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Industry reengages, reenergizes at Medtrade West

Industry reengages, reenergizes at Medtrade West

Medtrade WestPHOENIX – The success of Medtrade West, the first major in-person event in more than a year, is a good sign that the industry is ready to move on, say show organizers and attendees. 

“Somebody had to be the first in the industry and planning this was like nothing I could have ever imagined,” said Show Director York Schwab of his first time at the helm of the show. “But I think the energy in the hall is very positive and the feedback from speakers is that engagement during sessions is off the charts.” 

The inaugural Phoenix event, which took place July 12-14 at the Phoenix Convention Center, featured nearly 90 exhibitors and about three dozen educational sessions. 

In addition to the new locale, show organizers switched up the show schedule, concentrating education on the first two days and dedicating the final day to the exhibit hall, a change Schwab said attendees appreciated. 

“Everyone could do everything – they didn’t have to choose one or the other,” he said. “We’ll keep evolving the show until we get lightning in a bottle.” 

The providers that came to the show came looking to learn and to buy. 

“We want to grow; we’re tired of being stale,” said Ashley Tinsley of Ozark Home Medical Equipment in Poplar Bluff, Okla. “We need to be upgrading our technology and adding different product lines.” 

Providers also came to support the show itself. 

“I appreciate what Medtrade has been over the years,” said Joshua Thompson of Ascent Respiratory Care in Greenwood Village, Colo. “I try to go to sessions to support the speakers and support the vendors. Every show we see something new that makes it worthwhile.” 

While attendees are largely ready to put COVID-19 behind them, it was clear at the show that the pandemic will continue to reshape the industry. Exhibitors offering telehealth products and services found themselves consistently busy. 

“We’re well-positioned with tele-respiratory care to be at a conference like this one after a pandemic,” said Justin Hawley of rtNow. “It’s been a fantastic show and we’ve met a lot of new people.” 

Exhibitors offering new products also got the most out of Medtrade West. 

“It’s our first opportunity take the temperature for our BiliTouch Phototherapy Blanket,” said Brandon Fonville of Motif Medical, which earned the Providers’ Choice Gold Award for the blanket. “We’re excited to bring this to providers.” 

While the mood on the show floor was decidedly upbeat, attendees did take advantage of sessions addressing the industry’s ongoing concerns, including the Philips recall, the competitive bidding program and the growing presence of managed care organizations, which are here to stay, say stakeholders. 

“We have to learn how to operate as an industry with MCOs,” said Laura Williard, AAHomecare’s vice president of payer relations during the association’s update on Wednesday morning. “My two biggest concerns: Centene with their state specific plans, and UnitedHealth is a close second, with their narrowing networks across the county, and payment and authorization challenges.”


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