- iRhythm Technologies appointed Quentin Blackford as its new CEO, the company's second CEO appointment since December after announcing long-time leader Kevin King was stepping down.
- Blackford is taking over after former CEO Michael Coyle left the company in June following a roughly four-month stint in the role, which was dominated by the Novitas Solutions pricing saga and a substantial drop in the company's stock price. Blackford, who is leaving the position of the chief operations officer for continuous glucose monitoring maker Dexcom, will officially take over the role Oct. 4. Interim CEO Doug Devine will remain in the position until that time.
- Investors seemed to back the CEO news as iRhythm's stock price was up over 34% when the market opened Monday.
While filling the role of CEO was a crucial step forward, iRhythm is still facing a lot of uncertainty.
Novitas, which sets regional Medicare rates as a Medicare Administrative Contractor, cut rates in January before re-upping them in April after discussions with iRhythm and other companies; however, the upped rates were still set about $200 below iRhythm's historical price.
The rough beginning to 2021 continued when Coyle left the company in June, which surprised analysts after Wall Street supported his appointment.
Furthermore, CMS did not propose a national rate for long-term cardiac monitoring in the Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule for calendar year 2022. The proposed rule was one option for iRhythm, and other companies in the cardiac monitoring space, to work around Novitas' significantly reduced Medicare rates.
iRhythm's stock price took a large hit during the Novitas pricing saga, plummeting from $251 on Jan. 28 to $48.12 when the market closed Friday.
iRhythm will continue to work with CMS on a national price for the finalized Physician Fee Schedule. However, the agency passed on finalizing a national price last December and is likely to do the same this year.
"We will be using the open comment period between now and mid-September to provide comments to CMS' proposed rule and are joining other industry stakeholders to continue support of potential national pricing for calendar year 2022," Dan Wilson, executive vice president of strategy and corporate development, told investors during iRhythm's August earnings call. "However, we believe the more likely outcome is that we will remain with carrier pricing in 2022 while continuing to pursue national pricing in the following year cycle for calendar year 2023."
Blackford and iRhythm are not completely out of options. Along with working with CMS, the company is working with Novitas about an alternative pricing method and meeting with other MACs. However, there are no guarantees that either CMS, Novitas or other MACs will change rates or increase prices meaningfully above the current level if they do.