Moving the HME Industry Forward

General Healthcare

Annual Medtrade Photo Collage

November 10, 2014

ATLANTA – If you missed Medtrade last month, or perhaps you attended but had to miss a session, the Digital Conference Library is now available. Providers may purchase a DVD Rom with 90+ sessions and speaker-approved handouts for $199, or spend $159 for unlimited lifetime access to the Online Learning Center, which features audio, plus handouts from 90+ sessions.


The 35th annual Medtrade wrapped up last month with a sense of optimism among attendees and exhibitors. “Every single person I spoke with found at least one great idea or product,” said Mike Sperduti, president and CEO of the Mike Sperduti Companies (LaserTouch One, Emerge, Sweet Feet, and Mike Sperduti Training and Consulting), East Northport, NY. “From a vendor perspective, there were fewer people, but all were decision makers, and our sales exceeded expectations.”

Anna Althoff, brand and communications director for HealthSmart, part of the Briggs Corp, Waukegan, IL, said, “Our booth was really busy and we took a lot of orders. With all the changes going on in the industry, people were interested in products that were retail friendly.”


• “Synergy was thrilled to be back at Medtrade 2014 with our own
dedicated booth showcasing more products, research and customer stories.
Medtrade was a great event,” said Lori McKnight, director of Communications, Synergy Therapeutics.

• “The educational content was spot-on,” said Tom Base, CPA, controller, End Range of Motion Improvement, an Atlanta-based DME provider. “I rated nothing less than a five on all speakers.”


• “We had many providers asking about how to grow their intermittent catheter business,” said Kelly V. Barry, senior marketing manager, US Continence Care and Critical Care, Hollister Inc, Libertyville, IL.  

Lisa Wells, president of Get Social Consulting: “More than any other year, at this Medtrade I’ve seen a conscious shift in the industry as dealers are competing in the cash market. I’m seeing their skills improving regarding technology and online marketing as they strive to expand those business lines. Also, the support for AAHomecare’s efforts on Capitol Hill is visibly growing under Tom Ryan’s strong leadership. It’s been a fantastic show for those reasons, and next Spring should be as well.”

Scott Blevins, president of Tablift, remarked: “The show has been great. I’ve had a lot of interest in the Tablift and made a ton of connections. I will most likely attend Medtrade in 2015.”  


Ryan Rallies Providers at AAHomecare Update and Stand Up for Homecare

Medtrade attendees turned out in force on day two of the nation’s premiere HME event to hear the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) Update.

“I’ve been beat up, but I believe we can win this thing,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “We know it’s a great industry. Private equity is coming into this industry everyday because they love the demographics.”

Jay Witter, AAHomecare’s senior vice president for Public Policy, told attendees that the association has built strong relationships with many important players, which should help prospects for action on HR 5083, the Audit Reform and Improvement (AIR) Act, as well as for HR 4920, the bill to improve the competitive bidding program. Specifically, HR 4920 would make bids binding and make sure bidders are appropriately licensed. “We are in the best position I have ever seen,” enthused Witter. “We are clicking on all cylinders because we have fought together—but we can’t let up.”  


Witter explained that the best-case scenario is enactment of HR 4920 by December so that it can influence the round two recompete process. The bill could see the light of day as “part of a package” or an “expedited process on the suspension calendar” with the help and support of key committees.


Kim Brummett
, vice president of Regulatory Affairs, is leading multiple initiatives that involve building better relationships at CMS, and helping deliver positive outcomes on face-to-face regulations, and mobility and oxygen testing requirements.


On the topic of expansion of competitive bidding into non-bid areas, Brummett told attendees that she had met with CMS staff members to go over the 55 pages of comments related to the proposed expansion. “Welcome to the game,” said Brummett. “This [proposed expansion of CB] is a really scary rule.”


Finally, Ryan reminded attendees about consumer-focused initiatives such as Save My Medical Supplies (www.savemymedicalsupplies.org) and the HME Audit Key, a comprehensive effort to collect valid data as ammunition for legislative battles.

“We are facing many challenges, and we have a long way to go in a lot of areas,” said Ryan. “This association should be quadruple the size it is today. We need to be larger…But I’m an optimist, and this industry is poised for change and growth. If we continue to fight for patients, we can win this.”


