The private-equity landscape within long-term care could face additional scrutiny following the latest request from a federal lawmaker. 

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, in a letter last week called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate the relationship between private equity investments and healthcare facilities that have closed. 

He also cited an increase in surprise billings, nursing home mortality rates and decreasing access to safety net hospitals and other providers as reasons for a federal probe. 

“These patterns demand further attention so that policymakers can protect patients and better understand the consequences to the health care delivery system,” Pascrell wrote.  “Further, reports about bankruptcies or closures following PE buyouts are concerning because of their far-reaching impact on patients, families, health care workers, and communities.” 

Private-equity investment in nursing homes has been on the hot seat in recent months. In late March, witnesses called for more transparency and federal oversight of the issue during a House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee hearing on private-equity ownership.

Pascrell specifically called on the GAO to address and determine the number of healthcare facilities or providers that have filed for bankruptcy or closed following investments from PE-firms within the last 10 to 15 years, geographic trends associated with facility bankruptcies or closures and the association between PE investment and facilities in underserved communities. 

“These trends merit further investigation on a more holistic basis, as the closure or bankruptcy of health care facilities threatens the health of communities, raising significant concerns about access to care,” he urged.