BIRMINGHAM, AL – It’s back! After more than 30 years of going to Atlanta every fall, everyone who had a significant part in that history was disappointed that the COVID pandemic required us to miss Medtrade East last year. Attendees and exhibitors were delighted to be meeting in person again.
There were changes, as you would expect, with the size of the show floor and the number of attendees smaller, but overall it was as good as ever. There were delightfully retro pipe-and-drape booths with poster paper signs that were common in the early years, now filled with new exhibitors introducing new opportunities.
The collaboration of AAHomecare and Emerald—one of the best partnerships in years—added to the value for all attendees and introduced a new way for state and regional associations to connect with prospective members. Most would agree that the networking opportunities are still one of the most valuable pieces of the process. If there were fewer old friends attending that just meant it was possible to spend more time with each one.
Attrition and consolidation, accelerated in recent years by the Medicare bidding program, has reduced the number of providers. However, those who are still in the business are surely survivors and innovators dedicated to doing whatever is possible to continue providing adequate service, with quality products, accompanied by the instructions and education users and caregivers must have to use products safely and effectively. These are business people who will always take advantage of what Medtrade East continues to offer that makes those things possible.
The educational programs were excellent, as always, with timely topics well covered by experts in subject matter and education methods. Adjustments in scheduling, combined with new or improved technology, made it easier than ever to use the available time more efficiently. With a little advance preparation, it was easily possible to attend every educational session relevant to your business without missing a single exhibitor.
The AAHomecare presentation used s lightly altered format that worked very well, both in making sometimes complicated issues understandable and encouraging greater audience participation. In addition, anyone paying the slightest attention would surely recognize the importance of supporting both national and state or regional associations. The organized, effective application of coordinated grasstop and grassroots lobbying is essential if our industry is to thrive. Medtrade East is still the best combination of all these desirable activities. See you next year at either Medtrade West in Phoenix (April 4-6, 2022) or Medtrade East in Atlanta in October 2022.
Michael W. Hamilton is executive director of the Alabama Durable Medical Equipment Association, Birmingham, Ala.