CELA 2011 preview

Thursday, July 22, 2010

NRRTS has already put the wheels in motion for next year's Continuing Education and Legislative Advocacy Conference (CELA): It has a new co-sponsor and a date. Here's what Executive Director Simon Margolis had to say about what industry professionals and consumers can expect from the fourth annual event. Here's a hint: It won't be more of the same.

HME News: Who will help NRRTS sponsor CELA next year?

Simon Margolis: In the past, CELA has been presented by NRRTS in association with NCART and a bunch of other people, but now it will be presented by NRRTS and NCART. NCART is taking a full partnership role in the process, and I think that's a really good thing.

hme: When and where will the event take place?

Margolis: Feb. 16-18. We're still looking for a venue, but it's going to be closer to D.C. We don't want to have to rely on buses to get people in and out of the city, so we're trying to get into a place where the industry professionals can get to the Hill by metro or cab, and then we'll bus in the consumer advocates.

hme: February is the earliest NRRTS has ever scheduled CELA.

Margolis: February is the time that all the pundits told us we have to be on the Hill. It's when we'll have legislative language (for creating a separate benefit for complex rehab) and when we'll have a new Congress. It's not perfect, because there'll be other things happening (the International Seating Symposium is scheduled for March 3-5 and AAHomecare's Washington Legislative Conference for March 16-17), but we're trying to get the word out early enough so people can plan accordingly.

hme: What can industry professionals expect from the event?

Margolis: We absolutely need to  make the educational program more inclusive. We're thinking we may have some breakout sessions where we have some clinical stuff going on and some business stuff going on. The third day of the conference can be anti-climactic, because you have the build up on the first day and the Hill on the second day, and then there's this educational program. So we really have to kick it up a notch.

hme: CELA drew a record crowd this year. Is there pressure to beat those attendance figures next year?

Margolis: We're finding that having huge numbers is not necessarily the goal of a conference like ours, because if we had 500 people, that means there'd be 30 people in a delegation going to see a congressman or a senator. That's not going to work. So we think turnout isn't as important as getting consumers who represent the districts and the states who have folks on committees with jurisdiction over Medicare and making sure we have knowledgeable and articulate industry professionals who can really tell the story.