Event Coverage

Medtrade Spring Is Full of Surprises for 2006

PHOTO: Brown & Fortunato's Jeffrey Baird opened the Re/hab & Assistive Technology portion of the Continuum of Care with legal advice on how to "rope the wind" (also known as DME regulations and fortunes).

LAS VEGAS — If you're an HME mobility/rehab professional and have been for awhile, you might have been tempted to think you knew just about everything there is to know about Medtrade Spring… until you saw the snow fall.

The positively chilly weather wasn't the only surprise in the Nevada desert. There were new names and faces, and well-known names with new technologies and ideas. In case you missed the show, or maybe stayed out a little too late playing blackjack to see the entire exhibit hall the next day, here are some highlights from Medtrade Spring 2006.

  • Access Point Medical introduced itself to dealers via a full range of scooters, power chairs, walking aids, bath safety and ADLs. At a pre-show press conference, CEO Hans Stover boldly predicted the manufacturer would debut "120 products in 120 days" with the help of co-chairmen Jeremy Jones and Tom O'Donnell, both HME industry veterans.
  • MiKi Mobility might be a new name in the United States, but the company has been manufacturing aluminum wheelchairs in Japan since 1970, and is now preparing to distribute product in America. According to a spokeswoman in MiKi's booth, the company will start U.S. distribution with standard adult chairs, but manufactures a wide range of pediatric, adult, athletic, lightweight and rehab/positioning manual wheelchairs. One model that caught our eye: the "Evolution," a transport chair whose seat swivels 180 degrees to make transfers more convenient. By the way, "MiKi" is said to translate into English as "three important things: safety, high quality and advanced technology." The letters in MiKi also stand for Mobility, Integration, Knowledge and Independence.
  • Quickie inventor and Sunrise Medical spokesperson Marilyn Hamilton made tracks in the new GTX, which she described as being built "like a Quickie 2, hitting that range (of end-user)." A member of Sunrise's new Ti family, the GTX is a folding manual chair… with the "X" representing the chair's folding capabilities.
  • The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) once again held its Continuum of Care educational conference the day before Medtrade Spring got underway. AAHomecare reported that the Re/hab & Assistive Technology track (sponsored as usual by Mobility Management) boasted the largest number of registrants.
  • At the semi-annual AAHomecare Washington Update, Tom Ryan — AAHomecare Chairman and President/CEO of Homecare Concepts in Farmington, N.Y. — noted the organization is in the midst of seeking a replacement for former president/CEO Kay Cox, who stepped down in February. Ryan said two search firms are working to find candidates and that AAHomecare hoped to fill the position by June, the month of its annual Washington lobbying event. "When we get the new CEO," Ryan promised, "you will be very proud." During the actual legislative portion of the meeting, Asela Cuervo noted that the HME industry continues to be affected by such major budgetary issues as the ongoing American presence in Iraq and recovery from Hurricane Katrina last year. Cuervo called the tone in Washington, D.C., "tense" and "polarized for a long time," adding, "there's not a lot of cooperation" at the moment. Cuervo also discussed the much-talked-about "pay-for-performance" concept, which she called a "cousin of competitive bidding, a more sophisticated model." She indicated that national competitive bidding "may be delayed some more… we can't rush to implementation."
  • Innovation In Motion showed off a growing line of colorful Ormesa manual chairs, strollers, standers and positioning equipment for pediatric and adult clients. Innovation In Motion announced its Ormesa distribution agreement at last fall's Medtrade in Atlanta, but had even more product to demonstrate at this event.
  • Bath safety continues to make a big splash. Formidable names such as Cosco and Home Care by Moen, who are well established with consumers in other industries, continue to debut fresh new designs that emphasize good looks as well as good function. At the same time, HME names such as Etac, Full Life Products and Invacare continue to debut new looks and technologies of their own. Will this segment continue to grow, as DME suppliers who work with Medicare and Medicaid look to expand their services and product lines to include more cash-pay items?
  • And if you're a long-range planner, mark your 2007 calendars for April 25-26, when Medtrade Spring returns to Las Vegas. The Continuum of Care educational conference is scheduled for April 24. For details, go to www.medtradespring.com.

What One CRTS Thought

What One CRTS Thought

Now that I have recovered from another Medtrade, I am reviewing all of the product information that I collected. I have been looking for a patient lift with sling that is appropriate for children, and found one from a company called Liko. There are probably others around too, but this company makes slings in 23 different sizes, material and styles. Another interesting product was the Shoprider Flagship scooter. I don't know if you saw it, but this scooter has a windshield with wiper and is enclosed. Definitely not a Medicare-covered item, but could be pretty useful for someone who lives in Seattle… On the more practical front, I saw reachers and canes that had built-in flashlights for safety, an inexpensive grab bar that mounts with suction cups, and a battery-operated bathtub lift. I also saw a really nice pediatric ultralight manual wheelchair and a pediatric mobile stander. What interested me most about the pediatric items was that they were all in use in Europe before being introduced here, and now are being manufactured and/or distributed in the U.S. One product that has been in development for a long time and I think is just now being produced is the SuperQuad Wijit. This item is a wheelchair driver and braking system that fits most manual wheelchairs. The user pushes or pumps the hand lever to drive or brake the chair — great for the quad who can use his major muscle groups to propel the chair. —Rick Graver, ATS, CRTS, Medtech Services, Reno, Nev.

This article originally appeared in the May 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

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