ST. PAUL, Minn. — Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF) raises concerns over General Catalyst buying Ohio-based non-profit health system Summa Health (including 1,000 doctors) and its insurance plan, turning it into a for-profit company. This acquisition was announced on January 17, 2024. In addition, Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm, executed a massive $1.8 billion acquisition of Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendor NextGen Healthcare. This transaction was announced in September. These buyouts are part of a growing – and alarming – trend where corporate entities are acquiring health care practices, physician groups, and vendors.
In November 2023, STAT News reported the Optum subsidiary of the nation’s largest health plan, UnitedHealth Group, employs or is affiliated with 10% of all U.S. doctors. Becker’s Hospital Review puts Optum in charge of about 130,000 practitioners, including advanced practice clinicians.
CCHF views these acquisitions as part of the expanding corporate takeover of medicine, shifting the focus of doctors and practitioners from the mission of medicine to the business of health care.
To protect personalized medical care, CCHF urges doctors to adhere to their oaths and align with the mission of medicine by considering leaving such practices.
“Private equity is focused on profits. Physicians and hospitals are focused on patients – or they should be. The problem for patients today is that the mission of medicine has been taken over by the business of health care. Patients need a doctor who is focused on them and their needs, not a corporate bottom line. Patients will never get from a corporate protocol what they will get from the personalized attention of a skilled practitioner,” says Twila Brase, RN, PHN, Co-founder and President of CCHF.
CCHF also views the corporate push to use of artificial intelligence in medicine as an emerging concern.
“The emphasis on algorithm-driven protocols for medical decision-making is a disturbing trend,” Brase adds. “Computers and machine learning tend towards ‘one size fits all’ medicine and the potential risks associated with medicine by algorithm are not fully known. Every patient needs a critically thinking doctor in charge of their care, not a machine.”
To move away from corporate control of medicine, CCHF is building a parallel health care system, starting with an online directory of independent, cash-based, interference-free practices called The Wedge of Health Freedom®. This directory can be found at jointhewedge.com.