Attendees report ‘good signs’ at show

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

ATLANTA – The HME industry is changing, but there are opportunities out there if you know where to look, say attendees and exhibitors at this year’s Medtrade.

The show drew 80 new exhibitors—about 70 of which were brand new and another 10 making a return after a long absence, says Mark Lind, associate group show director, healthcare.

“That’s a good sign,” he said. “Folks are seeing that the HME industry is alive and vibrant.”

While final numbers weren’t available at press time, but Lind said they were trending similar to last year and onsite registrations were up.

Alongside traditional DME like lift chairs and oxygen were new retail opportunities, including CBD products.

“There’s so much press on CBD—it’s an easy category to be in,” says provider Marcus Suess of Whitley HME in Hendersonville, N.C, who entered the CBD market early on. “HME providers should absolutely consider it.”

Still, for all the talk about retail, old habits still die hard for some, says Sandy Smith of Vionics Group.

“The first question people ask is if it’s reimbursable and the answer is no,” she said of the company’s therapeutic shoes. “We’ve transitioned mostly to retail and we’re here to pinpoint what people want.”

Overall, exhibitors were pleased with the quality of the attendees.

“It’s not how many people you talk to, it’s who you talk to and their level of interest,” said Brad Ritt of GCE Healthcare. “The companies here are looking for solutions and we feel like we have the solutions.”

First-time exhibitor Hive was at the show looking to jump its business to the next level, said Kent Courtheyn. The company was formed from the merger of several smaller companies to bring bracing products, distribution and software/billing under one roof.

“We’ve had tons of interest,” he said. “If we left the show right now, it’s paid for itself four or five times over.”