Organizers scramble to keep event 'relevant'

Saturday, March 31, 2007

LAS VEGAS - With what seem like daily changes in areas like accreditation, competitive bidding and reimbursement, the team preparing for next month's Medtrade Spring faces an uphill battle in delivering educational content that's up-to-date and relevant.
"This is probably our most challenging year--the changes have just been huge," said Kim Brummett, vice president of contracting and reimbursement for Advanced Home Care in Greensboro, N.C., and a member of the Medtrade Educational Board. "It's really hard to give accurate information when so many details are still unknown."
Although handouts are finalized and mailed out on disc before the show, speakers are expected to keep their PowerPoint presentations up-to-the-minute accurate to address this concern, Brummett said.
This year's educational offering features 14 tracks with 85 individual sessions. Predictably, most sessions will cover accreditation, competitive bidding and reimbursement. Other sessions will cover information technology, sales and marketing, sleep disordered breathing and mergers and acquisitions.
"The most popular sessions do pack the rooms," said Mary Ellen Conway, a Bethesda, Md.-based healthcare consultant specializing in accreditation and a member of the Medtrade Educational Board. "For the folks who still need help (in accreditation), it will be a timely update and a chance to meet the accreditors."
Brummett and Conway said they also face the challenge of delivering education to satisfy both industry newcomers and seasoned veterans.
"There are some folks who come for the latest and greatest, and others who come in asking 'What's a concentrator?'" said Brummett.
To that end, the educational board takes a fresh look at the session lineup each year to ensure a balance of topics that will be timely, well-rounded and appealing to both senior-level and entry-level attendees.
The addition of 15 new sessions this year can be attributed to continued strong demand for education by providers, as well as the quality of topics submitted by speakers. Yet Brummett and Conway agree that they're always looking for new ways to improve how Medtrade delivers education.
"I read every single evaluation from every session," said Brummett. "Our goal is to give you the best information available from the top experts in the industry."