Thursday, October 29, 2015


I probably should have stepped aside a long time ago, but I didn’t. I am so fortunate to have been able to make many nice friends. The best thing which can be said is that I am aware all of you have experienced the same.

Health care is a wonderful industry, since every participant understands they are working with people who are ill, incapacitated and too often, alone. When a “thank you” is received, we all have a tear in our eyes!

Thelma and I are close to 90 years old and we can look back to our experiences with the truly dedicated professionals with whom we have worked. “Health care” as we have seen it grow has developed into a major source to all those in need.

Now that we are retiring, it is with a great deal of satisfaction knowing there are so many fine people who are making “health care” their most important priority. They will continue to provide excellent guidance and direct the needy to where they must go.

Thelma and I are so proud when we see how many other people representing every factor of the health care industry who  have already  become active! Their participation reflects how we feel.

This makes it so much easier for us to step aside. Thank you all!


*Note from the Medtrade Team:  If you'd like to send Shelly any congratulatory emails, please send him a message at:  He would love to hear from you.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Over the Counter (OTC)

Pictured: Sheldon "Shelly" Prial - circa 1940.
Shelly grew up in the apartment building above the
drugstore his father owned in Brooklyn. When Shelly
helped in the store, he would always wear a white shirt
and a bow tie.
The goal of every DME/HME dealer is make additional over the counter (OTC) cash sales. The key to this success is how the store displays merchandise in the showroom. The best time to see how this is this done is when you visit a good department store. What they do can also be done by every DME/HME dealer. When they do this the OTC sales will grow!

When you visit any of the major stores, pay attention to how their store is brightly lit. Notice how every segment of the store is carefully identified, which guides people where to find what they seek. The customer locates each department and should find all related products brightly displayed. Then you will notice how each item is clearly price marked. There is no question because the customer will know where it is and what it will cost them. That is what how “Over the Counter" cash sales are developed!

One of the successful ways I saw this done was by advertising that there will be a special guest attending from 10:00AM until 3:00PM. This always helps fill the showroom. The “guest” was from one of your vendors and they always come bearing “gifts”. A caveat is to be sure you have enough employees present so every attendee will be monitored!

How often you do this is critical. When to do this is equally important: an anniversary, a holiday (Christmas, Easter, etc.). If you offer this too often it will lose its attraction!

However, when you plan this carefully, have sufficient trained sales people on the floor, and work with a key vendor, it should be successful!

Will you be attending Medtrade next week? Don't forget to pack your bow tie for Bow Tie Tuesday on October 27th, in honor of Shelly's retirement.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Van Miller

Van G. Miller, CEO and Founder of The VGM Group
Photo credit: HME News
We will all miss Van G. Miller!
His efforts built DME/HME into a major profession. As a consequence of Van’s hard work, today's dealers and providers have the same recognition as do pharmacists and nurses. Van was the leader necessary during his tenure and he accomplished much for the benefit of all of us. Van was the correct person at the right time, and today we all must be grateful for everything he did, not for himself, but for all of us!

Van was a very modest gentleman, and in his own quiet way, he accomplished a great deal. His word was his bond! I will miss him - we all will miss Van G. Miller; however, we must show our appreciation by continuing to further develop DME/HME in his image. His mark, The VGM Group, is reflected in our industry as the mark of high quality.
There is no better way to do things than to do them as Van did!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Get on Board!

Shelly shows his sense of humor as he poses for a photo
while reading the morning news (late 1960s).
It is reassuring when I see so many DME dealers getting involved and speaking up!

“There is a small percentage of us [HME providers] who are members of AAHomecare,”. “You need to be doing something, because it’s better than doing nothing. You need to be active and supporting folks who can help you. We’ve all had periods in our lives when we’ve just been doing the same thing over and over, and that doesn’t usually change anything. You have to be involved with your legislators.”
- Steve Ackerman, CEO of Spectrum Medical, Silver Spring.

If we all will "follow the leaders", we will bring about the changes we seek.

Grab your check book and send AAHomecare your financial support.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Biggest Coming Event

Shelly and Thelma Prial at their daughter Pam's wedding (1983).
Sometimes many things happen far too quickly, and before you realize it, they have arrived and are unresolved! I am referring to the pending Medtrade Exhibition where a multitude of questions and problems will be answered and resolved. There are so many problems which all seem to be happening simultaneously, making it even more imperative that every DME/HME dealer attend Medtrade!

Bring a key employee with you to Medtrade! There is so much activity scheduled that one person will not be able to participate in as many as they would like, and thus way too much knowledge will be left behind. As the reports reach my desk and I see how many new companies will be exhibiting, coupled with all that will be returning, I realize how vital and important it is for every DME/HME provider to be walking the floor and actively participating.

The classes and the lecturers at Medtrade are always a major attraction; together with your employees, you will double your efforts. After all, isn’t that why you will be there?

