Moving the HME Industry Forward

General Healthcare

A Show of Force

October 14, 2013

ORLANDO, FL – More than 550 exhibitors and thousands of attendees descended on the Sunshine State last week for Medtrade, the nation’s largest HME Expo and Conference. Educational sessions, booth exhibits, and networking events attracted what AAHomecare Chief Tom Ryan (pictured) described as “fully engaged” providers who were serious about new opportunities.

Attendees packed the AAHomecare Legislative Update at the Orange County Convention Center to kick off day one (Tuesday, Oct 8) of Medtrade in Orlando, Fla. With new leadership and renewed resolve, AAHomecare leaders embraced the challenges ahead.

“In the end, we are going to win,” said Robert Steedley, chairman, American Association for Homecare. “We have the right team to get the work done. We are fighting as hard as ever, and we are making the right contacts and the right moves.”

Stressing the urgent need for increased AAHomecare membership, Tom Ryan made his first appearance as the Association’s new president and CEO. “AAHomecare has your back,” said Ryan, a successful DME provider for three decades. “I have your back.”

Adding new cosponsors to HR 1717, the bill to replace competitive bidding with the market pricing program, is a priority for the association. However, a multitude of regulatory issues are also on the docket. Kim Brummett, senior director of Regulatory Affairs, cited several areas for reform in the audit arena.

“Currently, all contractors, except for RACs, do not have any penalties for audit results that are overturned,” said Brummett. “We would like to see contractor reform that includes accountability to results…If we could work with the MACs to minimize denials, we could assist providers by taking costs out of their daily work.”

Jay Witter, vice president of Government Affairs, conceded that the recent 47% Medicare reimbursement hit was “drastic,” and encouraged providers to fight back by documenting patient complaints with renewed vigor. “When CMS says 33 [Medicare beneficiary complaints], we can come back and say, ‘No. People for Quality Care [http://peopleforqualitycare.com/] have documented more than 2,000 patient stories,” said Witter. “We know there are 10 times that many stories, and that is what is going to turn the tide.”

Providers and patients are encouraged to send anecdotes to Cbround2problems@aahomecare.org
“Unfortunately, when we rely on entitlement programs, what goes on in Washington, DC, is very important,” added Ryan. “We are trying to move the chains, but we can’t do it alone. We need you. You are key. The only way we can move any agenda is if you go out there and work your Congressional members and tell your stories.”

Judges handed out the following coveted Booth/Product Awards on the final day of the show.
• Innovation Award: iWalk2.0 Hands Free Crutch from iWalk Free   
• Providers Choice: Triloc from iLoc Technologies  
• Merit Award: FrozenPeaz from Frozen Peaz
• Best Booth Larger than 400 Square Feet: Caire
• Best Booth 100-400 Square Feet: Maxtec
• Creative Concepts Award: Strategic A/R

The Oct 21 issue of Medtrade Monday will feature additional Booth/Product Award coverage, complete with photos and comments from winners.

According to Brian Clark, president of American Access, booth visitors at Medtrade wanted to supplement their business with items not subject to competitive bidding. “Medtrade was an excellent opportunity for us to launch our product,” said Clark, who’s company added three new models to its line of modular wheelchair ramps. “Being here at Medtrade clues you into the fabric of what is going on in the industry.”

“Medtrade was more focused than it used to be,” added Randy Clare,
senior sales consultant for CareFusion, a Medtrade exhibitor. “In some
ways, the theme of the show was retail sales. Ultimately, the message
was that if you focus on patients and outcomes, you can’t make
mistakes.”