HME News TV Offers Insight at Medtrade

In addition to cranking out the Show Daily at Medtrade, trade publication HME News interviewed several luminaries via HME News TV on the grounds of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta last month.

Guests such as Cara Bachenheimer (pictured here with Ryan and AAHomecare chairman Robert Steedley), Invacare, discussed concerns that the binding bid legislation does not do enough to address competitive bidding problems.


“We would love to do more…but the realities of getting legislation through Congress on a budget-neutral basis simply dictates that we have to take an extraordinarily laser focused approach, and that’s what this bill really needs,” said Bachenheimer.

 “It’s important to keep the conversation alive. They want to know how this impacts their constituents. Keep them informed on how it’s impacting you, as well as your consumers you serve.

“When they come back the week of November 11, it will be the same Congress as before the election,” continued Bachenheimer. “The new members don’t start until January, so even if your member does not get reelected, they will still be voting and passing laws.”




Award Wrapup and Review

A panel of marketing experts tapped Carex (www.carex.com) for the prestigious Best Booth Over 400 Square Feet Award. The booth featured showroom windows and a building facade to spark retail display ideas among providers. 

Attendees peering through the windows saw product lines designed to reach a broad and growing customer base that needs: bathroom safety; mobility; personal care; medication organizers; enablers and aids for daily living; pain management through ThermaTherapy™; bright light therapy products; self-care products; and in-home care and patient room equipment.


Canada-based Top & Derby (www.topandderby.com) earned the award for Best Booth Under 400 Square Feet on the final day of Medtrade, the nation’s premiere HME event. The first-time exhibitors’ “sleek and simple” display of canes made excellent use of the relatively small space.


“When designing the booth, we wanted to create something that was impactful and simple, while working within the constraints of a small [100 square feet] space,” says Ben Grynol, CEO and co-founder, Top & Derby. “We wanted to design a booth that was consistent with our past, and combined experience in retail and product design across different industries—furniture, skateboarding, and fashion to name a few.


“We’re a new player in a large industry, but we’re having fun doing things a bit differently than they have traditionally been done in the past,” adds Grynol. “We’ve got a long way to go, and lots of learning to do, but we’re pumped for the ride ahead.”

The Creative Concepts Award went to Stander (www.stander.com) for its camo-drenched “Hunt for Cash Sales” theme. The award recognizes all-around creativity, including booth design, marketing message, pre-show marketing, and social media. 

Justin Kohler, direct account manager at Stander Inc, believes the company earned the prize because they took a risk and stepped out of the box to try something new. “We have come to realize that recognition comes to those that go the extra mile and give buyers something to get excited about,” he says. “We believe that our booth should reflect the personality of our company and our products. We are innovative and evolving with the market and we
want our booth to express that. Our products have the same effect in showrooms across the country. We got a lot of smiles and raised a lot of eyebrows. It wasn’t uncommon for us to hear that our booth was refreshing or awesome.”


Kohler has already made plans to exhibit at Medtrade Spring, scheduled this year for March 30-April in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Providers Choice Awards
The Pocket Air Portable Nebulizer (Mesh Type) from MicroBase Technology Corp earned enough attendee votes to take the Gold category of the Providers Choice Awards. “Pocket Air is the smallest portable nebulizer in the world,” says Amy Pu, senior sales manager, Microbase Technology Co Ltd. “It’s very quiet during operation, so kids love to use it and won’t be afraid to use it. With the built-in mouthpiece, it’s also very easy for senior and adult to use. It only needs 2 AA battery, which is also convenient…We look forward to Medtrade [Atlanta] next year.”


The PAP Travel Briefcase from Philips Respironics Inc earned enough votes for the Silver category win. “Our customers are always looking for ways to supplement their business cash flow, while offering patients new solutions to help enhance care and encourage adherence,” says Cheryl Iodice, senior director, field marketing, Philips Home Healthcare Solutions. “With the PAP travel briefcase, not only do customers have a new retail opportunity available to them but they are also helping meet the needs of patients who are looking for smart and convenient solutions when traveling with their sleep therapy system. The PAP travel briefcase is another innovation that we believe can help contribute to healthy patients and healthy businesses.”

