Trending News Today: Medicare Commission Proposals Could Save Billions

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The merger of Envision Healthcare Holdings Inc and AmSurg Corp has been officially confirmed, reported The Wall Street Journal. The all-stock deal will combine the 2 companies, and provide a range of hospital-related services worth about $10 billion. There is a fixed exchange ratio of 0.334 AmSurg share per Envision share, and Envision shareholders will own approximately 53% of the merged company. The company will be renamed Envision Healthcare Corp with headquarters in both Tennessee and Colorado.

An analysis by Arcadia Healthcare Solutions revealed that it’s 7 times more expensive to die in a hospital than it is to die at home. According to NPR, patients were billed significantly more for medical interventions during the last few days of their lives than those who died in different settings. For the 42% of patients who died at home, the cost was about $4760 for their last month alive, while 40% of patients who died in the hospital had a cost of $32,370. Patients who died in a nursing home were found to be the most expensive, followed by inpatient hospice and an emergency room. “This intensity of services in the hospital shows a lot of suffering that is not probably in the end going to offer people more quality of life and may not offer them more quantity of life either,” said Richard Parker, chief medical officer at Arcadia. “In the end, everyone died. They all died. If we look at this retroactively, retrospectively — and we could go back and ask people — I bet most of them would say I'd rather be home with my family.”

In the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s June report to Congress, they recommended an interrelated set of proposals that could end up saving at least $10 billion over 5 years, reported Kaiser Health News. From 2007 to 2014, the commission said that the continuing rise in drug costs and other factors contributed to an increase of Medicare Part D spending by nearly 60%. Through encouraging the use of generic drugs and creating incentives for insurers to negotiate for lower prices from drug manufacturers, it could help save billions.