Medtrade Spring 2012: Exhibitors Still Betting on Optimism
LAS VEGAS,— As round two of competitive bidding marches on, is Medtrade still relevant? Will previous attendees hesitate to spend the time and money in 2012? Or will the survivor mentality kick in along with the thirst for knowledge?
The numbers show that exhibitors are betting on the industry’s familiar resiliency. Final square footage for all booths at last year’s Medtrade Spring amounted to about 57,000 square feet. This year, the figure will be just over 56,000.
“Slightly reduced space commitments may be a reaction to uncertainty over round two of competitive bidding, and that is understandable,” says Kevin Gaffney, CEM, group show director, Medtrade. “However, it is telling that the numbers are so close to last year. Despite the recent setback with the doc fix and the market pricing program—that still may replace competitive bidding—no exhibitors have chosen to back out of Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas.”
Kim Brummett, vice president, Contracting and Reimbursement, Advanced Home Care, High Point, NC, continues to endure round one of competitive bidding. As a longtime Medtrade attendee, she believes education helped her company survive to this point. “You could say that the significance of Medtrade goes up if competitive bidding is not stopped or replaced,” says Brummett. “Particularly when Medtrade in the Fall rolls around, those who are determined to survive will be thinking differently about business in general. Knowledge will be more important than ever.”
Ron Bendell, president, VGM & Associates, believes the face-to-face nature of trade show gatherings is still the best way to cement relationships and relay information. “We are exhibiting in the same 20’ by 30’ booth space as last year,” he says. “By the Medtrade Spring 2012 show, those that are in the round two areas will have completed their bids. If they haven’t started already, they need to prepare their businesses now, whether they win or lose those bids. Meeting face to face at Medtrade Spring, and Medtrade in the Fall, presents providers with an efficient opportunity to gather knowledge, so that they can prosper in these challenging times.”
Even those determined to remain in the Medicare business are beefing up retail operations, and Patricia O’Brien, director of Marketing, Golden Technologies, hopes that Medtrade Spring will allow her to connect with existing customers, as well as meet new ones. “Exhibiting at Medtrade and Medtrade Spring enables us to reach out to as much of the DME community as possible to help them learn new ways to grow their business, including innovative products and programs for retail cash sales,” says O’Brien from her Old Forge, Pa office. “Many DME providers from the western United States don’t travel to Atlanta for Medtrade. We want to make sure they are as well informed at the Las Vegas event as dealers are who attend in Atlanta.”
While acknowledging the resilient nature of the industry, John Shirvinsky, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers, Harrisburg, Pa, believes the effects of audits, lower reimbursements, and unsustainable prices may affect attendance. “Travel budgets will continue to be cut, and that will impact industry events, including Medtrade,” he says. “We are entering uncharted territory.”
Source: Greg Thompson