Friday, April 15, 2016

A Message from Shelly

The last thing I expected to hear was the question: “Shelly, where were you?” Several old friends have called and said they wanted to hear from me again.

I have slowed down a bit as I approach my 90th year! The good Lord has blessed both Thelma and me with longevity, and so I am excited to have been asked to share my “comments” once again, as I have done in the past.

I have very positive thoughts about the current leaders of our industry. As always, the best has risen to the top. We are so fortunate to have the “cream” professionals who are guiding our industry through an unsettled period. These good people, who are the leaders of the many DME associations, are each very active in protecting their members as well as all the dealers and professionals. No one is ignored!

This is our strength. This reflects all the members of DME and HME! They are involved and their hard work has created a strong and active industry! I am writing this because there still are many dealers sitting aside and not making their voices heard! I don’t understand why this has happened! I am asking that if you and your company are not currently a member of both your state and national DME association, get on board STAT!

You can no longer stand alone! There are so many things happening which can affect your operation. But, when you stand together with your associates, you will flourish! If, for any reason, you are not a member of both your state and national associations, join now!

If you need the numbers to call send me an e-mail ( and I will send all the information you need.

Thank you!


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!