You will see working the floor, attending lectures and being active, all the successful DME/HME dealers. For them this is not a “holiday” but a major source of information and ideas for how to face the coming events. To them, this is an investment for the future

I was a boy scout about 75 years ago, and I learned I must always “be prepared”. These two words served me well when I was in the service and have never been lost. You too must always “be prepared”!
Use the promo code SHELLY when you register for Medtrade, and receive a Free Expo Pass!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sixty-Five Years

Shelly and Thelma Prial on their wedding day - July 2, 1950!
Sixty-five years may sound like a very long time. What happened 65 years ago was that Thelma and I got married. This really was nothing unusual; people were getting married all the time. The only difficulty we have today is that it feels like Thelma and I just met one another. That is how our life has been since the day we met! One great day after another, and for all of that we have to say “thank you".

Thelma and I were fortunate to have two children, a girl and a boy, and they each also have had two children, the same, a girl and a boy. In that fashion our family has flourished. This is how it is for everyone; it is perfectly normal to watch how the families all continue to grow. This is a gift for everyone and so once again I repeat a big “thank you” for all!

As I look back over these many years and I think about how often there were opportunities which I might have missed, but then I realize how many which I did experience. I am not at all disappointed. It is the same for all of us and as we age we will only remember the good and nice past we have had. We can sum this up by saying that whatever we chose was always good!

Many years ago I was invited to Virginia and met Max Goodloe, Chairman of General Medical. He offered me a position, which I accepted. I was now with a very rapidly growing organization for independent active DME dealers; I thought we would develop a new industry, and it happened.

The reason that I am writing this is that far too often, when I speak with peers, they are usually complaining. It appears that no matter what they may have accomplished, it was insufficient! I have no problem with that, because I do not keep score!

If everyone will look back over the years passed, they will see that only the good things, which have occurred, will be remembered. Your mind will wipe out many unpleasant happenings.

Be positive and do not hesitate to do anything you wish, as long as you do not infringe upon anyone else. This is what Thelma and I have tried to do for the past 65 years and have had some small success! All I can say is “Amen” and thank you!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why Medtrade?

I was recently asked this question by an old friend: “Why Medtrade?” Before I had a chance to answer, he went into a tirade. "This show is a waste of time and money," he said. So, I asked him why he was bothering to attend.

His answer was that Medtrade is where he could see his old friends. As he spoke, he casually mentioned that he also  made a couple of good deals with some exhibitors. I said, "That isn’t that reason enough to attend?" After a few seconds, he agreed.

I think that Thelma and I have been fortunate to have attended so many Medtrade Exhibitions, and we are always fascinated by the activity constantly taking place at all the displays. The dealers and the exhibitors are all working diligently to see what they can do for one another to increase sales and profits. Their success is why they are there!

There is an opportunity at the show to meet with all the vendors that you currently work with. This is important because they always bring new ideas to share with you. At Medtrade, you will find new opportunities to expand your operations. Another major benefit is meeting other vendors that you do not yet work with! How many new ideas and programs are presented at Medtrade, which will fit your operation? You will find many!

What you will find on the showroom floor is a vital. Coupled with that are the many classes and lectures which are available. I repeat this often: Bring key personnel with you so that you can get the most from the information presented by the speakers and presenters.
For a Free Expo Pass at registration, use the promo code SHELLY! Click here to register for Medtrade now.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Are You Ready?

Before you realize it, we will all be standing in the lobby in Atlanta waiting patiently for Kevin to cut the red ribbon, and Medtrade to open. All the exhibitors are waiting with open arms as the attendees start seeking whom to see first!

I have watched dealers come prepared with a list of those displays they want to see ASAP and others not to be missed. In that fashion, they are able to get much more accomplished at Medtrade. What always happens is we meet old friends and stop to chat and have a cup of coffee. Somehow the hours just fly by.

Your company makes a big investment to get you to Medtrade. Airfare, room and board, all add up to a good sum, so it is imperative to get a good return on this investment. Thelma and I always prepare a list of those return displays we wish to attend first and then line them up by location so we do not have to go back and forth. A wee bit of planning will make things much easier and more will be completed in the allotted time.

For most of us, this ability to meet with friends and associates at Medtrade is superb. Everyone attending has similar goals. Just be sure that you get to all the service booths such as AAHomecare and your state association to express your appreciation for the excellent work they accomplish. If your company is not a dues-paying member of these associations, become one at Medtrade. This is the best way to give your thanks.

Are you ready for Medtrade? Thelma and I are filled with anticipation.
If you still need to register for the show, use the promo code SHELLY to get your Free Expo Pass. Click Here to Register.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Never Walk Alone

As I study the various regulations with which our industry is coping, a melody keeps running through my head. In the musical carousel, the lyrics I hear are: “Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart; and you’ll never walk alone; you’ll never walk alone.” This was Oscar Hammerstein at his best, and today is when we must all have “hope in our hearts”.

To me, “hope” is a call to work. The time now is for all DME/HME providers to change their attitude from hope to work. Not every provider can win participation in a competitive bid. To my great surprise, a large number of providers, many more than anticipated, often do not submit a bid. They feel that if they are put into a situation where they receive a minimum reimbursement for supplies and services, they would not be able to properly maintain their companies.

