HMEs predict Olympics won't boost biz too much

Monday, December 31, 2001

SALT LAKE CITY - When it comes to adding business during the Winter Olympics here next month, don't look for home medical equipment providers to break any world records.

"It'll be fun, but I don't think there will be disruption for the HME community or opportunity," said Joe Sansone, president of Pediatric Services of America, in Norcross, Ga.

Located just a pole vault or so outside Atlanta, Sansone experienced the 1996 summer Olympics first hand. So did Hayward Woodward, owner of the Medicine Shoppe in nearby Conyers.

"The whole Olympic things did not happen the way they thought it would," Woodward said. "Everyone though they would become wealthy renting their houses out. But it was a lot of hype."

The Atlanta games went smoothly for HME providers, said Sansone and Woodward.

Gridlock didn't materialize, nor did a crush of additional business. Many Atlanta residents, anticipating a traffic nightmare, either abandoned town for the two-week event or elected not to drive. The result: some streets in Atlanta turned into ghost towns and HMEs breezed to their deliveries.

"My feeling is that some of the highways to certain mountains may be congested, but the city itself should be pretty quiet," Sansone said. "And there probably won't be a lot of business generated. The people who are coming are athletes and healthy, and people on oxygen or who need wheelchairs generally don't go to the Olympics." HME