In April 2020, Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest healthcare system, made the decision to terminate its established anesthesia group in favor of Texas-based NorthStar Anesthesia, a private equity firm that promised the health system lower staffing costs.  According to reports, more than a dozen physicians and surgeons resigned from the hospital system due to concerns over NorthStar’s reputation.

NorthStar’s contract began on January 1 of this year, and on January 25, Eric Starkman, a reporter at Deadline Detroit, reported the death of a patient due to an anesthesia-related complication during one of the most routine medical procedures: a colonoscopy.

Did the replacement of Beaumont’s anesthesia team by a private equity firm contribute to the death of this patient?  Not only is Beaumont not talking, but according to reports, staff members are being threatened and intimidated into silence.

To help us we will discuss how private equity takeovers in medicine may be harming patients, and what you can do to protect yourself, we are joined by Karen Sibert MD, Clinical Professor in the Dept of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at UCLA, and a past president of the California Society of Anesthesiologists.

Dr. Sibert’s advice to all patients undergoing anesthesia: “Ask, ‘who is my anesthesiologist?’ And if the answer is, ‘there isn’t one,’ they should leave.”  Further, “if there isn’t a physician overseeing your anesthesia care, I can’t reassure you that’s going to be a safe situation. I think that every patient has a right to know who is taking care of them. There should be complete transparency, and I think physician-led care is the safest care.”

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Dr. Karen Sibert’s blogs:

One of our personal favorites, which we cite in our book: