Jeff Baird: Weathering a 'perfect storm'
Jeff Baird, chairman of the Health Care Group of Amarillo, Texas-based Brown & Fortunato and a member of the Medtrade Education Advisory Board, recently offered some of his thoughts about this year's seminar lineup.
HME News: Would you say this year's educational lineup at Medtrade Spring is the most important in the show's history?
Jeff Baird: That may be a bit melodramatic, but the Education Advisory Board (EAB) recognizes that the industry needs quality education in order to survive and succeed in the current environment. The HME industry has been hit with a 'perfect storm' of post-payment audits, prepayment reviews, competitive bidding, increased documentation requirements, new and modified supplier standards and reimbursement cuts. Providers need the tools necessary to help them weather this perfect storm. The EAB takes seriously its responsibility to provide these tools to the industry.
HME: Medtrade Spring is essentially the first conference being held after competitive bidding has kicked in. How has the competitive bidding situation influenced the show's educational offerings?
Baird: The EAB created a new Competitive Bidding track for Medtrade Fall 2010. This track will continue into the future. The EAB is proactive in selecting education programs. For example, under the CB track, the EAB formulated a list of topics that need to be covered.
HME: How will this new reality be reflected in the educational program? Is the educational committee's approach now about helping providers move forward, conceding that competitive bidding is here to stay?
Baird: Obviously, the EAB hopes that competitive bidding will be eliminated and the individual board members are working toward that goal. However, unless or until that happens, "competitive bidding is here to stay" and we, as an industry, must deal with it. The goal of the EAB is for programs to be presented that will give HME providers the tools to survive and, hopefully, succeed under competitive bidding.