Medtrade: A nice quiet show

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10/09/2007
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Medtrade seemed oddly quiet this year—subdued, you might say. No blockbuster acquisitions. No major movement on the legislative and regulatory front. No exhibitors trading insults—at least that we heard. It was, you might say, a nice quiet show with lots of neat products, people networking and buying. A few days removed from the show, I now think that the lack of any big news is the news, and, I should add, not all that surprising. Medicare has created an environment of extreme uncertainty —through competitive bidding and other reimbursement and regulatory changes. As a result, many in the industry (certainly not all) have hunkered down and are waiting for the dust to settle. Unfortunately, with Medicare set to expand competitive bidding to 70 additional communities next year, I think the dust is going to remain in the air for a while. That is of course, unless the industry and its champions somehow derail the inevitable. That’s all the more reason, I would think, for you to take part, if you aren’t already, in these industry efforts.

In case you didn’t get to Medtrade, here’s some of the news we covered as part of our show reporting (you’ll find more in our November issue):

Canadians dominate new Product Pavilion
Providers cast votes for best in show
NEW PRODUCT PAVILION — Providers spoke with their votes last week, selecting their favorite products in this year’s Product Pavilion,
The Innovation award went to Ottawa, Ontario-based Healthcraft Products for its Dependa-Bar, a weight-bearing bath-safety device that lets users safely enter and exit the bathtub. Featuring a dual rail with five locking positions, it fits most standard bathtub widths and is rust resistant.
PDG Product Design Group, from Vancouver, B.C., picked up the Provider's Choice award for the Fuze Power Tilt, an add-on option for its Fuze T50 Manual Tilt Wheelchair. Wheelchair users or their caregivers can control the Fuze Power Tilt, making it easy to maneuver the chair.
The Comfort Zone by Elizabethtown, Ky.-based Life Gear garnered the Merit award for its portable blanket warming system. The lightweight system allows providers the ability to offer patients the comfort of a warmed blanket. It uses 5 amps, runs on 110 volts and warms a blanket to 115 degrees.

'Get it right the first time'
ORLANDO, Fla. - HME billing expert Jane Bunch gave attendees a sage piece of advice: Get your billing right the first time, rather than getting denials and carrying huge accounts receivables.
"I don't want to hear the mentality, 'Let's just get the bill out the door,'" said Bunch, vice president of HME consulting for CareCentric, during the seminar, "Common Billing Mistakes: How Do I Prevent Them?"
Starting with the intake process, make sure you have the beneficiary's name and HIC number correct, along with their correct address and ICD 9 code diagnosis, she said.
As if billing Medicare isn't complicated enough, providers must learn to use various modifiers correctly. One of the biggest confusion points these days is the KX modifier, said Bunch. Learn to use it correctly or risk audits.

Providers needn't go it alone
ORLANDO, Fla. - Echoing the sentiments of many HME providers, AAHomecare’s Walt Gorski told attendees that he believes "the deck is stacked against us."
"Why do they single us out?" asked Gorski, the association’s vice president of government affairs. "They just think that they can."
Gorski made his comments during a seminar entitled: AAHomecare's Top 10 Series on Critical Issues Facing the Industry.
With the HME industry staring down the barrel of national competitive bidding and several other cost-cutting measures, Gorski reminded attendees that they must band together if the industry is to have a chance at modifying cuts or repealing measures altogether.

Theft reminds exhibitors to take security seriously
ORLANDO, Fla. – Someone apparently stole two 65-inch flat screen TVs (valued at $2,500 each) from Dedicated Distribution’s booth, reminding exhibitors and attendees that show security should not be taken for granted.
Medtrade officials caution exhibitors to treat the show the same way they would a hotel room: Do not leave your valuables alone. Medtrade provides security, but mainly that involves making sure only registered attendees and exhibitors walk the show floor.
Exhibitors must take their own security precautions, which mostly involve commonsense, said a number of vendors and show officials.
Lock up or take home laptop computers and other popular consumer items. When it comes to shipping in TVs an other large merchandise (something that may catch a person’s eye), use black shrink wrap—not clear—so the items don’t call attention to themselves. Take expensive goods out of their boxes and pack them in non-descript or unlabeled boxes. Some exhibitors said they lock up show valuables in cabinets that double during the day as display tables. Others, like Invacare, hire additional security guards to patrol booths during non-show hours.