Medtrade strives to help providers with new normal

Friday, September 23, 2016

Since taking over the helm of Medtrade eight years ago, Show Director Kevin Gaffney has become a serious student of the HME industry’s challenges while also assuming the role of professor in creating an educational syllabus that benefits the provider community. With the help of the Educational Advisory Board, he has put together a series of programs during his tenure that he hopes has given seminar attendees some valid ideas on how to improve their businesses.

“At my first planning meeting after taking over, the competitive bidding program was discussed at length,” he said. “This event amounted to a huge turning point for the industry, and thus the show, which is of course a reflection of the industry itself. While the Medtrade conference and education portion had always been an important element, it took on a new sense of urgency.”

To plant the seeds of innovation and creativity, Medtrade has focused on steering providers into non-traditional market segments, especially those that are not dependent on Medicare or insurance. Gaffney also pursued a closer relationship with AAHomecare to further the message of industry unity.

This year’s theme of “Collaborate, Cultivate and Innovate” follows that path, centering on bringing like-minded people together to learn from each other, and to use that knowledge to continue to transform the HME industry, Gaffney said. 

“There are so many questions surrounding this industry—questions of survival, dealing with audits, boosting efficiency, proper marketing and strategic planning—providers need answers,” he said. “When they have these answers, they can then realize the potential of the products offered by our hundreds of exhibitors.”

Navigating ‘new normal’

Executive Leadership is a new track for the educational lineup this year, joining the Audit, Business Operations, Keeping it Legal, Retail, Sales & Marketing and Strategic Planning tracks, says EAB Chairman Jeff Baird.

“The two main focuses are to give providers practical tools to respond to competitive bidding, audits and reimbursement cuts, and to help them think outside the box as they plan for the future,” Baird said. “The themes and goals of the education programs are to give them what they need to navigate the ‘new normal.’”

Realizing that Medtrade is an expense for providers in a cash-flow-sensitive industry, Baird said the EAB strives to make every session direct, to the point, relevant and meaningful.

“When attendees leave an education session, we want them to be worn out,” he said. hme