I speak now to this great number of entrepreneurs who feel their DME/HME businesses could adapt in very short order and live without winning a bid. They would develop new disciplines and become very aggressive in building OTC cash sales. We agree with them 100%. Then, once again they will be able to provide the services their beneficiaries seek. The marketing changes they are now putting into place will make a big difference.
What I find most interesting is that those providers with whom I have spoken are all looking forward to working with AAHomecare and their state association. They plan to speak to as many vendors at Medtrade as possible to find new OTC cash sales that fit into their operations. These dealers will never “walk alone”; they will turn “hope” into a better means of existing and growing.

Monday, September 14, 2015


Every DME/HME dealer or provider has a big responsibility to their customers. They look to you for guidance and will usually follow your suggestions. This is a rather large obligation for you, so be careful how you accept it.
You are always responsible for what the next step should be! It's so important to put the right amount of thought into what you say next. Is it for an employee or is it to another person with a similar position to yours?
I try to look at things, before I address them, to see how I can offer a positive answer. Normally it would be suggesting what to do, but that is not always the case. There are difficulties that everyone must address, but you can't leave them hanging!
That is what “responsibility” is.  When you provide positive guidance, you are doing the correct thing. When you are trying to answer for someone else, that is wrong. Allow everyone to solve their own problems. That is the true meaning of responsibility!
In our industry there are many things available to assist you. Look at the great job AAHomecare does on your behalf. See how diligently the state DME associations campaign for your company.
To best way to sum this up is to say that it is your responsibility to become a dues-paying member of both your state DME association and AAHomecare!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Are You Prepared?

Have you made all the necessary arrangements to attend Medtrade this year? Sure, you reserved a hotel room and have tickets for transportation to and from, but that is not what I want to know. Is this going to be a jolly few days for you to meet friends, have good food and drinks and then return happily home, or are you attending to see what you can do to make your company grow even stronger and better?

I do not know how many Medtrade meetings Thelma and I have attended, probably all. Our goal was to see how many excellent contacts we could make to invite to become participants in the Home Care Dealers Co-op. We recognized nearly every attendee who was there and were able to seek the DME/HME dealers we felt would benefit the co-op. I cannot tell you how difficult this was because there were always several dealers in each market who exceeded our standards. Indeed DME/HME dealers are head and shoulders over those in other industries.

All of this leads to my question: "Are You Prepared?" 
Times have changed. If your company does not currently belong to your state DME association and AAHomecare, please get on board!

Thelma and I will be attending Medtrade in Atlanta this October, and it would be nice if you stopped us on the show floor to say “hello.”
The promo code SHELLY can be used for a Free Expo Pass when you register for Medtrade, if you have not yet done so.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Attending Medtrade

Special things invariably happen at the Medtrade meetings. I have worked with many DME/HME dealers and they always tell me how much they have learned which helps their company. You can obtain so much new and important information in a short period of time at Medtrade. This can be the equivalent to a month at a university.
At each booth there are vendors who will share their knowledge with you. They attend Medtrade bringing with them a multitude of ideas explaining how they can assist your operation. It is expensive for them to be there, so listen to what they have to tell you! I have been in this industry for many years and I still learn a great deal more as I visit the vendors. They bring so much information that is not available elsewhere else. You should really make it a point to speak with someone at every display!
I repeat this every time I speak or write about Medtrade: “Attend as many classes and lectures as possible.”
The amount of knowledge, new ideas, law and order, buying and marketing - everything you must know to run a successful company is there. You can pick and chose those which are applicable for you!
It is almost impossible to attend every class, so bring your key employee (or employees). The staff you bring to Medtrade will realize this is a reward and will return with new ideas. This alone can be sufficient ROI.
If you still need to register for Medtrade in Atlanta, October 26-29, 2015, use the promo code SHELLY at registration to get a Free Expo Pass. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Is it the Truth?" - Ask Your Elected Officials

When I was active in Rotary, we opened every meeting with the phrase: “Is it the truth?”
As I watch TV and read in newspapers, there are many things promised by candidates seeking election. This has been going on for generations! I even recall a candidate for President who promised “a chicken in every pot” if he was elected. He wasn’t.

When I meet a politician, I invariably ask what they plan to do about care for the elderly. Do they want to change how healthcare is provided today? Will they increase the number of recipients? Are there sufficient funds available to accomplish any major changes? This is the business we are in, so seeking support for the needy is vital!

More funds are necessary to bring about the changes necessary to develop better coverage, but these dollars are not always available. This has been a problem for generations. I am pleased to see today there is more efficiency. This happens because the involved providers are becoming much more effective!

The answers I hear reflect in the title of this article! I hear words and I see more action to make them a reality. The time has come and we now must ask our elected officials about the promises they made. Promises don’t buy lollypops! Is it the truth? I want to see action!

To accomplish things, write your requests and then get as many people who feel the same to add their names. When I have done this, I always received an answer! Invariably it is a positive response.
This is why the United States is so great. People care!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I am always filled with much anticipation while waiting for an upcoming Medtrade exhibition, and have never been disappointed! Please send my congratulations to the team that works so hard! That has been proven by the large number of DME/HME dealers and associates who attend annually.

This year, with so much confusion in our industry, I anticipate this will be a most important convention. Here is where my anticipation is to meet many old friends and at the same time make new ones! There are very few places where this can happen. Is it anticipation or contemplation that you feel prior to the show? I am always filled with expectation as I prepare for Medtrade.

