Group reaches 100-member milestone
In the face of industry skepticism, Wayne Stanfield launched the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES) in June 2007. In September, the association reached-and then quickly surpassed-the 100-member mark. Stanfield spoke to HME News recently about the journey so far.
HME News: How have you liked running an association?
Wayne Stanfield: It’s been challenging but it’s been a fun process. I’m a person that if I do something, I believe in it. I have been in this industry for 21 years and when we got together to form NAIMES, we were all tired of losing fights. The consensus was that the only way to win was to do it through another pathway. But we had no blue-sky expectations.
HME: What does NAIMES offer members that sets it apart from other industry organizations?
Stanfield: We are focused on the grassroots relationships at home. We believe politics are local and we have to change policy one member of Congress at a time. If a DME provider in a district develops a relationship with his congressman, it’s difficult for that congressman to go to Washington and hear how bad we are without thinking about the provider he can put a face to.
HME: What has been the biggest challenge in getting NAIMES off the ground?
Stanfield: Overcoming skepticism. Overcoming the idea that there’s a new association and what can you do differently that other people have not been able to do.
HME: Do you have good relationships with other associations?
Stanfield: We believe state association membership is vital. They provide education and keep members in touch with local issues. One of our goals has been to promote state association membership. To join NAIMES, it’s $250 if the applicant belongs to their state organization. It costs $350 if they don’t.
HME: What do you consider NAIMES’s biggest success to date?
Stanfield: We can’t claim solely one big success. We think we’ve played a role in NCB changes. Our biggest success was our online petition to stop NCB. It had more than 5,500 signatures and was shared with most members of Congress. We don’t expect to step out and change the world but, rather, be a part of change going forward.