Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Through Shelly's Spectacles: Medtrade 2012 Consumer Advocacy

Since the very first exhibition held in Atlanta some 33 years ago, I have had the good fortune to watch and see how Medtrade has grown and expanded. There has never been a venue where DME/HME providers could attend and then return home filled with so many good ideas and opportunities.

I will share my thoughts for those who missed Medtrade and also add to what the attendees participated in the next blog or two. This year was a giant step forward for all of the participants as well as the industry: CONSUMER ADVOCACY!

Prior to cutting the ribbon for the opening of the exhibition there was a meeting of the “Power for Funding” committee, Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) spoke about the bill he has introduced for MPP (we must all work to get this through Congress) to replace the existing Competitive Bid legislation.

Show Director Kevin Gaffney then opened the hall and many of us headed directly to the Advocacy Pavilion. Every comment I heard about this was a “thank you” for setting aside the space and allowing this to be built. Yes, it was that impressive.

A bit about the pavilion. In the educational Learning Destination feature called "Homecare Works! The Path to Better Affordable Healthcare."  It was full-scale home display with four lovely docents walking groups of attendees though and explaining each of the displays.  In the home, each room included products from various manufacturers in the setting they would actually be used.  As a reward at the end of the tour, they were offered a “hot dog” with trimmings. The backside of this exhibit had very important Consumer Advocacy associations present, each there to explain their role.  To name a few: United Cerebral Palsy, Shepherd Center, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Muscular Dystrophy Association, COPD and others.

The major sponsor in building the Advocacy Pavilion was MK Battery. Philips Respironics and others joined Medtrade with them. When I saw how these companies and their staffs worked so closely together, I can state unequivocally that the future of our industry is superb. I must add my thank you for all that MK Battery has accomplished in the last few years. They made this Advocacy Day a success.

Wayne Merdinger, VP, MK Battery told me this is part of their effort to bring together more cooperation between providers and consumer advocacy associations. Keith Durni on behalf of Philips Healthcare echoed the same.

I recommend that every DME/HME provider offer “Consumer Advocacy Days” in their community. By building this, you will help make some great solutions locally. Your customers can join us in the efforts to bring the MPP legislation to Congress and get it passed. Yes, our industry has a lot at stake. We must be successful! Please follow the leaders, your state and national associations.

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