Industry-moving stuff


We’re swimming (maybe drowning is more appropriate?) in competitive bidding news over here at HME News.

Here’s a brief list of the competitive bidding-related stories that we’re working on for the April issue (If you’re a competing trade pub, please stop reading here):

1.    We already have a story based on the results of a recent HME NewsPoll that asked providers whether or not they plan to accept contract offers as part of Round 2. Sixty eight percent of the 149 respondents to our poll said they didn’t plan to accept offers. The funny thing: NAIMES is also conducting a survey and 94% of the providers who participated said they accepted the contracts they were offered. What’s gives?

2.    I’m canvassing some of the larger manufacturers in the industry to get an idea of the expected impact of Round 2 on them. I couldn’t help but notice that Invacare’s stock went from $17.10 the day before the announcement of the single payment amounts (Jan. 29) to $16.83 on Jan. 30 and $15.73 on Jan. 31. Right now, it’s $14.81. At ResMed, it went from $47.55 to $46.84 to $43.80. Right now, it’s $43.25. It’s no secret that utilization dropped in Round 1 and it will probably drop as a result of Round 2. What does that mean for sales in 2013?

3.    I also have a call into Inogen, which made waves by submitting bids and accepting contracts as part of Round 1. What about Round 2?

4.    Managing Editor Theresa Flaherty is examining the impact of the new single payment amounts (SPAs) on the M&A market for diabetes providers. Who’s shopping around their list of diabetes patients?

5.    Associate Editor Elizabeth Deprey is checking in with mobility providers, including The Scooter Store and Hoveround, to get reaction from them about the SPAs for standard power and manual wheelchairs. She’s also heard that, thanks to the new SPAs, the days of K0823 being the most popular wheelchair may be over. K0821, a portable version of the same chair, has a higher reimbursement.

If all this pans out, it should be a meaty April issue.

We’ve also received a handful of letters to the editor about competitive bidding that I’ll package together for the issue on the Edit Spread. Providers are upset and frustrated, to put it mildly.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the more interesting letters:

The idea that somehow our industry must "pay for" a solution suggests that we are somehow at fault for the current problem. Well, we are not. You don't see the American Medical Association (AMA) offering up "pay fors" to push off the “doc fix” every year, do you? They simply state the facts and say, “It's on you, Congress.” Congress acknowledges this and every year they push off the “doc fix” until the next year. 

If I were to offer our industry a bold plan of action going forward, it would be this: Stop pushing MPP and start saying, "We can no longer be held responsible. We tried and nobody listened. Now face the music."

We shouldn't look at Round 2 as the end of the world. Conversely, we should look at it as a new beginning. A beginning that clears us of this train wreck and places us back in control of our collective businesses. We offer a lot more than we take from society and now society will find out how valuable this truly is. 

All of this is industry-moving (note I didn’t say shattering, because it won’t be for everyone) stuff.

Stay tuned.