ATLANTA – As reported in last week’s Medtrade Monday, Compass Health is returning to Medtrade, expanding its presence with a 10 x 40 booth. “We wanted enough space to really showcase who we are,” says Mike Scarsella (pictured), director of National Sales, Compass Health, Middleburg Heights, Ohio.
As a longtime supporter of Medtrade and the industry, Compass recently increased its sponsorship and attendance at almost all the state association shows around the country. “We partnered with AAHomecare as a bronze level sponsor,” Scarsella says. “And when it came to discussing Medtrade, we thought it was necessary to continue to support that entity and work with them and everything they do to drive our industry forward. We have some new products that we want to introduce, and we feel it’s important to support the industry in as many ways as possible. Medtrade certainly leads the charge.”
Medtrade Monday sat down with Scarsella to get a glimpse of his Medtrade plans, as well as to gauge his optimism for the future of the industry.
Medtrade Monday: Can you give us a hint as to the new products at Medtrade?
Mike Scarsella, director of National Sales, Compass Health: I’m going to hold back on getting specific on some things until we get closer to the show…Compass is such a broad company in terms of the product line and also the solutions that we offer to our dealer base. It’s one of the reasons we knew we needed a slightly larger [booth] space at Medtrade, as opposed to the smaller space we had last year. We want to showcase the different facets of our business. One of the new products we’re rolling out is on the cash retail side of things, but of course, the core of our business is with hospice providers, bid winners, and the insurance side. We cover the entire range of the industry, and all of that will be on display at Medtrade.
Medtrade Monday: Why are face-to-face trade shows still valid and important in today’s world?
Scarsella: There’s no doubt that trade shows and state association shows have evolved. They’ve evolved away from being order writing shows. Buying patterns of our dealer bases have dramatically changed. Connection, education, and the back and forth feedback between vendors, providers, and dealers is important—especially in this constantly changing business.
It’s about partnerships. It’s about how can we work together, whether it’s looking at new products and being innovative together, or working to find solutions to be able to live inside a capitated marketplace. While we talk to our dealers and customers every single day, and I travel the country and meet with them in their stores, it’s valuable to sit side by side during educational sessions and everything that Medtrade and State Association shows put on the table. It allows for a deeper collaboration and a realization that we’re all in this together, as opposed to us and them.
Ultimately, it does lead to more orders, bigger business, and better margins for everybody because we’re trying to figure out how to work together. A lot of people move away from it [Medtrade] because they don’t walk away with as many POs, but you have to find different metrics to measure the success of a trade show at this point.
Medtrade Monday: What familiar products do you bring to Medtrade?
Scarsella: One of the core brands under the Compass umbrella is Carex, which is the number one retail branded HME product line in the country, and it is now exclusively a brand that is being offered to our HME channel. It’s at the heart of who Compass is—the non-coded cash retail business. We have a total of 15 brands under our umbrella, at least five are specifically cash related, as opposed to some of the more traditional DME, so it’s not a new push for us. It certainly is part of the industry that is growing like crazy.
Medtrade Monday: What experience do you have in the retail realm?
Scarsella: My personal background is all in retail. I spent 18 years in the home furnishings industry before joining Golden Technologies, which is also strong on the cash side. Retail is more about value, as opposed to just fitting in under a reimbursement equation. It’s about quality, innovation, uniqueness, and customer appreciation for the products. It’s a different sales process. It’s also a different measuring process to see what is successful and what isn’t. It’s a big part of our industry right now, simply because it’s an opportunity for dealers to compensate, to offset, and to find an alternative way to reach customers. In my opinion, cash retail is the pathway to bringing in a younger demographic to your DME store, which leads to longer customer lifetime values.
Medtrade Monday: What is your level of optimism these days?
Scarsella: It’s pretty high at this point. Obviously there’s still some challenges. There’s still going to be some dealers, providers, manufacturers, and vendors that just aren’t able to make the right adjustments, but for the most part I think a lot of that is behind us. The dealers and providers who have survived have made the right adjustments and are better at their business—smarter at their business. Even the ones who are approaching this next round of competitive bidding are doing it in a much more intelligent way than they did before. They just know so much more now.
Medtrade Monday: How are the state and national organizations contributing to that educational effort?
Scarsella: We’ve had great support from the industry. AAHomecare is providing such deep levels of education for the dealers, so they can go into this bidding process from a really strong standpoint. My optimism is high because the dealers who exist, even though there’s fewer of them, are stronger and better at what they’re doing.
From a consumer, customer, and patient market standpoint, the challenges we’ve had in this industry over the past 10 years were not related to a lack of demand for the products we provide. The challenges were all outside economic factors that changed the nature of the game. Patients still need the products and services we provide, and that’s the key component. If they need the medical product, then they need the medical product. That need doesn’t go away. We have to figure out how we can survive and make money providing it to them. However, the need is there, and that need is continually growing. That leads to a high level of optimism as long as vendors and providers work together to figure out how they can navigate going forward.
Compass Health will be exhibiting at Medtrade, scheduled for Oct 21-23 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Click Here to register and save money via Early Rates.