Show connections are the ‘new capital’

 - 
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The nature of Medtrade may have changed since it started, but the value of it for HME providers hasn’t, group director Kevin Gaffney says.

As the show, set for Oct. 15-17 at the Georgia World Congress Center, has gradually transformed from an on-the-floor sales exposition to a networking and information exchange, it retains its essential purpose, he said.

“Information gleaned through formal education and networking has gained in importance,” Gaffney said. “Connections are a form of capital, as is inspiration and the ability to commiserate with providers who are going through similar challenges and looking for solutions that work.”

To encourage interaction between attendees, Medtrade has adopted “Focus” as a theme—a three-day immersion in HME issues away from the office.

“There’s no doubt we live in a digital age, with a lot of information available at our fingertips and social media makes connecting with friends and colleagues easy,” Gaffney said. “However, I think what is old school has actually become new school—a recognition that cementing or starting relationships face-to-face has real value.”

In sensing the HME industry’s mood heading into this year’s show, Gaffney says “curiosity” might be the best word to describe it, given that new CMS rules are expected to allow “any willing provider” to participate in Medicare for an approximate two-year gap period before the next round of competitive bidding begins. That curiosity, he said, can be satisfied by attending seminars and special events, and meeting with reimbursement experts.

As in the past few years, Medtrade will be emphasizing retail as a viable commercial option for HME companies, Gaffney said.

“Providers are getting the message that this sector is growing, and they clearly want to get more involved in retail,” he said. “Retail is not just putting items on a shelf and hoping customers come, it’s so much more and we will have the experts on hand to help providers learn all the nuances of adding a retail component to their business model. We intend to feed this interest with what we hope is the right amount of emphasis.”

Based on survey results from last year, Medtrade’s three-day length seems to fit the bill for attendees, Gaffney said.

“We tried to avoid those fourth-day blues by adjusting the hours to fill three days and largely succeeded,” he said. “We want everyone to leave wanting more, so the three-day format seems to be working. That said, we could go back to four days someday depending on how the industry evolves.”

Last year’s cash giveaway show-ender proved to be popular with attendees, Gaffney said, adding that another one will be held this year, “which is a great way to end the show on a note of excitement.”