Upwardly Mobile

All I Ever Really Needed to Know, I Learned at Medtrade

Photo: At VGM's party, circa 7 p.m. Wednesday night: I still have energy to wave. Photo by Sandra L. Bienkowski

Unitarian minister and author Robert Fulghum showed, in his book "All I Ever Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten," that the really important truths in life are the lessons we learned as young children. Among them, Fulghum says in his book, are "Share everything," "Play fair," "Clean up your own mess" and "When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together."

Hard to argue against those bits of wisdom, so, with apologies to Mr. Fulghum, I took some of his advice and added an HME industry slant:

Play fair. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) must surely have an HME industry calendar, and must surely use it to schedule major industry announcements. I'm not sure if they're waiting until everyone's heading to the airport so we're less likely to notice their announcements, or if they're waiting until we're all in one place so they can tell everyone at once. I just know that it's gone like this: adjustable seat cushion code change in 2004, dumping the new power mobility codes in 2005, newly revised local coverage determination (LCD) and new implementation date in 2006. I know we're supposed to play fair, but maybe we shouldn't tell CMS the dates of next year's show?

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. So is the double chocolate bread pudding at Terraces Restaurant, right off the main entrance to the Georgia World Congress Center. Perhaps the best convention center food ever.

Take a nap every afternoon. Sage advice for those who stayed out too late on Wednesday, the busiest night for extracurricular activities. Those support surface booths were more and more appealing as Thursday wore on. So was any booth with extra padding under the carpet.

Share Everything. Medtrade exhibitors shared a range of "party favors" with those who stopped by the booth or attended their events. We spotted teddy bears, dogtags, bedroom slippers, dufflebags, T-shirts and all kinds of sweets. Perhaps the most tempting of all, though, came from the National Coalition for Assistive & Rehab Technology (NCART), who handed out copies of the 31-page, just-released LCD to folks attending the NCART reception.

Put things back where you found them. Terrific advice for CMS regarding those power mobility device fee schedules released shortly after Medtrade concluded. Providers aren't getting rich off the current fee schedules, but the new fee schedules could make the industry — and end-users who'll be denied access to the equipment they need — nostalgic for "olden" days.

Hold Hands, and Stick Together. Having to deal with Congress and CMS has brought rivals together and has unified the industry in ways that otherwise would not have happened. "We as a collective are moving together much better than we ever had," VGM's John Gallagher said in Atlanta. Amen.

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

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