News Release

Private Equity Firms Pocketing Money for Autism Services


In a report for the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), coauthors Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt show how private equity (PE) firms have dominated the provision of autism services in recent years. They found that between 2017 and 2022, PE completed 85 percent of all buyouts of autism service providers––the highest rate of buyouts in any industry. 

    Moore is a communications associate for CEPR. 

A press release from CEPR notes that “post-buyout, PE-owned autism service chains have lower levels of staffing, training, and supervision, all of which undermine both job quality and care quality.” 

Moore wrote: “Just days ago, Blackstone announced the bankruptcy of its national autism services chain, the Center for Autism and Related Disorders.” Appelbaum and Batt’s report explains how the bankruptcy occurred. 

“Autism services,” she added, “became a ‘hot market’ for private equity buyouts in recent years, when health insurance for autism became widespread due to a decade-long fight by parents and advocates for mandated coverage. Spotting an opportunity for profit, PE has been driving rapid consolidation of small providers into large national chains––and in most cases, loading providers with substantial debt that they previously did not have.”