Notes from Vegas: Walking like an Egyptian and Shelly on a stick


I don’t know if it’s simply because I’ve stepped into summer, if only briefly, but Medtrade Spring feels like a vacation, compared to the events I usually attend.

No wonder editor Liz Beaulieu has been keeping this trip to herself!

I’ve enjoyed warm weather (it snowed again back home this week), a beautiful copper sunrise, an Egyptian-themed hotel that could only exist in Vegas, and the chance to really experience the show and meet people I only ever talk to on the phone.

Things kicked off bright and early yesterday with AAHomecare’s Washington Update. The association, along with other movers and shakers in the industry, has been slowly and steadily making progress on the industry’s myriad issues, but there remains much to be done.

“It’s not mission accomplished,” said Tom Ryan.

As I write this, the industry has its collective fingers crossed that its binding bids legislation, tucked into the doc fix bill, will pass when the Senate comes back from Easter recess.

Also on the agenda: the audit problem, prior auths and the expansion of bid pricing nationwide.

“We’re working behind the scenes on a plan,” said Ryan.

I spent most of the day hanging at the HME News booth. After years of pestering him on the phone, I finally met provider Mike Kuller in person. Mike’s based in California, and this was his first trip to the show in several years. He was pleasantly surprised at the variety of new products available.

I also met the gang from Top Mobility in Florida who have built a booming retail operation, and Reggie Fullwood, the new owner of Jackson Medical Supply in Mississippi. He's been in HME all of three months, after a  career spent managing casinos. When I asked why on earth he got into the biz, he said, "You're the third person that's asked me that!"

One person who isn’t at the show this year: Shelly Prial. He and his wife recently relocated to South Carolina, so a trip to Vegas simply wasn’t in the cards this year. However, his likeness attended the AAH StandUp event last night—on a stick that was being held up for various pictures.

I capped off the night with dinner at a hotel restaurant, where a highly intoxicated Irishman (is this an oxymoron?) kept calling me Roisin and asking me if he could borrow my glasses. The bar staff finally had to kick him out and apologized profusely to me.

What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas when its blog fodder.