Medtrade Attendance Down; Attendees Flock to Educational Conferences

Attendance for Medtrade, the largest home medical equipment show, took a small hit this year. According to a report issued last week by VNU expositions, the producer of the show, a little more than 15,000 members of the home medical equipment community participated in the event. Last year's tally was 19,538. VNU also reported that the number of qualified buyers on the show floor was 9,021 — a 2.8 percent decrease from 2005.

Though industry concerns over current and pending legislation and regulatory actions likely kept many providers away, the educational conferences were well attended. In fact, maning on current issues, including accreditation, competitive bidding, and proposed decreases in mobility and oxygen product reimbursement, drew the largest crowds.

"It was evident by the strong attendance at the educational conference that attendees were in need of education on how to change their business models moving forward to survive and prosper in the HME industry," said Art Ellis, group vice president and show director of Medtrade for VNU Expositions. "The providers who are serious about staying in business know they have to make changes during these challenging times."

Many exhibitors on the show floor indicated to Home Health Products that while attendance seemed down from years past, the show definitely drew more decision-makers. Qualified buyers from all areas of the country met with exhibitors to determine which products, programs and services would best enable them to prosper in a changing environment.

Jim Miller, CEO and COO of Preferred Medical Devices, said that traffic had become steady by Thursday, the last day of the show. Despite a slow start, Miller was impressed by the quality of individuals attending the show, saying there were "more decision-making" attendees. "People are leaving with contracts," he said. "We've had more than 50 (signed) on the floor alone."

Medtrade 2006 took place Sept. 18-21 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Next year's show will take place Oct. 2-4 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Medtrade Spring 2007 is set for April 24-26 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of HME Business.


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