Medtrade West Marks Industry's Return from COVID

Providers return to the western edition of Medtrade, held at the Phoenix convention center July 12-14, which brought a sense of familiarity, as well as some new features and fine tuning.

After 15 long months in COVID-19 lockdown, members of the HME industry in western states got a moment to remove their masks and meet in person this week at Medtrade West, which was held July 12-14 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Medtrade West 2020, which ran March 3-5 last year, marked the industry’s last major in-person event before the nation’s COVID-19 public health emergency took a more dire turn. So it felt somewhat appropriate that Medtrade West 2021 be the first major in-person industry event as the country returns to normality.

“We made it,” said York Schwab, associate show director of Medtrade, on the first day of the event. “I’m so glad to see everyone, and I think we’re all glad to be back together in person, getting back to business, making those individual connections, and getting back to normal.”

That said, while the sense of relief and a return to normal was a regular topic of conversation on the show floor, the event did see some changes.

Apart from the new home in Phoenix, Medtrade West schedule the educational sessions and expo hours so that they no longer overlap with one another. Monday, July 12, was devoted to workshops and educational sessions. July 13 hosted educational sessions during the day, with a Preview Night of the expo running in the evening. Wednesday, July 14, kicked off with the return of the American Association for Homecare Update, and the rest of the day was devoted to the expo.
 
At the AAHomecare Update, which was sponsored by HME Business, the association returned to a new format that debuted at Medtrade West 2020. in which HMEB interviewed members of the association staff on various topics, with the audience also asking questions during regular Q&A intervals.

Update topics included:

  • AAHomecare President and CEO Tom Ryan spoke on the Philips recall and how the industry can make the most of the value it brought to American healthcare during the pandemic.
  • Senior Vice President of Public Policy Jay Witter discussed key legislative issues in play right now and how the industry can advance them.
  • Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Kim Brummett discussed expected next steps in competitive bidding, CMS’s proposed oxygen NCD, and audits.
  • Vice President of Payer Relations Laura Williard explained what the industry needs to do in regard to Medicaid MCO plans, discussed why the industry is refighting some Medicaid rate cut battles, and provided info on new relief fund opportunities at the state and local level through the American Rescue Plan. 

(To learn more about some of three top-line topics from the update, listen to the latest HMEB Podcast episode.)
 
Eventually, Medtrade West had to come to an end, and while the in-person event marked a welcome return to normal for everyone, they were also eager to pack their bags, head to Phoenix Sky Harbor or hit the interstate, and return home.

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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