You must attend well prepared. Write down the questions you need answered. Bring members of your staff and together you will receive much more information.

The cost of attending Medtrade has always had a fantastic ROI (return on investment). Make that investment! It is a win-win opportunity! Thelma and I plan to be there, and we ask that you also participate, as we do, prepared to seek answers!
To receive a Free Expo Pass, register for Medtrade using the promotional code: SHELLY.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Is it the Truth?

I am really concerned that “the truth” in what people tell us is no longer heard. I find this very disconcerting because being close to 90 years old, I have always believed that the majority of people do not utter falsehoods. The sudden change from that reality to what is currently spoken appears to be just a “convenient” way to deliver a message, but is that correct?

So I ask: “Why has this happened? Where did the truth go?”

I was capable of building several very successful businesses with associates, always using only a handshake as our contract. In the early 1950’s I opened several pharmacies, each with a partner. This was done with a handshake! Each was more successful than we ever anticipated. My how times have changed? Can this still be done in that fashion today?

One of my close friends is a retired priest. We both are the same age and have discussed why veracity has faded away. It appears that TV, radio and newspapers are all required to deliver current news. Yet a different slant from each is presented because they believe expressing their opinion is a vital part of what they wish to accomplish!

What disturbs me most is listening to the candidates who are campaigning diligently to run our country? They seem to feel that they can shout “anything” they like and they certainly do! These politicians are screaming many outrageous words! How much of the truth has vanished? Can we believe them? No way!

I know that most American citizens are very aware of honesty and will act accordingly. I have great faith is the United States, and I am sure we will not listen to some of the “bull cookies” that are being shouted at us. American citizens will always give their support to those who tell the truth!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Be Careful Before You Speak

Whatever you do or say will always follow your footsteps. It is imperative that your words never hurt you or negatively affect your reputation. I say this because when I look back, I see far too many people who have fallen out of favor because of their big mouths. They did not think before they spoke!

The same care is important when you write! I try very hard not to offend anyone with my articles. Yet, despite all the care I take, I have made several blunders! Yes, I have eaten my share of “humble” cake.

I will retire officially after Medtrade this October. No more “Shelly Sez” or other items from me. There is a fabulous group of people who send out so much good information, as well as advice, and I am pleased. Listen to them! Read and study what they say. This new generation is the “cream of the crop!”

There are so many people now entering our industry. Often their only goal may be just to see how much money they can make, rather than become true leaders. Our industry should be very proud of what our trade organizations bring them. We have the finest!

AAHomecare is so important! Please give them your full support by becoming a dues paying member! When I hear what they say and see how hard they work, I do not have enough words about what they mean for every DME/HME dealer.

Belong to your state DME association, belong to AAHomecare. If you are not currently a member, JOIN! I have a good idea of how many DME/HME companies are in the United States, so get on board STAT!

If you still need to register for Medtrade, please do so with the promo code SHELLY to get a Free Expo Pass. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Growing Old

“Growing old is so darn unappealing until you consider the alternative.” David Baldacci - Hour Game.

I have used this quote because it reflects what I do believe. In my career, I have always worked with so called "senior" citizens. When you work with them, you will discover they are both agreeable and they can contribute a great deal.

Now that I am a “senior citizen,” I am sure that I understand the role I played in the many things I did! I have always worked with the seniors in my community because the “Thank You” I received was worth far more than worth the effort. Today I try to do the same with everyone I work with! When Thelma and I look back at the many different employees who made our company function, we consider that we were blessed. We always had a superb staff supporting us!

Perhaps we older folks may not work with the speed that some younger folks do, but it is end results that count. Thelma and I were very fortunate to have found two young ladies in the local high school that would come in every afternoon for an hour or two. With their efforts on our behalf, so much was accomplished daily! God Bless the younger generation because they soon will become us!

The young folks today all seem to fill the void in every office with big smiles and make the work day finish quickly. I am sure that you all can make a small investment in this fashion, which will pay off with a great big return.

But, always keep your eye open for some of the senior citizens as well. Never sell us short! Do not consider us as “mom and pop” and they will then accomplish more than you ever expected!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Do It Now

I have learned over the years when you have a good idea or thought, it's important to “act on it.” I have received phone calls from many friends and readers who have shared with me their plans, but they often did not act to accomplish them! This should never happen! You should all have the courage to follow through when you have an idea and then you will be very pleased with the results!

Many years ago, Thelma and I had a plan about developing a cooperative where dealers could share ideas with one another. We built this into a very effective program. It was the birth of the Home Health Care Dealers Co-op! If any of you former members see this memo, please send us a note (! We are planning to attend Medtrade and perhaps we can meet you there?

As a major project of the Co-op, every week we sent a mailing to all the participants with the many ideas and thoughts that came to our attention. Now when we go to meetings, we still see some of our friends from those days. They comment on how enjoyable this program was for them and how they really miss sharing things with one another.

Always share your ideas, because for every one who learns from you, reflect what you have received and shared with them. Each profit from this effort!

