Medtrade Atlanta 2014: Contemporaneous Changes

Date Published: November 06 2014

One of the overall themes I brought away from Medtrade this year was that there are a lot of people out there in the DME industry trying to “do things right.” Asking good questions. Tasking themselves and their staffs at Medtrade with learning about new products, processes and solutions.

At our booth, face-to-face specialists were pleased with how responsive providers were to our new solutions for their referral sources to obtain accurate and complete paperwork. There seemed a different and distinct energy in the air; an air of empowerment and seeking knowledge of how to deal with new laws and regulations, and less fear about what was coming around the next corner. People like to be “in the know.” For most it gives them a sense of control to know the specifics regarding the laws and coverage determinations which they strive to meet.

The educational sessions I attended also bore this same vibe – the face-to-face rule update given by Andrea Stark, reimbursement consultant with MiraVista, was a standing room only crowd, full of DME providers reviewing the nuances of a law that has been in place for 18 months, with rapt attention. A cruise apparel session with Mike Sperduti, CEO and founder of Emerge Sales, revealed another theme pervading the conference floor this year: out with the old and in with the new. An engaging Thursday session by Wayne van Halem, President of the van Halem Group, and Pam Colbert, vice-president, encouraged DME providers to be proactive and gave specific how-to examples that they could immediately apply. Just like on the conference floor, good questions flowed in the educational sessions between participants and speakers; questions that showed more embracement and confidence in the current DME industry climate.

I further realized the large chasm to change that exists in the industries of my background (law and accounting) to those of the DME industry, may be narrowing. If there is a new change to an accounting regulation or new legal statute enacted, almost instantaneously there are seminars, guides and media resources exclaiming the importance of adhering to the new law and the dangers of failing to do so. From my perspective, the DME industry in general has historically lagged far behind in responsiveness to change, where delays to newly enacted laws are the norm, and not the exception (the face-to-face rule for DME is a perfect example). That’s one huge reason that I feel many in the DME industry were surprised and taken aback when the rash of audits appeared from the past several years – CMS, through independently hired contractors, finally followed through on enforcement of documentation regulations, which was completely contrary to the laissez faire attitude that has existed from years past. With the numbers and eagerness with which people attended the educational seminars at Medtrade this year, I’m of the mindset that the “reaction chasm to change” is narrowing between the DME industry and other industries.

As I had the opportunity to attend all three days of Medtrade, I may have enjoyed and noticed some things that other attendees may not have had the chance, as many attendees only attended a single day. Of particular note, the U.S. Power Soccer game demonstration was pretty cool. The players exhibited teamwork, measured fearlessness and pride, which are traits you find in many winning organizations. I also thought it brilliantly illustrated how important and individualized DME is to the end users. The Medtrade new product board display in the exhibit hall was also a good idea. I’m not sure if each Medtrade has had one or if I finally just noticed it, but going along with the theme of people seeking out new products solutions and ideas, I saw many people noting items that were on the new product board.  

Lastly, I heard many people lamenting about how much smaller Medtrade is now, seemingly reminiscing of years gone by. But when an industry has shrunk by as much as 40 percent, isn’t a natural consequence that everything, including trade shows, be somewhat smaller?

On the heals of Medtrade Atlanta, the team members at are busy following up with leads and working with DME providers who are ready to take action. We are excited to work with providers who are being proactive and contemporaneously embracing changes caused by the Prior Authorization Demonstration expansion and the new face-to-face evaluation regulations. Together leaders in the DME industry are finding solutions to build and grow! Thanks to #MedtradeSolutions @MedtradeConnect

~ Michael Blakey, president of

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