and a reexamination of hospital policy, Vanguard simply closed the maternity wing in 2007, eliminating a vital service for the surrounding community.
The decision-makers would like you to think that this pilot project is going to save healthcare institutions from going bankrupt. In reality, they are experimenting on poor communities of color with large uninsured populations.
Case in point: At Vanguard-acquired Phoenix Memorial Hospital, located in a predominately urban, poor area of Phoenix, the company announced the closure of the emergency room despite earlier promises to the contrary. After a public outcry, Vanguard shelved the plan, but just a few years later closed the entire hospital and leased out the space. In the meantime, Vanguard invested heavily in surgical and ambulatory services at a nearby hospital in Phoenix's wealthier western suburbs.
For-profits will do whatever it takes to paint a rosy financial picture to keep shareholders happy. The equivalent of real estate “flippers,” they often look for the quick profit — at the expense of patient care.
Case in point: In 2005, the former chief compliance officer at private-equity-owned Iasis Hospital chain filed a complaint, alleging that doctors at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix were installing a specific kind of heart implant — the Intra-Aortic Pump — at ten times the normal rate. The alleged motive? Iasis could bill patients an additional $1,000.
Not only would for-profits be allowed to control failing facilities with cash infusions, there currently is no plan to include review provisions to hold these groups accountable.
Albany’s legislative session ends on June 20. NYSNA will do whatever it takes to keep for-profit corporate ownership of hospitals OFF THE TABLE.
CLICK HERE to read an in-depth expose of private equity and patient care from Dollars and Sense magazine.
Call your lawmakers NOW and tell them why you oppose the for-profit takeover of patient care.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for hundreds of thousands of frontline nurses. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses.