Medtrade 2016: Industry gets down to business

Bid program permeated annual trade show, but attendees are determined
Friday, November 4, 2016

ATLANTA – With its core base of attendees small businesses, there was no way this year’s application of competitive bidding pricing to rural areas wasn’t going to have an impact on Medtrade.

But Show Director Kevin Gaffney said, while attendance was “lagging,” there were signs that those who did make the annual pilgrimage to Atlanta were committed to figuring out how to make the HME industry work.

“It seems like the rural roll-out has been more painful than other rounds of competitive bidding,” Gaffney said. “When it’s all said and done, there may be fewer providers, but I think there will be stronger providers and new providers with different business models.”

Provider Bob Elwood said he was at the show looking for partners who can help him grow his retail business, which makes up 30% to 40% of his total business.

“We’re looking for anything, everything, but mostly retail-related,” said Elwood, owner of Med City Mobility in Rochester, Minn. “We keep moving in that direction.”

Battle ahead

Lawmakers return Nov. 14 for a brief lame-duck session, and stakeholders say they have heard loud and clear that the HME industry needs relief, ideally in the form of a retroactive delay of a second round of Medicare reimbursement cuts that went into effect July 1.

“The HME market is disrupted like never before and the Hill is hearing it,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare during its Washington Legislative Update. “There’s the will and the interest to get something done, and the grassroots is so loud and that’s because of you in the room.”

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., reiterated the importance of communicating with lawmakers in remarks to attendees during a special appearance, noting that there is a lot at stake.

“Thirty-eight percent of DME suppliers have gone out of business since this craziness started,” he said. “Not because they chose to retire, but because the government has gotten engaged in the process. They’re picking the winners and losers. It’s so sad.”

A long-time supporter of the HME industry, Price also received an award from AAHomecare at the gathering.

The year of the woman

Two women took home prestigious awards at Medtrade this year.

Dr. Kirsten Davin, owner and president of Precision Seating Solutions, was awarded the inaugural HME Woman of the Year Award from the VGM Group at AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Update.

Melissa Cross, vice president of the homecare division for O.E. Meyer in Sandusky, Ohio, was awarded the newly named Van Miller Homecare Champion Award from AAHomecare at the association’s Stand Up for Homecare reception.

Innovative products

Manufacturers also earned awards at the show in the biannual Innovative HME Retail Product Awards. Topricin BioMedical took first place with its MyPainAway Fibro Cream, an odorless, greaseless cream that seeks to relieve Fibromyalgia pain.

SoClean 2 CPAP Sanitizer by SoClean took second place and The Motivo Tour walker from Motivo placed third.

Best in show

For the Providers’ Choice Awards, the StandUp Walker from URise Products took the gold; the Handy Cane from the MOST Corporation took silver; and the Avid Rehab Vector Power Chair from Merits Health Products took bronze.

And finally two exhibitors received special recognition for their booths. The Creative Concept Booth Award went to Stander for its red carpet theme and the Best Booth Award went to ResMed for its dramatic lighting, creative spacing and large-form lifestyle murals/digital displays.