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2019 should make for an interesting 2020

2019 should make for an interesting 2020

As I was pulling the most read stories for this year, I was struck by the number of stories with unfinished business.

The No. 1 most read story was the news that Drive DeVilbiss was struggling under $600 million in debt, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Also cracking the top 15 (see below) was a subsequent story about providers going on alert about possible changes at Drive DeVilbiss due to its debt, and a story about the company securing $35 million in new capital, as well as a reduction in cash debt service obligations. Not making the top 15, but still well read, was the news just last month that Drive DeVilbiss CEO Bob Gilligan had stepped down and Robert Size had been named the company's new leader. With the infusion in capital, along with better rates, not to mention a new CEO, there's a lot that may happen yet at Drive DeVilbiss in 2020.

Other manufacturers also dominated the most read stories of 2019, including Inogen entering the ventilator market with its acquisition of New Aera, a story that will have more color and context in 2020.

(A manufacturer that was surprisingly missing from the most read stories of 2019: Invacare. The company made the list last year for, along with Philips, going direct to cash-paying consumers for its portable oxygen concentrator. With its looming goal of $85 million to $105 million adjusted EBITDA run-rate by the end of next year, however, I wouldn't be surprised if the company returns to the most read list in 2020, as it makes moves to hit its target.)

Stories about AdaptHealth's merger and subsequent IPO also made the list of most read stories in 2019—another story, like Inogen's, that will have more color and context in 2020. The company is actively consolidating the market, acquiring six companies since July, and expanding its product portfolio, acquiring McKesson's supply business just last month. All eyes are on AdaptHealth, the first new public HME company in years—not just within the industry but also among investors (I got a call from one of them just this week).

But perhaps the biggest piece of unfinished business in 2019 is competitive bidding. Stories about vents and braces being added to Round 2021 and the industry's increased education efforts, including a bid calculator, made the list of most read stories this year. I expect CMS's plans to announce new payment amounts in the summer to be one of the most read stories, if not the No. 1 story, of 2020.

1.)   Drive struggles 600M debt
2.)   Providers cite frustration CareCentrix
3.)   Providers watch changes at Drive DeVilbiss
4.)   ResMed nears settlement of years-long investigation
5.)   Drive DeVilbiss secures additional runway
7.)   Inogen targets non-invasive vents
8.)   Bioscrip OptionCare to merge
9.)   AdaptHealth announces high profile merger
10.) Round 2021 new calculator highlights bid ceiling, comparisons
11.) Vents braces in for Round 2021
12.) Lincare has bought Southwest provider
13.) CPAP supplies OIG adding another layer of scrutiny
14.) Inogen hits bumps
15.) AdaptHealth becomes public company


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