Private Equity Investment in Nursing Homes: Increasing Profits at the Cost of Human Life

When private equity buys nursing homes, death rates go up by 10 percent. Yasmin Rafiei halted her studies at Stanford School of Medicine to investigate.
Elderly Couple Sitting on a Bench

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on the condition of nursing homes and the negligence of caretakers, due to their assistance in the spread of the disease. Yasmin Rafiei, as part of the Stanford MedScholars Program, halted her medical school studies to examine private equity's role in contributing to a low quality of care. The culmination of her 18-month investigation focuses in on St. Joseph's Home for the Aged in Richmond, Virginia, which was acquired by a private equity firm after being put up for sale in October 2019.

Rafiei was mentored in her investigation by Michelle Mello, professor at Stanford Health Policy. The Medscholars Research Program at Stanford School of Medicine provides fellowships to allow medical students to carry out research in an academic setting. This takes place under the direction of faculty members in the medical school, hospital and clinics, and throughout the university. SHP faculty often contribute to this program by serving as advisors. Yasmin Rafiei's investigation appears for the first time in The New Yorker.