Education: M&A, sleep tracks debut at Medtrade '05

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

ATLANTA -- With national competitive bidding on the horizon, providers are scoping out new acquisition opportunities and Medtrade educational conference organizers say that's a key reason why a mergers and acquisitions track was added to this year's course roster.
The mushrooming growth of the sleep market and acute provider interest is reportedly behind the addition of a sleep disordered breathing track as well.
While Medtrade seminars have always been a huge draw, the sessions take on even greater significance in 2005 with national competitive bidding and new accreditation requirements due from CMS this fall. This year's education program, set for Oct. 17-20 at the Georgia World Congress Center, gives attendees the usual full complement of 170 courses while adding fresh new topics and formats to the mix, say conference planners.
The M&A and sleep disordered breathing tracks join a line-up that also includes oxygen/respiratory issues, accreditation, business operations/customer service, home health /clinical issues, information technology, legal and legislative issues, pharmacy, professional motivation, rehabilitation and assistive technology, reimbursement, and sales and marketing.
"The Medtrade education planning committee worked hard at selecting speakers who are leaders in their fields and topics that are most timely," said committee member Jeff Baird, healthcare attorney with the Amarillo, Texas-based law firm of Brown & Fortunato. "The most important asset an HME provider can have is knowledge. It helps them avoid legal pitfalls, prepare for competitive bidding and mandatory accreditation and branch out in innovative ways in the marketplace."
The specter of competitive bidding makes the mergers track especially timely for this year's show, said Kim Brummett, vice president of contracting and reimbursement for Greensboro, NC-based Advanced Homecare.
"Consolidation will be a natural result of competitive bidding, so a lot of regional players are looking at which companies they may want to buy or sell to," she said.
Likewise, "there's so much going on with CPAPs" that the sleep disordered breathing track should attract a lot of interest as well, she said.
In order to foster more interaction between attendees, seminars like "Winning Strategies for Benchmarking HME" are using a roundtable format that classifies participants by core business and gross sales, said session host Jack Evans. The program, also hosted by Bruce Brothis and Wallace Weeks, will have 25 tables with different categories, such as rehab, respiratory, pharmacy and retail; with gross sales designations of $1.5 million and under, $1.5 million to $3 million and $3 million and over.
"Medtrade has grown so big that we've lost our networking opportunities," Evans said. "At this session, participants can sit with others they have a lot in common with and develop their own best practices." HME