Community Health Systems has completed its spinoff of 38 hospitals into a separate, independent company, Quorum Health Corp. Quorum begins trading to the general public on Monday under the symbol QHC.
CHS said it will use the $1.2 billion it gained in net proceeds to pay off some of its debt and for expenses incurred from the spinoff. Even after the divestiture, Franklin, Tenn.-based CHS remains one of the nation’s three largest hospital companies with 160 hospitals in 22 states. The hospitals taken over by Quorum are predominantly small and rural.Abbott Laboratories will buy St. Jude Medical for $19.3 billion. The cash-stock deal aims to strengthen the medical-device maker’s stake in cardiovascular care. Abbott expects the combined company to compete in nearly every area of the specialty. It noted that the acquisition will blend St. Jude’s heart-failure devices and cardiac rhythm-management business with Abbott’s coronary intervention and transcatheter mitral-repair products. Abbott said St. Jude shareholders will receive $46.75 in cash and a portion of Abbott stock for each St. Jude share. The deal’s value totals $25 billion based on Abbott’s recent stock price and assuming about $5.7 billion in St. Jude debt. Abbott said the boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter if approved by regulators and St. Jude shareholders.Senate Finance Committee members from both parties told the CMS not to go forward with a Medicare Part B initiative that would change how hospitals and doctors are reimbursed for outpatient drugs. The five-year pilot program from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation would, starting this year, decrease the percentage of a drug’s average sales price paid to providers from 6% to 2.5% while adding a flat payment of $16.80 per drug a day. The program would later include other options for value-based drug payments. Senate Republicans said the rule would hurt patient care and that the CMS did not consult with outside experts. Democrats said the model is too complex to implement without more research and added provisions to protect consumers.