We received e-mail this morning from one of our old friends and are “doing” this as an answer “now.” Why? Because we love when we hear from any of you and we make every effort to acknowledge this STAT! We were “asked” to share this with our readers and I say “thank you” and we are reacting ASAP.

Please keep the e-mails coming; they mean so much to both Thelma and I.

If you still need to register for Medtrade, please use the promotional code SHELLY to get your Free Expo Pass!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Information, Please

In order to do anything successfully, a great deal of information is always necessary. It does not matter what, who, or when! It basically means being aware of what you are trying to accomplish and that which is involved as you strive to reach your goal.

Many years ago, when one of my grandchildren was writing “thank you” notes after his birthday, I offered to help him. He said: “No, thank you, Grandpa, it has to be in my words.” I will never forget this response.  With the correct information, you will always successfully complete whatever you try to do! He had the correct approach - so do you!

My grandson knew responsibility. Today, many years later he is very successful. I am so proud of him! Whatever you may be addressing, you must have sufficient information so that your efforts will never be in vain. When you go shopping for food in a supermarket, or are looking to purchase a new vehicle at an automobile dealer, you require the same information.

When Thelma goes to the supermarket, she takes a list of the items that she requires. Like most men, when I go to pick up one or two things, a loaf of bread or a bottle of milk, if they are not written down, somehow I manage to bring home more than just one bag of food! Having the correct information will save you a lot of dollars. The same applies when you shop for anything!

Here is some important information for you:

1.) Have you made reservations to attend Medtrade?

2.) Have you chosen which employee or employees you will bring with you?

Do it now, do not procrastinate! The way things are rapidly developing; I can only say that this year will probably be the biggest and the best Medtrade ever! Will Thelma and I see you there? We hope so!
Please use the promo code SHELLY when registering for Medtrade, and receive a Free Expo Pass!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


From the day I was discharged from the army (in 1946) until now, I have always been working with other people. I make every effort to stay as busy as possible! Whether my activities were business related or personal, I usually accomplished them via a simple handshake. I never looked for or had a contract. That was why I shook hands. This confirmed what we agreed!

I now can look back with a great deal of pride because of the many wonderful people with whom I have worked. I am truly blessed when I see so many of those fine folks are still active today. They are continuing to provide their skills to maintain our industry.

I admire all the work Tom Ryan accomplishes daily. What is even more satisfying is to know that so many others are working as diligently as they can with him! We are extremely fortunate in that these great numbers of people are still willing to share their skills and knowledge for the benefit of all.

You, as a DME/HME provider, do not need a contract to “get on board” to maintain our industry! When you are a member of AAHomecare and your state DME association, that becomes your “contract”. Every dealer or provider not only has to pay their dues, but they are also asked to write letters and make telephone calls to congressmen and other elected representatives.

You realize when your voice is not heard it is of little value. But when your employees and staff join with you, this makes your voice difficult to be ignored. There is a great deal that must be completed between now and Medtrade in Atlanta. Be sure you stay on top and follow the leaders. When we all do that we will be successful!
Register for Medtrade with the promo code SHELLY to get your Free Expo Pass.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Thought for Today

The Associated Press has a "Thought for Today” column in my daily newspaper. One day they quoted Emily Dickinson, who passed away on 5/15/86: “Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes.” We all do this without any hesitation, don’t we?

It is difficult for me not to make an answer STAT when I hear a comment that I do not agree with. However, I have learned; and it took me a long time to wait a few seconds before responding! We all must respect what other people say, and not question what they said without thinking first! When we all will do the same, then usually a good response can be made.

For more than sixty-five years I have been active in "home health care"! After the fighting ceased in 1945, I was in Berlin helping to run the pharmacy at the 279th Station Hospital. What I saw and learned there has been with me all my life. When you are a cog on a wheel and everyone does his or her best, it succeeds! It is “team-work” that makes things work! None of us stands alone!

DME/HME dealers and providers must each participate by becoming dues paying members of our industry's
 associations. They make things happen. I have been repeating this in one form or another all my life! You have to support those associations who work so diligently for you: both your state DME association and AAHomecare.

I would like to see many more dealers become dues paying members. When I see the fantastic things the associations are able to accomplish now and then I think how much more they would be able to do with more members. Why does any DME/HME dealer hesitate to get on board? Your accountants preach ROI, return on investment. Ask your accountants what “getting on board” will do for you! They will tell you how important that is for your company.

Monday, July 13, 2015


One thing is constant: It is always “today”.
How much you can accomplish in one day? That is how this should be approached. In school, I was taught that we should write down what we planned to do and then as new things developed just add them to the list. This always worked for me!

Over the years I have heard many people talk about the beautiful plans they have constructed for the future. When I next run into them and ask, “How did your plan go?” Too often I was told it didn’t! Their plan got lost in transit. How sad that is.

Today is the present day! So if you do not do what you planned STAT, remember there is never a tomorrow!

When I speak to many DME/HME dealers, I often ask if they belong to AAHomecare and their State Association. If I did not get a positive response, invariably the answer was: “Gosh, I just didn’t get around to it yet!” That would not happen if you did it today. Remember, these organizations work for you, and the more companies who join, the more things they can accomplish.

