BETHESDA, MD – Much of Medtrade was reassuringly familiar this year, but regular attendees probably noticed a few new things. For example, last month’s show resided in a new section of the Georgia World Congress Center—Hall C to be exact.
It was our first experience with Hall C, and in many ways it felt familiar, with similar conference rooms. However, the Hall is more modern, with plenty of sunlight, and several food options.
I saw a lot of familiar faces at Medtrade, as well as many new ones. The caliber of attendees in my sessions was very high, as evidenced by many intelligent questions. I am always surprised at how many new staff members from existing suppliers attend, as well as attendees from brand new suppliers.
People are listening. They’re asking about how to run their businesses in a lean fashion, and how to add more retail products and services. We know that by 2020 we are going to see a 70% increase in those over 65 as the Baby Boomers age, and the strong and steady suppliers are the ones who are going to be ready to serve them.
There were a tremendous number of new items that suppliers are now stocking in their show rooms and selling for cash. The booths on the show floor were overflowing with products and pricing specials.
For suppliers looking to reduce their reliance on Medicare, one of the best ways is through cash sales. I had some great conversations with vendors on the show floor who were new to Medtrade, and they were very enthusiastic about the attendees who visited their booths.
Enthusiasm related to products and services for home modification continues to be a source of new income and new services, but, as Van Miller of VGM said to me: “You have to be all in. You can’t just offer some modifications.” For those who wanted to be “all in,” there were ramps, adaptive equipment, and new technology booths overflowing with attendees anxious to earn more.
The new format for the AAHomecare Washington Update was a welcome change. Having AAHomecare leaders Kim Brummett, Jay Witter, and Tom Ryan sit in high-back chairs on the stage made the setting in the new auditorium very comfortable.
I look forward to Medtrade every year, and this year was no exception. Our industry leaders work hard to maintain a semblance of reason and structure within the Medicare DME benefit. Meanwhile, our speakers work hard to make each session informative. Finally, the exhibitors ensure that we see the “latest and greatest” products while the show provides invaluable opportunities to network with customers and peers.
I look forward to seeing you at Medtrade Spring next year, scheduled for March 30-April 1, 2015, in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Medtrade will happen Oct 26-29, 2015, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Mary Ellen Conway, RN, BSN, is the president of Capital Healthcare Group, Bethesda, MD.