N.C., Va. groups merge

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Friday, January 27, 2017

CARY, N.C. – The move by two state associations to form one regional association follows larger industry trends of consolidation.

In November, the Virginia Association of Durable Medical Equipment Companies (VADMEC) and the North Carolina Association of Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES) combined to form the Atlantic Coast Medical Equipment Suppliers (ACMESA).

“We’ve been talking about it for some time and finally pulled the trigger,” said Beth Bowen, who was the executive director of both associations and will now helm ACMESA. “It’s something we needed to do to keep everybody strong but still cater to the needs of those they serve.”

Bowen is used to juggling multiple states. She owns an association management company, TayCar, Inc., and also leads the Florida Association of Home Care Services (FAHCS) and the Association for Tennessee Oxygen & Medical Equipment Services (ATHOMES).

“Nothing is going to really change at the state level,” said Bowen. “We still have the Medicaid payer meetings within each state but the national issues are the same, no matter if it’s North Carolina, Virginia or California.”

Bowen has been busy consolidating administrative synergies—a big cost savings—and analyzing the fee structures of both associations as it moves forward. As with many state associations, it’s a challenge to maintain membership, Bowen says.

“It gets harder every year,” she said. “I have people that pay dues without being asked, and others, you have to remind them of things that have happened. But, so many companies see the strength in state associations.”

Bowen pointed to a recent win, when Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that it will not update current fee schedules with the 2017 rates, a win that Bowen attributes to good relationships.

“Those relationships have to continue,” she said. “If they go away, everybody 

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suffers.” hme