PE HUB Wire Highlights, 9.18.19


Photo of Luisa Beltran, PE HUB Senior Editor, courtesy of Buyouts Insider.

Carl Stanton, Invesco’s head of WL Ross business, leaves; Blackstone in $2.5B buy of Promontory; PE firms face congressional scrutiny over surprise billing

Morning, Hubsters!

I don’t normally talk healthcare in my morning missive (that’s for Sarah) but today I’m making an exception. Recently, I’ve undergone procedures for some ailments like my frequently sore tonsils and acid reflux. The laser surgery for tonsilitus was in late 2018 while the endoscopy was in May. Now, Hubsters, I have insurance. Yet, I’m still getting bills for some medical charges — i.e. doctors that were out of my network or fees– that I wasn’t aware of.

Surprise billing isn’t a new phenomenon but now some PE firms are facing Congressional scrutiny over their role, according to Forbes. This includes KKRBlackstone and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, which received letters from the House Committee on Energy & Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone and ranking member Greg Walden. The letters mention KKR’s buy of EmCare and Blackstone’s acquisition of Team Health.

“Evidence indicates that these physician staffing firms charge significantly higher in-network rates than their counterparts, thereby driving reimbursement upwards as they enter into staffing arrangements with hospitals,” Pallone and Walden said in the letters. “We are concerned about the increasing role that private equity firms appear to be playing in physician staffing in our nation’s hospitals, and the potential impact these firms are having on our rising health care costs.”

A Blackstone spokesman said in an email: “Blackstone’s portfolio company TeamHealth fully supports legislation to end surprise medical bills through an approach called independent arbitration that has proven successful in New York and Texas. TeamHealth also has a long-standing policy against balance billing its patients. We look forward to responding to this letter and outlining the company’s approach.”

See the letter to KKR and to Blackstone here.

Hubsters, any thoughts? What do you think will happen? Email me at lbeltran@buyoutsinsider.com

Separately, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is also looking at private equity’s ownership of for-profit colleges, according to the Republic Report. Warren is joined by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI). Warren and Pocan sent letters to KKR, Sterling PartnersAltas PartnersVistriaLeeds Equity Partners, and Apollo Global Management.

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