The Shiatsu Lift Chair by Golden Technologies Inc added to its Innovative Retail Products Award win with a Bronze prize in the Providers Choice race. Why all the love for this particular chair? “We are the first to introduce this Shiatsu massage system into a lift chair. It is something that will resonate with consumers and be an easy retail sale for our dealers,” says Pat O’Brien, director of Marketing and Merchandising, Golden Technologies, Old Forge, Pa. “Even without using the Shiatsu massage, it is an amazingly comfortable
chair to use as a power recliner. It has the pocketed coil spring seat which offers reflective seat support. As you shift your weight from one side to the other, you have constant support in the seat. When you add the rolling Shiatsu massage, it makes a difference in how your back feels.

“We have been going to Medtrade since the beginning, and we are proud to be loyal to both Medtrade and Medtrade Spring,” adds O’Brien. “As the company has grown, our booth size has grown. We are proud to again have one of the largest booths at the show this year.”

Make Your Plans for Medtrade Spring
Medtrade Spring is scheduled for March 30-April 1 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. “We are certainly energized from a successful Medtrade,” said Kevin Gaffney, group show director, Medtrade. “However, March of 2015 is not that far away, and we are already planning events, educational sessions, and actively signing up exhibitors for what should be an excellent show.”

Members of the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers (CAMPS) are already signed up for Medtrade Spring thanks to a new Medtrade Spring co-location agreement. 

The agreement combines the annual CAMPS meeting with Medtrade Spring, scheduled for March 30-April 1, 2015. “This co-location agreement saves CAMPS members time and money by allowing them to go to one trade show instead of two in 2015,” says Gaffney. “CAMPS members will have full access to the Medtrade Spring show floor and all educational sessions, and we will have the privilege of welcoming CAMPS members to what will be an excellent show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.” 





Bob Achermann
, executive director of Sacramento-based CAMPS, says the agreement is a renewal of sorts that harkens back to a similar agreement a decade ago. With so much specialization among providers these days, Achermann thought the time was ripe to head back to Medtrade Spring.



“We needed to look at ways to be more efficient for our members in providing a greater array of topics and speakers,” he says. “By combining with Medtrade Spring, we can provide some California-specific topics and speakers, but also be attractive for providers, because there is such a wide variety of speakers at Medtrade Spring in other aspects of the business. A membership update meeting will be part of the content, and a small reception for California attendees is also likely.” 



“CAMPS coming back to the show as a partner in this co-location agreement is great news,” adds Tom Ryan. “We have been having several discussions along this front, because it makes sense to leverage the Medtrade brand, as well as the expertise of Emerald Expositions [company that puts on Medtrade], to run a successful show. My hat is off to the CAMPS board and Bob Ackerman for their vision.”

Registration for Medtrade Spring should be open by late November. Check www.medtrade.com and/or Medtrade Monday for updates.


Power Soccer Wows at Medtrade

Athletes from The United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA – www.powersoccerusa.net) showed off their skills during two exhibition games on day three of Medtrade. The game took place on the Expo Floor at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Power Soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users. Athletes’ disabilities include quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and many others. The game is usually played in a gymnasium on a regulation basketball court. Two teams of four players attack, defend, and spin-kick a 13-inch soccer ball in a skilled and challenging game similar to able-bodied soccer.

MK Battery is the USPSA title sponsor, which helps defray some of the considerable expense associated with the sport. “The biggest challenge is the cost of travel,” says Dominic Russo, president of the USPSA, who also served as a referee during the Medtrade exhibition game.


According to Wayne Merdinger, executive vice president and general manager of MK Battery, the sponsorship arrangement is much more than a financial or business arrangement, and amounts to a “significant emotional commitment that our entire company has embraced.”

In 2006, seven countries came together to hold a summit in Atlanta, Ga, and the result was a standardization of the laws, and the forming of an International Federation. From that meeting, the first World Cup was held in Tokyo, Japan, and the first US National Team competition was formed. The growth and development of the sport has been tremendous, hampered only by time and funding.

Rules and strategy are similar to the outdoor game. “The United States team has dominated international competition,” says Russo. “We will try for our third world cup next year in Australia or Canada.”

“These players are incredibly skilled,” adds Kevin Gaffney, group show director, Medtrade. “It was our pleasure to make room for the game on the Expo floor and show attendees what this growing game is all about.”