Editor's Note

The HME Industry's Back, Baby!

After months of lockdown, HME events and advocacy return with renewed vigor and energy.

David KopfWhat a difference 15 months make. A year and three months ago, I was just returning from a trip to attend Medtrade West 2020 in Las Vegas and the International Seating Symposium in Vancouver, B.C.

My journey unfolded right as the nation started to respond to HHS’s COVID-19 public health emergency in earnest, and to be honest, I wasn’t fully aware of how quickly our response would escalate. While HHS had first announced the PHE in January 2020, it wasn’t until March that cases and fatalities started to reach troubling levels.

At the beginning of the week, the world seemed slowed down, but not shut down: lots of open seats on the plane; no waits for cabs; empty Vegas streets. But other parts of the journey seemed normal: the connecting airport was full of people; the shows had typical traffic; we still had to wait for tables at restaurants.

However, the day before I returned home, various counties in California were starting to announce “shelter in place” orders. By the time my flight touched down, I got my car, and was back on the freeway, I felt like the Omega Man — no one was around. That kicked off what has to date been an uninterrupted stint of working from home.

But now, things are finally turning around. As I write this, we’re wrapping up the final loose ends for HMEB’s travel plans to Medtrade West (medtrade.com), which is slated for July 12-14 at Arizona’s Phoenix Convention Center, and it’s as though the industry hasn’t skipped a beat. The show is featuring a slew of all-day workshops, a robust conference agenda, and a jam-packed expo floor (see “Medtrade West Rides Again,” for a roundup of some key offerings that will be at the show).

And hot on that event’s heels, the Florida Alliance of Home Care Services (FAHCS; www.fahcs.us) will host its summer meeting Aug. 5-6 in Orlando; the Atlantic Coast Medical Equipment Services Association (ACMESA; atlanticcoastmesa.org) will hold its summer event Aug. 18-19 in Wrightsville Beach, N.C.; and the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers (CAMPS; campsone.org) has slated its Fall Conference for Sept. 8 in Long Beach, Calif.

Not too long after that, VGM’s 20th Heartland Conference (vgmheartland.com) runs Sept. 13-15 in Waterloo, Iowa, and that will be followed by Medtrade East (medtrade.com), which returns to Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center Oct. 18-20.

Plus, the industry is gearing up for an aggressive legislative agenda. As you’ll read in this month’s Observation Deck column from Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare (aahomecare.org), his association has laid the groundwork to leverage the gains made during the pandemic to drive a major push for Medicare reimbursement rates that reflect today’s post-acute care realities. AAHomecare is looking to score a big win, and you can help make it happen at this year’s Virtual Washington Legislative Conference (aahomecare.org/WLC), which is slated for Sept. 29.

COVID-19 meant a lot of change and a lot of work — and a lot of heartbreak — but it’s gratifying to watch the industry return, reinvigorated and reenergized. Let’s go!

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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