Panel: ‘Challenge brings opportunity’

Friday, October 31, 2008

ATLANTA--Instead of having a well-known political figure give a keynote address to kick off Medtrade on Tuesday, Oct. 28, organizers have put together a panel of industry leaders to set a tone of contemplation for show attendees.

Under the banner “Opportunities and Challenges Ahead,” the seven-member panel will examine the major hurdles and prospects for HME providers going forward. Panel members are Tyler Wilson, president and CEO of AAHomecare, who will serve as moderator; Invacare’s Cara Bachenheimer; Blackburn’s Georgie Blackburn; Apria’s Larry Higby; Landauer Metropolitan’s Alan Landauer; Pride Mobility Products’ Scott Meuser; and Respironics’ John Miclot.

Consensus among panel members is that the industry’s delay of national competitive bidding is only a temporary victory and that more work needs to be done to secure the industry’s future.

“The challenges remain the same-they are not going away,” Bachenheimer said. “Although the bidding program has been staved off for now, we need to come up with a suitable alternative or live with the current program.”

She continued: “And regardless of who wins the White House, healthcare reform will be on the agenda. It’s an issue that will only amplify over the years.”

Landauer agrees, saying the competitive bidding delay means only that the industry “has won a battle and not the war.”

“This gives us a chance to encourage a lot of discussion,” Landauer said. “Every challenge brings an opportunity.”

The panel discussion can help the industry “form one mindset” in its dialogue with legislators, Blackburn said.

“The lesson we’ve learned is that when we speak with one voice, it really resonates,” she said.”