In the last ten years, I have had the privilege of speaking with many successful DME/HME dealers. I can say without any hesitation that each and every one of them accomplished their goals because they understood that things must be done today! When you do the same, you will build a most energetic and successful operation!

Thelma and I are planning to attend Medtrade in the fall. This will be our last visit. After the show, we will spend the rest of the time allotted to us with our grandchildren. I will not be a speaker. I will be a guest! Thelma and I will be there to see all of our friends! We consider every attendee to be friend. When you see us meandering about, PLEASE say, “Hello, Shelly!"
For a Free Expo Pass, register for Medtrade using the promotional code: SHELLY. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My Final Medtrade

I would like to share with you a piece composed by the very talented Greg Thompson, Medtrade Media Relations, and author of many of the articles found in the Medtrade Monday emails. He eloquently tells some of my story, much of which my readers may already know. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it!
Shelly Prial Will Make 2015 His Final Medtrade

ATLANTA, July 7, 2015 Sheldon (Shelly) Prial has been to all but one Medtrade, and the 88-year-old HME legend has decided to make this year’s show his last. As Medtrade Ambassador for many years, Prial and his wife Thelma have come to represent the sense of community that Medtrade is all about.

“Shelly knows the HME and pharmacy worlds better than anyone,” says Kevin Gaffney, group show director, Medtrade. “Shelly knows everyone and everyone knows him. He is the best Medtrade ambassador we will ever have, and he can’t be replaced. All that said, he’s not done yet, and we look forward to seeing him and Thelma at Medtrade this year.” 

For those who don’t know a lot about Shelly, he is a WW II veteran who was initially turned down by the the Army because he could only see out of one eye. He eventually volunteered again and took the test with his right eye twice.

Almost 70 years later, Shelly still talks of the eye test deception with a measure of guilt. The fib eventually led him overseas where he was assigned to be a demolition man in the 252 Combat Engineers. “This required me to work with sticks of dynamite,” he remembers, “and I am by nature rather clumsy.”

Just 20 years old when he got out of the Army, he went back to school, eventually earning his Bachelor of Science degree and becoming a Registered Pharmacist in 1950. A year before graduation (1949), Shelly reluctantly agreed to go to a party that would change his life.

“My best friend invited me and I said, ‘No, I’m working tomorrow and Sunday,’” muses Shelly. “One of the reasons he invited me was because I had a green 1940 Buick Convertible with red leather seats. I finally said yes, so we went in my vehicle to this party. That’s when I met Thelma, who’s sorority was there.

“I said, ‘Let’s stay a little later and help clean up,” continues Shelly. “When we got back, I said, ‘Stanley, I’m marrying Thelma.’ He told me I was out of my mind, and I said, ‘No, I’m serious.’ We got married eight months later.”

On July 2, 2015, Shelly and Thelma (both New York natives) will celebrate 65 years of marriage. “Nobody in this whole world has ever had a better spouse than I,” says Shelly. “She and I have been one person for all of these years. With our children, we always worked together. When I built my pharmacies, she was there all the time. It was never me alone, or her alone.”

Say hello to Shelly at this year’s Medtrade, scheduled for Oct 26-29, 2015. Click the link below to register for Medtrade 2015.
Greg Thompson
Medtrade Media Relations
(970) 206-0071 (office); (970) 227-1002 (cell);

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why Medtrade?

When our children were younger and we asked them a question, often the answer was, “Why?" As our offspring grew, we provided guidance when they asked for explanations. We didn’t know what they were thinking or if our request was being evaded.
The same applies to attendance at Medtrade. I am sure that we all appreciate the importance of this meeting. This is where the future for your company can be extended. It is too easy to sit back and wait to see what the future holds. It is so much better to take steps forward so that your company will benefit from the many vacillations that happen daily.
DME/HME is a very active business! Alterations can happen so quickly and when you are not aware, they will pass right by you! When Thelma and I were running our company, we had a rule that all responses had to be answered STAT. By responding as quickly as possible, we developed a great deal of loyalty. We also supplemented these with a memo by repeating what was done. Today you can do this with your computer. But although times have changed, a timely response is still critical.
You cannot buy loyalty - You have to earn it! The Medtrade Exhibition has proven to be the one most important meeting available for every DME/HME dealer. Where else can one meet with so many peers and exhibitors, or attend classes and lectures, all in one place? This is where loyalty pays off! I cannot tell you how many follow-ups Thelma and I experienced after each Medtrade, for it was many!
What we always did was take one or two members of our staff with us. Your company should do the same. Whatever it may cost to bring a staff member, it always pays off. This develops loyalty from your customers and the recognition by the vendors is huge. 
So why Medtrade? I think you know the answer!
Early Registration for Medtrade is still in effect. Register Now to take advantage of substantial savings.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Medtrade 2015

Thelma and I are looking forward to the excitement of Medtrade in Atlanta this year. We have had the privilege of attending nearly all of these exhibitions, including those in the West. It is difficult to put into words our appreciation of these assemblies. Every attendee is important, and I truly enjoy walking through the showroom just to say “hello” to so many friends.

