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MAMES looks good for 40

MAMES looks good for 40

Rose SchafhauserDULUTH, Minn. – The Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services & Supplies celebrated 40 years at its conference and exhibition last week in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Forty years ago, a supplier named R.D. Dick Herrington sent a letter to Missouri and Kansas suppliers asking to meet and discuss some of the issues facing the HME industry. They met in July and by September they had a certificate of incorporation. Today, that organization is known as MAMES. 

“There’s maybe one or two companies left that have been around since we first got together,” said Rose Schafhauser, executive director. “But this year, we’re going to be doing a recognition of what we’ve accomplished over the last 40 years.” 

The theme for the event was MAMES 2022: 40th Birthday Bash Conference and Exhibition, featuring slideshows and headlines from the 80s. 

Since then, MAMES has picked up six more states, the last one being Wisconsin in 2017. 

“Before Wisconsin joined MAMES, it was really different,” said Schafhauser. “They didn’t have camaraderie because some of the competitors were fierce competitors. You don’t want to sit there and share your secrets.” 

One of the biggest benefits of belonging to a multi-state association is the networking, and the ability to learn from one another without being seen as a threat, says Schafhauser. 

“It allows them to say, ‘Hey, I wonder what people are doing when they do their ventilator setups,’” she said. "They’re not going to ask the company down the street, they’re going to call someone in Iowa and say, ‘How do you guys do this or that?’” 

But even more important are the financial resources. 

“It’s very difficult to be really effective as a single state association,” said Schafhauser. “A few years back, we pooled some resources and hired a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. to get one of the final rules released. We wouldn’t have been able to do that if we were a single state.”


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