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When numbers speak volumes

When numbers speak volumes

We recently loaded the HME Databank ( with 2021 data, something I’ve been keen to look at to see the impact of current dynamics in the industry, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a major CPAP recall.

Let’s start with the pandemic.

While we were putting together this issue, Invacare released its second quarter financial results and company officials said they expected to see reduced COVID-related demand for respiratory products in the next several quarters, as the virus reportedly becomes less dangerous due to vaccines and treatment.

But in 2021, the respiratory impact of COVID was very much a thing, and the data bears that out, but not as much as I thought it would.

Medicare spent roughly $520.2 million on oxygen concentrators in 2021 compared to $495.5 million in 2020, only about a 5% increase. It spent roughly $467.9 million in 2019 before the pandemic, however, for an 11% increase from 2019-21.

For non-invasive ventilators, I expected utilization to be down in 2021 compared to 2020, as the focus of treatment shifted away from vents.

Medicare spent about $452.8 million on non-invasive vents in 2021 compared to $466.7 million in 2020, about a 3% decrease. It spent roughly $419.2 million in 2019 pre-pandemic, however, for an 8% increase from 2019-21.

Now let’s look at the CPAP recall.

The recall, along with supply chain challenges that have reduced availability for semi-conductor chips, has seriously comprised the ability of providers to set-up new patients on CPAP therapy.
Medicare spent about $124.5 million on CPAP devices in 2021 compared to $141.9 million in 2020, a 12% decrease. It spent roughly $134.9 million in 2019. So, utilization for CPAP devices jumped 5% from 2019 to 2020, but then dropped 12% from 2020 to 2021. 

The fewer set-ups in the wake of the recall and supply chain challenges have had an impact on mask resupply, too. Medicare spending on full-face CPAP masks, for example, went from $132.7 million in 2019 to $159.8 million in 2020 – a whopping 20% increase – but then down to $154.9 million in 2021.

We have, of course, been following these issues with our news coverage and have spilled much ink on the pandemic, the recall, the supply chain challenges and more.

But the numbers, in black and white, also speak volumes.


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