Since we both are rapidly approaching our 90th year, we have made the decision this will be the last Medtrade we will attend. I am thrilled to say that there are so many really fantastic leaders who provide so much superb guidance so that our industry can continue to expand.
My small contribution has been to say “thank you” to all of the hard working AAHomecare and state DME association members who invariably do such a good job. Please do the same when you see them at Medtrade, and also tell them how much you too appreciate their efforts on your behalf.

Looking at what has been accomplished in the period, just from Tom Antoine to Tom Ryan, the results have been better than those of any other profession! When I am able to see so any attendees, conversing at each booth, I stop to ask myself: “What they can do together?” The answer is so satisfying.

Bring with you as many members of your team as possible. There are so many things to see, people to speak with, and deals to be made that you need your team to be there with you.

We must not forget to compliment Medtrade Show Director Kevin Gaffney and his team for making the show such a pleasure to attend. All a dealer has to do is show up. As the attendees walk in, everyone and everything is prepared and waiting for them. What a massive task this is, and I say, “Thank you.”
We will see you there!
Early Registration for Medtrade is Now Open!
Register for Medtrade before July 7, and save up to $75 on the Expo, and more than $200 on the Conference!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wendell Willkie

Sometimes I get the impression that people who we have elected to guide our country are not real leaders! It seems that our politicians are all “employed” by some of the people who helped them “buy” an election. I know that is not totally true, but on occasion, this is the impression I get. One of the unsung heroes that I greatly admire was a man called Wendell Willkie!

My interest in government came about at an early age. In 1940, Wendell Willkie was nominated to run against Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  He beat out Thomas E. Dewey! 1940 was a very critical year. There were dictators in Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan. The United States still had not returned to “normal” from the Great Depression. Europe was at war, and most Americans did not want the country to get involved in a world war. However we did when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor!

When FDR was elected as president of the United States, he made big decisions and invited Willkie to join forces with him. Willkie was very popular and well liked. I often wonder if the United States would have gotten into WW2 had Willkie been elected. He was very active after the Pearl Harbor attack of December, 1941, and President Roosevelt appointed Willkie as a special representative for the United States. He travelled all over the world to visit the American troops.         

In no way do I want to cast any fault on FDR; he did a superb job, as a member of a family that has well served the United States for many generations. But I often think how different it might have been if Willkie did the negotiating with Churchill and Stalin.

Germany was a Nazi country. They had only one goal: Conquer Europe, England, Russia and then the U.S. Their theme song was, “Today Germany, tomorrow the world!”  For a short while it looked like they might make it.  Prior to the U.S. getting into the war, German submarines sank a great number of American ships.

Willkie became a special “representative”, visiting the troops and our allies. When I read about the many different ways that Wendell Willkie served the United States it makes me proud. What has made our Country so great is that we have had many “Wendell Willkie’s” and to them I say, “Thank you.”

Monday, June 15, 2015


When you walk through the storm, hold your head up high and don't be afraid of the dark."

I can no longer recall when I first heard these words. I will tell you that they are etched in my heart! Thelma and I made every effort to see as many of the musical shows on Broadway we could when we lived in New Jersey. We could get there and find a convenient parking space in a half hour. We were fortunate because that luxury can no longer be found.

Today DME/HME companies do not need to “walk alone”. It is so important for every dealer to work with the organizations who will insure that no matter what may appear, they will help your company participate and continue to flourish.

We received a few requests asking us, “to whom” you are referring? AAHomecare and your state DME associations is the answer! There is no one else who can do for your company what they can!

When I hear how many DME/HME dealers currently belong to each, I am pleased. However, when I realize how many do not, I am shocked. There is no excuse for a DME/HME dealer NOT to pay dues and work with them.

When I read both HME News and HomeCare Magazine, I find everything reported that you should know, follow, and support. I ask one thing more: Do you say, “thank you” or sit back and say, “that’s nice.” You cannot say, “penny spent is penny lost”, because every penny invested in your company's future will guarantee that you will have a future!”

If you currently are not subscribing to these publications, DO SO NOW. Never be a “Freddy, the free loader!” This small amount of dollars, so minute, will help you to stay in business.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

We Need Help!

My writing these blogs and trying very hard not to be boring has been a challenge. Most of the material I have composed and spoken about over the years has been prepared as a consequence of your comments. This “Shelly said” method has developed and has been providing a great deal of pleasure for Thelma and I. Please keep calling us (843-572-6568) and sending e-mails. We need your help (

The problem I have to remember is that times have changed and so have the people! Our industry is so much stronger than it has ever been because of the fine companies which have developed. Yes, it is true, the “cream always floats to the top”!

What makes this growth so special is that many different factors have been involved. The industry associations are in the center, maintaining communication and blending their supporters together into a well-organized team. The vendors do not hesitate to give their support, and the efforts of the excellent industry publications have also been fantastic.
This is what I have always referred to as a “team.” This means that not only joining each of these teams and paying dues, but also soliciting every friend you know to also get involved! They need your help and you really need them to stay solvent!

