Circling the wagons

Sunday, September 26, 2010

ATLANTA - After two years of diminishing attendance, Medtrade organizers feel confident that the 2010 show will mark the return of several absentee exhibitors. Booth space at the show is reportedly 97% sold and, as of early August, only 4,700 square feet of space was available.

Financial pressures on the HME industry may be the reason for a renewed commitment to Medtrade this year, exhibitors say. In order to handle the sweeping scope of change being brought about by competitive bidding and other reimbursement cuts, the industry needs to come together in a show of solidarity, says David Cormack, president and CEO of Lawrenceville, Ga.-based Brightree.

"I believe that the industry is sensing a need to band together in light of regulatory and market pressures, and Medtrade is one of the few national venues to facilitate that," he said. "These pressures, I believe, are driving more and more providers to look at [ways] to help them maximize efficiency and profitability. Given that, we expect record crowds to our booth, so we have increased the size by 25% over Medtrade 2009."

Medtrade also serves as a support group of sorts for those seeking empathy with their fears and frustrations, says Dan Bunting, president and CEO of Adel, Iowa-based evo Medical Solutions.

"This year, with all of the industry fears, people will turn up just for the camaraderie," he said. "You have to feel bad for the people in the industry, but Medtrade is a place where people can be with others who are suffering and persevering."

San Diego-based ResMed is one exhibitor that has always believed in the power of Medtrade as the HME industry's top trade show and says this year may be the most important show yet.

"Clearly we need to stick together as a homecare industry with all the pressure on reimbursement and the arbitrary approaches of competitive bidding," said Mick Farrell, senior vice president of ResMed's Global Sleep Strategic Business Unit. "The importance of showing the return on investment of home care in saving money for insurance companies and Medicare should be our key, unifying goal."