Medtrade’s annual fall show concluded in Atlanta (October 31 – November 3) with new products galore on display and over 90 educational sessions. Attendance was approximately 3,000, according to several estimates among attendees.
Talk on the show floor often centered on the upcoming election, the impact of competitive bidding and the need to add retail products to the store selling mix. A special Power Soccer exhibition showcased how athletes with disabilities can participate in very high level competition. A “Power lunch” attracted DME’s from all over the country to discuss home healthcare business topics. Representative Tom Price (R-GA) delivered a message of hope and optimism, telling attendees there was a significant possibility “we can get a year’s delay on bid expansion, starting January 1, 2017.”
Theresa Watkins, a merchandise buyer for Johnson Smith Co., Bradenton, FL, told Home HealthCare TODAY that she made very good contacts at the show but she could not help but notice it was getting smaller and smaller every year. She cited the impact of competitive bidding and consolidation within the industry as probable contributing factors.
The top three vote-getters in the biannual Innovative HME Retail Product Awards, sponsored by HomeCare Magazine, were:
The eight finalists (in alphabetical order) for the Innovative HME Retail Product Awards were:
The New Product Pavilion Providers’ Choice Awards (sponsored by HomeCare Magazine)
Strong DME buying interest was reported by many exhibitors. Jon Schultz, sales director for OxyGo®, reported keen interest in the company’s new lightweight POC, the OxyGo FIT™, an extremely lightweight unit that weighs only 2.8 pounds. Large crowds evident at the Motivio booth were especially interested in the new stylish walker/rollator introduced by the Wisconsin-based company.
A political highlight of the show was the address of representative Tom Price. He has long been among home healthcare’s strongest advocates in Congress. Touching on several areas of importance to Medtrade visitors, Price drew applause when he talked about competitive bidding: Said Price: “It just doesn’t make any sense at all. We continue to battle. We continue to fight. As was mentioned, 39% of DME suppliers have gone out of business since this craziness started. That’s not because they chose to retire… it’s because the federal government got engaged in the process and said, ‘We’ll pick the winners and losers’ and it’s just so sad.”
The loudest applause came when Price talked about audits and the long appeal process.
“Three to five years they say is the average [at the ALJ level]. If your appeal process lasts that long, then it is not a fair process… This is ridiculous. I believe we need a timeline. If the federal government can’t get their act together and move through the process, then it is decided in your favor after a finite period of time. For me, that would be six months.”
The next Medtrade show will be held in late February, 2017, in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay.