It’s Good for the CEO–But for You?

The $33 billion leveraged buyout by private investors of the mammoth hospital chain, HCA, announced today could mean layoffs of staff and higher prices for consumers.

In Denver, the Tennessee-based company operates several well known hospitals under the name Health One-Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center (Unfortunately I had to go to the emergency room there while suffering a miscarriage earlier this year), Rose Medical Center (happier memories there-it’s where I delivered our son Leo, now 20 months.) Altogether HCA owns seven hospitals and 10 surgery centers in the Denver area, employing 8,700 people and serving nearly 1 million patients, reports the Denver Post.

The buyers include none other than the fabled Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., along with Merrill Lynch & Company and HCA co-founder Thomas F. Frist, brother of the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). The deal is bigger than the $33 billion leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco in 1989.Al Lewis, in his Denver Post column, today is right on the money when he writes:

Patients will pay more for less. Health care workers will get heavier workloads. CEOs and other executives will bag bigger compensation packages. And corporate profiteers increasingly will make decisions about access to health care.

Lewis is blogging about it here.

When these big deals get made, the ordinary people who visit these hospitals often pay the price.

[crossposted at]

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