Physicians have a duty to put their patients’ interests first. But when aggressive financiers take over medical operations, the push for profits can take precedence, doctors in an array of specialties have told NBC News. Paying bonuses for increased patient visits may result in unnecessary appointments and costs, for example.

Among the most aggressive health care financiers in the market today are private equity firms. The new titans of finance, these firms have taken over broad swaths of U.S. industry in recent years. Using large amounts of debt to finance their acquisitions, private equity firms acquire companies, aim to increase their profits and then try to resell them a few years later for more than they paid.

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