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 What’s the buzz? Medtrade show sets stage for work ahead

 What’s the buzz? Medtrade show sets stage for work ahead

I occasionally miss the hum of working in a busy newsroom – not the clackety-clack of keyboards or the smell of microwaved fish – but that buzz of sounds that melds into a mélange of forward momentum and accomplishments, that sense of Things Are Happening Here. 

Such was the case at Medtrade West in April, where attendees flung off two years’ worth of Zoom fatigue and hit the show floor. 

It was music to Show Director York Schwab’s ears. 

“As a meeting planner, the constant hum of people talking, getting business done, is what I like to hear,” he told me. 

Nothing to see here 

While the social aspect of a show like Medtrade is a huge part of the draw, at the end of the day (or the beginning), attendees came ready to get down to business. 

That’s good, because there’s a lot of work to do, Tom Ryan told the crowd at the AAHomecare Update on Tuesday morning. 

Cost increases, shipping surcharges, rising gas prices. The cost of labor alone has increased about 5% to 6%, he told us. 

“There are unprecedented inputs of cost,” said Ryan. “But CMS thinks everything is fine. We can’t raise prices and (beneficiaries) aren’t getting the services they should be.” 

AAHomecare has continued to press for passage of H.R. 6641, which would implement a blended rate based 90% on bid pricing and 10% on the 2015 fee schedule, representing about a 10% to 15% increase. Unfortunately, the bill’s co-sponsor tally has been stuck at 10 since March 16. If you haven’t reached out to your member of Congress yet, what are you waiting for? 

Whatever happens or doesn’t happen with the bill will set the stage for the next five years, says Ryan. 

“If we’re still talking about the need for (temporary adjustments), we haven’t done our job,” he said. “At the end of the day, we have to have meaningful adjustment to where the rates should be.” 

Meaningful adjustments, attitude-wise 

While Medtrade means a jam-packed schedule, followed by a lengthy follow-up list when I return to the home office, I always try to incorporate some time to explore the local area, especially when it’s exotic (at least, to me), like the desert landscape surrounding Phoenix. 

The afternoon after the show closed, my co-worker, Jo Reed (if you were on the show floor, you probably talked to her), hit the Desert Botanical Gardens and wandered among sun-soaked trails of saguaro, prickly pear and agave cactus (the margarita in its natural state!), as well as lizards, butterflies and hummingbirds. 

It was a welcome reprieve from thinking about the work ahead, but even then, ideas are always humming in the background, for providers and for HME News. 

Here’s to the fall show in Atlanta and all future shows – wherever they may be.


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