We need your help, and I request you to speak with other dealers to help build more local teams. I saw several DME/HME principals work together and they were able to get their message to Congress. They were able to bring the office manager of their legislator to attend with them at a Medtrade meeting. This should be replicated throughout the country. Your state DME association and AAHomecare need your help. Get on board!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


As I get closer and closer to my 90th birthday, I have a tendency to look back and reflect. Just thinking about how the annual Medtrade meetings have developed each year reminds me of how our industry has so greatly expanded. We now need both a spring show in Las Vegas and the big show in Atlanta in the fall. Medtrade exhibitions are now playing to a full house. Progress!

The necessity for every DME/HME provider to have a convenient place to go to for the Medtrade experience is vital. It is relatively easy for DME/HME dealers, east or west of the Mississippi to travel to these events. With an exhibition floor that is filled with both exhibitors and attendees, Medtrade has become the biggest magnet attracting both vendors and dealers.

When I question exhibitors, I invariably hear similar answers. The key is that many dealers in one or two days are walking by, looking at the displays, and determining which new items for OTC cash sales are appropriate. For the exhibitors' sales people to see a huge number of participants is their key to success. The dealers like to be at Medtrade because this is where they can work with decision makers at each display. I watch them writing orders, which might not have been found by a travelling sales person.

When I was on the road, it was unusual for me to see more than 3 or 4 dealers in one day. At Medtrade, I will meet with many different companies. This is just one of the reasons why the Medtrade meetings are always so attractive! Vendors and dealers have a place to speak, make deals, and write orders!

When you attend, make every effort to bring as many staff members as possible. This small expenditure can have a very nice return on your investment (ROI). Make your hotel reservations early to get the best prices and order the airline tickets, again for the same reason.

Will we see you in Atlanta? Early registration for Medtrade in Atlanta will begin on June 22nd - Thelma and I are making our plans now!

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Little History

I have accumulated a great deal of interesting history about our DME/HME industry. I really know that Tom Antone was one of the first leaders, and to him we still owe a great deal of gratitude. He began many of the programs that we are all following today. Our profession is so fortunate today to have another Tom guiding all of us once again: Tom Ryan.

When you review the list of people that have led us after Tom Antone’s term ended, you will get the same feeling I did. DME/HME has been so fortunate to have the many fabulous people who have done so much. Today DME/HME has the same recognition as do other health professionals: MD, Pharmacy, Nursing, etc. I am so impressed by how this has developed.

The work that AAHomecare and the state DME Associations do along with the other support groups like VGM and MED is truly spectacular. We are so fortunate to have them. This all happened because of how they began under the guidance Tom Antone and those who followed his lead.

I found a quote from Tom Antone, which is as applicable today as it was in 1999: “This industry can survive because demand will grow. It just can't be the same industry.”
At that time Tom Antone headed the National Association for Medical Equipment Services. Brilliant!

Consider how important the annual Medtrade meetings in Atlanta and Las Vegas are to the growth of your companies! Then say, “THANK YOU,” and count your blessings.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Do You Belong?

I have always been impressed by the many ways DME/HME people respond to unanticipated problems. No one ever seems to react the same way! It makes no difference who you are, where you work, or where you live. Things always constantly appear to be “happening". But, how you respond to any of these difficulties, which can affect your future?
Think before you react!

Never try to be a “one-person” team. Within our industry there are a multitude of diverse associations with whom to join forces. I am rapidly closing in on my 90th birthday, and I have never stood alone. Invariably I have belonged to appropriate industry associations which have helped me along the way.

Belonging and participating with peers will allow your company to continue to stay on growth and be profitable. These associations have built teams of “professionals” and they are to whom you should go for guidance. They know so much about the industry, and are always happy to work with you. That is the service they offer!

So now, once again, I ask: “Do you belong?” The cost of membership in the appropriate business associations is negligible. Your accountant writes the cost off. You will receive an ROI that is phenomenal!

Thelma and I opened our first Pharmacy in early 1950s. The first thing we did was joining our state and national associations. The guidance they provided enabled our pharmacy to grow more rapidly than we ever anticipated. Our DME/HME business grew and we became members of the associations who today serve such an important role.

AAHomecare and the state DME associations are a reflection of the industry and are the backbone of our profession. Do you belong?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mal Mixon

Invacare Chairman Mal Mixon
Our industry must say, "Thank you," to Mal Mixon for the many years of hard work he has performed on our behalf! The recognition of DME/HME as a vital portion of healthcare came about as a consequence of Mal bringing this information to the public! DME/HME is an important segment for the care and health of all citizens! Thank you for your efforts, Mal!

As Mr. Mixon toured the United States, he spoke at many meetings and delivered his message identifying “home care” as a profession. Well, it happened! DME/HME became a recognized profession!

I recall, so many years ago, when I changed the direction my pharmacy was taking to develop new “Home Care” volume. I remember when I sold my first wheelchair as an OTC cash sale. This was the beginning of a new career for me in DME/HME. Yes, I owe an additional thank you to Mal.

Mal Mixon will be presented with AAHomecare's Legislative Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award at the Washington Legislative Conference. He certainly has earned this recognition.

All I can say now is how much I personally appreciate all of the efforts and work Mal has accomplished on behalf of every DME/HME provider. He has lead the way.

Please join with me and say how much you appreciate his accomplishments with a big "THANK YOU, MAL MIXON!!"