It has been a busy month. September will mark the ninth month of U.S. COVID-19 with the country now surpassing 5 million cases and more than 175,000 deaths. Daily life and our medical practices will never be the same. Many have lost friends, family, businesses, and hope. Instead of acting as a nation to pull through this together, we seem to be entering a continual state of Thoreau solitude combined with Garrett Hardin’s tragedy of the commons.
In the last 2 months GI & Hepatology News published a two-part opinion piece about the acquisition of physicians’ GI practices by private equity (PE) companies. I received a strongly worded (but justified) email criticizing the newspaper for being one sided and not declaring a conflict of interest on the part of the author. For both issues, I take sole responsibility. While it is important for us to understand how PE is affecting GI practices, the author did have a personal stake in the success of this financial model. It is important to note that details of a PE acquisition can vary greatly depending on the PE company involved and PE companies looking to acquire practices now can be counted in the hundreds. The pros and cons of PE acquisitions were argued prior to COVID-19, but since the first quarter of 2020, the model is even more confusing. We will find out over the next several years whether this ever-proliferating model of practice financing will be successful or disastrous.
In November, GI & Hepatology News will publish a special supplement called Gastroenterology Data Trends. This publication will include brief, but robust snapshots of major trends in topics ranging from NAFLD, IBD, and GI cancers to the impact of COVID-19 on GI practices. We have collected a stellar group of authors to help us.
This month, the school year begins in ways that are still being sorted out. The “Big House” will not host its usual 110,000 fans packed like sardines watching Michigan football. I hope all of our readers skipped Sturgis this year. Stay safe, stay apart, and mask up.
John I. Allen, MD, MBA, AGAF
Editor in Chief