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Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Private equity giant KKR has floated a private buyout of Quorum Health, a 24-hospital system that operates in rural and small suburban communities, for about $30 million, or $1 per share. Quorum executives said they would "carefully consider" any deal.

Where it stands: Private equity has increasingly bought up hospital chains, doctors' groups, and ground and air ambulance companies due in large part to those firms' inherent market power. KKR, for example, just took physician staffing firm Envision Healthcare private for $10 billion last year.

Private equity has shown particular interest in publicly traded hospital systems — most recently with major deals for LifePoint Health and Iasis Healthcare.

By the numbers: Quorum, a group of hospitals that Community Health Systems spun out in 2016, has lost $446 million since 2017.

  • The company has struggled with high interest expenses from its debt, as well as a drop in hospitalizations and surgeries.

Yes, but: Quorum still generates $1.6 billion of revenue every year by owning hospitals that have monopoly or near-monopoly power in their markets.

  • That concept is attractive to any investment group willing to take on risk. But that raises questions about costs and quality for patients, and what the future holds if private equity decides to abandon a hospital.
  • Quorum executives also hinted during its latest earnings call that its hospitals will be more aggressive in collecting payments from health insurers and patients starting next year.

Go deeper

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
4 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.