When private investment firms purchase hospitals and physician groups, they have one goal: to make a profit.
And they’re willing to make drastic changes to cut operating expenses, such as eliminating HR personnel, prioritizing moneymaking procedures, and reducing hospital staff.
So what does this ultimately mean? Your chances of witnessing medical malpractice or sexual abuse could increase if you work at a private equity-owned medical practice.
Now, more than ever, understanding how private equity firms work can help you prioritize patient care—and report medical malpractice when you see it.
How Private Equity-Owned Medical Practices Can Foster Poor Patient Care
Private equity firms pool funds from various sources in order to purchase privately-owned companies that can potentially turn a profit. For these investment management companies, hospitals and physician practice groups are an attractive and lucrative investment opportunity.
From 2010 to 2019, these establishments invested about $750 billion in healthcare, demonstrating the serious growth of this trend—and raising concern for the level of patient care offered at these private equity-owned practices. And why is that? To boost revenue, many private equity firms take drastic actions, such as:
- Reducing staff, such as administrators, nurses, technicians, hiring and human relations personnel
- Cutting back on staffing, supplies, and tests
- Pressuring staff to see more patients and prioritize expensive procedures
When these actions are taken, profits can skyrocket, but patients may suffer. Recent real-life examples include those who filed lawsuits against obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Vernon Cannon and his former employer DuPage Medical Group. These lawsuits involve alleged intoxicated examinations, an alleged inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient outside of examinations, and alleged bizarre behavior after a stillbirth.
Identifying Different Types of Medical Malpractice and Institutional Negligence
Before you take action, it’s important to understand what exactly you’ve witnessed. Medical malpractice is a form of negligence. Types of medical malpractice can include anesthesia errors, birth injuries, emergency room or operating room errors, diagnosis errors, wrongful birth, wrongful death, and sexual abuse.
On the other hand, hospital negligence, or institutional negligence, takes place when a hospital or medical practice fails to properly operate and maintain the facility or fails to train and supervise its employees.
Hospital negligence can manifest in various forms, such as:
- Negligent supervision
- Failing to ensure that care is safely provided in its facility
- Inadequate or lack of policies and procedures
- A lack of an effective “chain of command”
- Negligent credentialing of physicians
- Equipment malfunctions
How to Report Medical Malpractice or Hospital Negligence at a Private Equity-Owned Medical Practice
As a nurse, administrator, or witness to medical malpractice or hospital negligence, it is imperative that you report any suspicions or concerns. Failing to report incidents of sexual abuse or other inappropriate behavior, neglecting proper oversight, or ignoring red flags will unintentionally allow harmful actions to continue.
Reporting instances of medical malpractice or hospital negligence is a crucial step toward safeguarding patient wellbeing. There are several actions you can take to ensure you’re upholding the highest level of patient care at your facility.
1. Document the Incident
As a witness, meticulously document all pertinent details regarding the incident, including dates, times, locations, and any other relevant information that may aid in the investigation.
2. Inform Your Facility
Report the incident to your immediate supervisor or the designated authority within your organization. Adhere to the established reporting procedures and provide them with your documented evidence.
3. Report the Incident Externally
Alongside internal reporting channels, consider utilizing external resources such as regulatory bodies, licensing boards, or legal professionals specializing in medical malpractice. These entities can provide independent oversight and ensure appropriate action is taken.
4. Seek Support
Reach out to colleagues, unions, or professional organizations for guidance and support. They can offer advice on navigating the reporting process and advocate for your rights as a whistleblower.
5. Protect Confidentiality
Maintain strict confidentiality throughout the reporting process to protect the victim and your own wellbeing. Refrain from discussing the incident with individuals who are not directly involved in the investigation.
6. Support the Victim
If you become aware of cases like the ones against Dr. Vernon Cannon, reach out to the law firm filing them and offer your experience as a means of supporting the victims.
Let Your Team of Experts Help You Seek Justice
Have you witnessed medical malpractice or hospital negligence by a private equity-owned medical practice? At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, we’re seeking justice for several victims of Dr. Vernon Cannon and the DuPage Medical Group—and your insights can help us win cases like these. Contact us today to share what you’ve witnessed and help put a stop to these dangerous situations.
And if you’d like more information about sexual abuse in private equity-owned medical practices, reach out to us here.