Surprises, and not-so surprises


This week has been full of surprises, and not-so surprises.

In the surprising category, am I the only one who didn’t know that CMS had set up an online portal to communicate about contract offers for the Round 2 and national mail-order re-compete? It was just the other week that a provider and I were joking about him annoying his staff by asking them every day what was in the mail. There will be no mail; just online notification! Hello, Connexion.

Speaking of contract offers, also in the surprising category is the fact that CMS hasn’t announced the single payment amounts yet. (Though, since I’m writing this on a Friday, by the time you read this, this could be no longer be the case.) For the first Round 2 in 2013, CMS announced the payment amounts Jan. 30, and it’s already Feb. 19. Many of us thought CMS would announce the amounts Feb. 12, the Friday before a long weekend, but no. As far as we know, the agency still plans to announce the amounts “winter 2016” and announce contract suppliers “spring 2016.” One provider wrote me last week:

I was with you thinking CMS would release the SPAs last Friday. This is getting ridiculous. How are we to properly analyze the numbers, when the turnaround to contract acceptance has been shortened so much?! #throwinginthetowel

(In another nod that technology is invading every part of my life: the hashtag.)

The last item in the surprising category: Invacare’s decision to offer $130 million in senior notes. There’s a significant amount of buzz about what might be behind this move: Is the company lining itself up to make a significant investment (in a product, in an acquisition?); is it buying shares from Mal Mixon and the late J.B. Richey, so they don’t have to deal with the open market; or does it just need the cash? Also, did you happen to see the trading volume for Invacare this week?

In the not-so surprising category, VGM has named Mike Mallaro as its new CEO, succeeding the late Van Miller. All of us at HME News have the greatest regard for Mr. Mallaro and have no doubt he’s one of the smartest guys in a room of smart guys over there.

Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to register for and log on to Connexion.