Today, private equity firms are acquiring American hospices at an astonishing rate. From 2012 to 2019, the number of hospices owned by private equity companies tripled. The pace of acquisitions seems to have only gotten faster during the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry brokers who have never before put together a deal involving private equity say they now field calls from private equity buyers multiple times a week. Tempted by a wave of retiring baby boomers, the-sky’s-the-limit Medicare payments, the mom-and-pop nature of the industry and a lack of regulation that is pretty startling even by U.S. standards, private equity now accounts for three out of every five new hospice acquisitions.
Dorilton is the most active private equity investor in elder care in the country.
Dorilton is not the kind of fast-turnaround, make-a-quick-buck private equity firm that piles debt onto its new acquisitions only to sell them a few years later. Even so, former workers at hospices acquired by Traditions described undue pressure to maximize profit — cost-cutting, staff reductions and an aggressive pursuit of more patients.