Most important Medtrade ever?

Returning to Orlando for the first time since 2007, the stakes have never been higher, says show director Kevin Gaffney
Friday, August 23, 2013

When the HME industry converges on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for Medtrade on Oct. 8-10, show director Kevin Gaffney expects the intensity to be palpable. The drastic changes that have been thrust upon the industry by competitive bidding are causing confusion, consternation and desperation as providers search for ways to remain commercially viable in a market that is forging a new identity.

“An exhibitor recently said, ‘Never in the history of our industry has it been more important for providers to attend Medtrade,’” Gaffney said. “It is a strong statement and it makes sense. People who go to Medtrade, by definition, represent the dedicated end of the spectrum. This year’s group of attendees will border on the defiant. There will certainly be some anger and frustration, but it will be tempered with a true desire to find solutions.”

To address the tremendous need for guidance on future business strategies, the Medtrade Educational Advisory Board has drafted a strong series of seminars aimed at helping providers navigate the turbulent industry waters, Gaffney said

An important addition to this year’s show is the 6-4-18 educational series, which translates to “6 educational sessions 4 survival and success in the next 18 months.” Because competitive bidding has had such a dramatic impact, the six sessions are designed to help providers gain vital information and help them in developing new or improved business practices to use for survival, and ultimately success.

Among the key topics covered are effective collections, purchasing and cash flow management, reducing risk, diversification and operational efficiencies, mergers and acquisitions, and transformation in business. These workshops are available to all attendees with a conference pass, Gaffney said.

Fun in the sun

Being back in Orlando for the first time since 2007 is a pleasant departure from the show’s regular home in Atlanta, which will resume hosting the show in 2014, Gaffney said. So he recommends that attendees take some extra time to enjoy all the attractions the area has to offer.

“Orlando is a dynamic trade show destination and everyone knows it’s an incredible city for family entertainment,” he said. “As a city that is extremely used to visitors, it is a well-oiled machine for travelers with every convenience. Florida is also a magnet for retired people—the very same people who rely on home medical equipment.”

As one of the busiest exposition sites in the country, the Orange County Convention Center is a venue that can easily handle the demands of Medtrade exhibitors and attendees, Gaffney said.

“The total square footage is 7 million, with 4 million set aside for exhibition space,” he said. “They are booked with various shows through the year 2029, so it’s fair to say they are very good at what they do.”