NCB delay triggers seminar changes

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ATLANTA--The major role that national competitive bidding (NCB) was slated to play in the Medtrade educational program got a last-minute revamp after CMS announced in July that the program would be delayed for up to two years.

Medtrade management had originally planned an entire track of NCB-focused sessions and an NCB Resource Center on the show floor. Both have been placed on hold, says AAHomecare’s Kim Kianka Roberti, co-chair of the Medtrade Educational Planning Committee. Instead, her committee has beefed up the business operations and legislative tracks.

“We have adapted a number of sessions which were geared toward educating attendees on the rules of competitive bidding,” Roberti said. “It’s important to remember that the national competitive bidding program is still a viable option for Congress in 2009. NCB content is still relevant, we’ll just look at it from a legislative and business perspective.”

Meanwhile, the show floor space allocated to the resource center is being used for a new “Center Stage,” said Show Director Kevin Gaffney, which exhibitors can reserve for product demonstrations or presentations.

Despite NCB’s lower profile at Medtrade, it’s clear that its impact will still be felt.

“While the (committee) hopes that competitive bidding will go away, we recognize that it has only been delayed and that the industry may have to deal with it in the future,” said Jeff Baird, an attorney with Amarillo, Texas-based Brown & Fortunato and a member of the planning committee.

According to Roberti, the future of NCB will also be a major theme in the Tuesday morning keynote address-now open to all attendees-titled “The State of the Industry.” A panel of industry leaders will discuss “the biggest trends and the legislative landscape that are driving change in HME,” she said.