Private equity investors are backing all of the major chains offering the country’s most popular form of autism therapy, known as applied behavior analysis, or ABA. Now, however, there are signs that those investors may be cooling on the industry.
As part of its investigation into the ways that private equity’s profit fixation is short-changing kids with autism who rely on ABA therapy, STAT compiled a list of some of the biggest autism therapy chains in the country — and their backers. The reporting reveals that north of 60 private equity firms, including some of the biggest names like Blackstone and KKR, have collectively poured billions into the sector over the past decade, with investments reaching a fever pitch in the latter half of the 2010s. That investment has transformed ABA from a collection of small, mom-and-pop clinics to a multibillion-dollar industry in which care is increasingly provided by national chains.
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