Attendees want the real deal, not empty sales pitches

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

ATLANTA - Memo to vendors at Medtrade 2005: HME providers walking the aisles of the trade show floor are looking for innovation, quality and value from you this year. What they don't want are empty sales pitches and the same old thing.
Consider yourselves alerted.
Prompted by a pending redesign to the Medicare landscape, providers are turning to vendors for economical support and those planning to attend Medtrade aren't mincing words about it.
"I want something other than propaganda," said Brad Schmidt, chief operating officer for Shreveport, La.-based Red Ball Medical Supply. "I want to see meat."
That said, exhibitors have indeed delivered some intriguing new technologies at recent shows, Schmidt noted, especially on the respiratory front.
"It has been exciting to see the maturation of new oxygen technologies," he said. "The market has produced some interesting products. Now the goal should be to produce modalities that offer a complete solution, one that is both economical and provides high quality patient care."
David Morrow, president of Northaven, Conn.-based People's Home Health Care, commends manufacturers for showing more empathy with providers' Medicare challenges and said he plans to test their resolve during his booth visits. For the record, Morrow estimated he spends about $300,000 at the show each year.
"Vendors have been more in touch with reimbursement issues and are making an effort to find more dollars for providers," he said. "I'll be looking for show specials and those who are serious will definitely get my attention."
Planning for Medtrade is typically a thoughtful, measured process for Jill Spellman, president of Waukesha, Wisc.-based Oxygen One, and advance notices from exhibitors play a key role in determining her schedule, she said.
"I sit down and make a folder of the things I get from vendors beforehand and make a wish list," she said. "That helps us prioritize our booth visits."
As a respiratory provider looking to maximize revenues in a stringent market, Oxygen One is expanding its focus into related fields like sleep and Spellman said she'll be on the lookout for compelling new technologies on that front.
"If I see a new product that shows the right potential, I'll give them a [purchase order] right on the spot," she said.