Medtrade West: New and Improved

Viva Las Vegas! As FutureShow fades into the background, the Medtrade West 2000 Conference and Expo will step into the limelight as the new mid-year venue for product introductions and educational seminars in the home medical equipment (HME) field.

The conference kicks off May 3 and runs through May 5 at Bally's Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. The show will feature more than 300 exhibits with a wide range of product categories, including a new product showcase and seminars about innovations and HME-related legislation.

Medtrade West provides an opportunity for HME providers to discover new products, develop business relations and learn about new trends in their field. The conference is an important event for exhibitors and buyers because it provides a needed forum for popular mid-year new product introductions.

"Once a year is a long time for a manufacturer to wait in order to release a new product so they lose a lot of selling opportunities and this show provides them with a mid-year venue," said Alisa Derryberry, marketing manager, Medtrade Management Group.

Joe Randall, general manager of Home Healthcare for Bill Communications, who acquired the Medtrade Management Group in 1998, said "Today, major technological changes are occurring with ever-increasing speed. It is vital for us to ensure that this conference and expo continues to serve our exhibitors as a formidable platform for the growing number of product introductions that must occur in the spring."

New for 2000

Since the inception of new management last year, attendance for this year's show is almost double what it was last year, according to Derryberry. Medtrade Management Group has adjusted floor space to acommodate all the exhibitors and is planning a move to a new location next year due to the growth in attendance.

"We are expecting higher attendance and more exhibits than previous years because companies will no longer have to wait until Medtrade in the fall," Derryberry said.

Another change this year for Medtrade West is the $99 conference fee, which was previously almost $300. This is a dramatic change and it will enable companies to bring several members of their organization.

"This is an exciting new opportunity which is happening this year for the very first time and now makes Medtrade West and Medtrade the best values in homecare industry education anywhere in the country," said Louis Feuer, Medtrade Management Group educational director.

Randall hopes Medtrade West will be able to respond to the needs of the marketplace by drawing on Medtrade's powerful resources.

"This show will deliver even better opportunities to spotlight new technologies, as well as the introduction of the industry's most innovative products and services," he said.

A National Show

Medtrade Management Group also hopes companies across the country will head west to reach new clientele and expand their business opportunities. The show is not designed to cater to companies located in the west but specifically as a mid-year showcase created with the idea that companies from all across America will visit to expand their current markets.

Ron Resnick, president, Blue Chip Medical Products, who has attended the show for several years said, "As an east coast manufacturer it allows me the opportunity to meet potential new customers as well as some old customers in a more relaxed environment."

Resnick said it is important for manufacturers to attend trade shows because it allows them to present new ideas and products as well as providing an arena for clients to see the product live and up close.

"They can touch and feel the actual product and it allows the dealer to ask appropriate questions," he said.

Randall said the products are important because they are developed to address the concerns of the caregivers as well as to enhance the quality of life of patients. Many companies are looking forward to the networking opportunities.

"We are looking for some additional exposure to part of the west coast clientele," said David Kosakowsky, vice president of sales, Curtis Software.

Schedule

The conference will begin May 3 at 8 a.m. when exhibitors can commence, move-in and set-up. The California Association of Medical Product Suppliers (CAMPS), Sacramento, Calif., will sponsor its program from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. While many of their seminars are California-specific, the CAMPS education committee works to offer informative educational events for all attendees.

Bob Acherman, JD, executive director and legislative advocate for CAMPS, is slated to speak on California licensure, which outlines the requirements for licensure and will cover other topics related to fraud and abuse as well as the benefits of an HME-specific license.

Other Medtrade West seminars will cover subjects from strategies for marketing to long-term care facilities, hot topics in the field of reimbursement, developing a Web site and help with collections from non-government payers.

"The mission of the conference program is to provide information that allows attendees to remain current on both new clinical and management issues and to offer strategies and tools for building business and remaining profitable," Feur said.

One of the programs slated for this year's conference will feature Maureen Hanna, president of Healthcare Reimbursement Consultants Inc., Fountain Hills, Ariz., who will discuss the long-term impact of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) and consolidated billing for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

Participants in this seminar can learn about the new standards for billing durable medical equipment (DME) including concepts such as fiscal intermediary and its relation to the Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carriers (DMERC).

According to Randall, the conference portion of the show is important because professionals of the health care industry can meet and probe issues on a variety of topics.

The American Association for Homecare (AAH) - formed from the merger of the National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAMES), the Health Industry Distributor's Association's Home Care Division (HIDA) and the Home Health Services and Staffing Association (HHSSA) - will conducts its annual business meeting and Washington Update on May 3. Related seminars such as competitive bidding and its impact, inventory, purchasing and information related to Medicare.

Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 4 and 10 a.m. to

2 p.m. on May 5. Some of the products that can be seen this year are aids to daily living, foot-care and wear products, respiratory products, walkers and wheelchairs. The expo will feature the latest technological advancements in home health care and rehabilitation for post-acute-care patients and others as well as an emphasis on software and new technologies.

Las Vegas

After the exhibit hall closes and the seminars conclude, attendees can relax and enjoy the bright lights and entertainment of Las Vegas! Bally's Hotel features a nightly production of Jubilee as well as a vast casino, a strip of shops and a health spa. Guests can take in some of the long running shows like the Broadway hit Chicago at the Mandalay Bay Theatre or a Wayne Newton concert.

For those hungry appetites, there are a variety of restaurants specializing in tantalizing cuisine such as Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, Charlie Palmer Steak or Bally's Seasons restaurant. Some of the nearby sites and attractions include a vast selection of rollercoasters, the Magic and Movie Hall of Fame and the Red Rock National Conservation Area. Las Vegas also has a selection of specialty shops and stores.

Attendees of the Medtrade West show are sure to find days full of discovering new and exciting products, making contacts and learning about new legislation, while the Las Vegas nightlife is sure to offer excitement making the three days worth the trek out west!

"Home Care is an industry always in a state of change and Medtrade West wants to make adapting to these changes easier and successful for every homecare company," Feuer said.

Medtrade Report Part 2

Home Health Products, Vol. 8, No. 4, p. 14-15.

This article originally appeared in the April 2000 issue of HME Business.

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