Don't let the folksy veneer fool you, Heartland means business

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06/15/2017

James Rogers is not just here for the party. Oh yeah, he likes the parties: the hog roast, Fiesta in the Heartland.

“You’ve got to go, it’s lots of fun,” he tried to convince me (I do not like parties. There, I said it).

He’s also here for the education and to meet with fellow providers—and not just during the traditional networking stuff. He followed one such fellow provider out of the Washington Legislative Update Tuesday afternoon. During the session, she had expressed frustration that her efforts to connect with Senators—big wigs Dianne Feinstein and Harry Reid, so you know the deck was stacked against her—and that a trip to DC, when it turned out they weren’t even in town, was a big waste of time.

“I told her it’s not a waste of time and that I appreciated what she did,” said Rogers.

Then they got to chatting—West Coast provider to East Coast provider—and found themselves sharing ideas, which is what the good folks at VGM like to hear.

“Strike up a conversation. Speak with people,” Clint Geffert told attendees at the keynote on Tuesday morning. “We want to build a community.”

It’s easier to strike up those conversations at Heartland, both with providers and speakers, said Rick Wyche.

“The down home nature of Waterloo, Iowa, goes a long way,” he said. “It’s more personable. I don’t feel weird afterward talking to the presenter.”

But don’t let that folksy veneer fool you. There’s some serious education on tap here and providers who don’t get with the program as HME and health care evolves will not be attending Heartland in future years. With the world moving at the speed of light and technology moving even faster than that, older, slower and frankly less competitive attitudes won’t work.

Louis Feuer offered one succinct example during a session on sales.

“If you ever need to know time it is, call an HME provider at 4 o’clock,” he told attendees. “They’ll say, ‘it’s 4 o’clock!’ ‘I know it’s 4 o’clock, can you help me or not?’”

Clock’s ticking.