Care Medical hosts annual ‘Care Fair’

Friday, October 31, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore.--As the old adage goes, sharing is caring. For one Northwest provider, caring means sharing the latest advancements in home medical equipment with a range of healthcare professionals, from therapists to insurers.

“We found we’d get a lot more knowledge by having a Care Fair than by having a senior fair,” said Tom Coogan, director of industry affairs and managed care for Care Medical and Rehabilitation. “It separates us from other equipment suppliers in regard to trying to educate those people that are more directly involved in authorizing or approving DME services.”

Care Medical will host its fourth annual Care Fair Nov. 18 and Nov. 20 in Portland and Seattle.

Each year, the provider, which has 10 locations in those states, offers its version of a trade show complete with exhibits and educational programs. Manufacturers pay a fee to exhibit at the fair, allowing Care Medical to offer free admission to healthcare professionals.

This year’s fair, for the first time, will feature a guest speaker: Bryan Anderson, a spokesman for Pride Mobility Products. Anderson served two tours in the Iraq War and lost both of his legs and his left arm in an explosion.

The Care Fair is the brainchild of Vancouver, Wash., branch manager Beverly Stenlund, who was looking for a way to increase Care Medical’s market visibility and encourage referral sources to learn about its services.

At press time in October, 44 manufacturers and 145 guests had registered for the event. Since the fair’s inception, Care Medical has expanded the guest list, she said.

“We’ve gone to all the state associations for case managers, PTs, OTs and all the licensing agencies and asked to be added to their Web sites,” she said.

This year, Care Medical also invited PT and OT students from area colleges and state lawmakers.

Getting legislators in front of the equipment is key, Stenlund said.

“It’s good if they come in and see the equipment and talk to manufacturers and rehab people about why you might need a $15,000 power chair vs. a $550 manual chair,” she said.