Spring show keeps it simple

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Medtrade Educational Advisory Board (EAB) is taking the KISS approach to seminars for Medtrade Spring—Keep It Simple, Stupid. To simplify the educational offerings at the show, March 10-12 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, programmers say they have eliminated the pre-show workshops while scaling back sessions and topic diversity to give attendees a concise, focused experience.

The main reason for the educational austerity movement is what EAB member Jeff Baird calls “the new reality.” Committee members discussed the program offerings at length, he said, and determined that less is more when it comes to speakers and seminars.

“We asked ourselves ‘What do DME suppliers need today, tomorrow, two years from now and three years from now to survive and thrive?” Baird said. “So we cut out programs that while informative and valuable, do not meet what we believe are the urgent needs of today’s supplier. The end result is that fewer programs are being presented, but the programs that are there are what the supplier truly needs.”

EAB member Mary Ellen Conway adds that organizers are also “sticking with what works,” such as the popular Lunch and Learn program, which has been renamed the Power Lunch. Ultimately, the objective is to give attendees “quick value” for their time, she said, with a narrower focus on topics of intense interest, such as retail opportunities.

“We’ve been telling providers for years to get into retail and to get into it well,” Conway said. “If we wanted to, we could fill the whole program with retail.”

To be sure, the educational slate is filled with programs that directly address the topics providers want most, Baird agreed. Besides retail sales, there will be presentations about on-line sales, selling covered and non-covered items for cash, working with federal programs other than Medicare fee-for-service and Medicaid, and seeking more business with commercial insurers.

“Apart from attempting to get away from the Medicare fee-for-service model, DME suppliers are not seeing any letup from post-payment audits and prepayment reviews,” Baird said. “For this reason, programs on how to respond to audits and reviews are in high demand. In order to be competitive in the marketplace, DME suppliers need to be able to enter joint ventures and strategic alliances with physicians, hospitals and other referral sources. Programs on how to legally enter into these types of arrangements will be presented.”