Conversation with Kevin Gaffney
HC: Give us a little background about Medtrade’s role in the industry.
KG: There are a lot of events these days competing for a providers’ time, money and attention. We recognize that, and we’ve evolved to meet changing demands throughout the years. Medtrade has strong brand recognition in the minds of HME providers, but that is not close to enough. Working with the best people is one way to ensure we stay on the right track and never get complacent. We have a fantastic educational advisory board that includes many industry experts who have wonderful opinions, and are well respected, knowledgeable and most importantly, know what providers want. Our board members pull no punches in their assessment of what’s good about Medtrade and what can be improved. These days, attendees want both education and the latest products. It’s not a case of either/or, so we provide the best of both worlds. We know it takes time and money to get to Atlanta, but the face-to-face interaction is invaluable, because true networking is possible. Because of everything that the HME industry is currently facing, this is probably the most important Medtrade show in its history. It is the place to be if you want to know what’s happening and understand what it means for you. It will be the place to unite and work together to propel the industry in the right direction, despite the many roadblocks placed in our path. There is great strength in numbers, and our voices will become much louder.
HC: Tell us about how participation in Medtrade is looking so far this year.
KG: As of late June, 92 percent of Medtrade exhibit space had been reserved, which is in line with last year. I expect to sell all of the remaining available space prior to the expo’s official start on October 16. To clarify, the conference runs from Oct. 15-18, and the Expo runs from Oct. 16-18. The strong early bookings show a cautious optimism among manufacturers who know that patient demand in the coming years will be robust. The numbers are a firm indicator that manufacturers are ready and willing to work with HME providers who survive the carnage of competitive bidding. At the same time, they no doubt hope the Market Pricing Program will ultimately win out.