Editor’s Note: Stay Focused

So much for the lazy days of summer. As we were going to press, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the competitive bidding submission deadline a week, acknowledged computer system problems and said July 20 was the (newly) immovable deadline. But we also saw Sunrise Medical restructure into two business divisions. And National Seating & Mobility and United Seating & Mobility traded four branches (see MMBeat).

All in the month of the July.

Also in the news (starting on page 8) this month is a story about the North American Spinal Cord Injury Conference and Disability Expo — known as NASCICDE. The event has long gathered together spinal cord industry clinicians and has long been sponsored by the United Spinal Association.

What’s different this year is that for the first time, the event is inviting consumers to tour the exhibit hall and watch sports demonstrations.

And NASCICDE isn’t alone. “Focused” events — ones that center around a particular theme or condition, such as spinal cord injury, and are hosted not by a communications conglomerate, but by a related organization or professional association — seem to be growing in popularity and scale. Witness United Cerebral Palsy’s annual conference, or AARP’s Life @50+ event.

In fact, focus is the new buzzword in this industry. NSM and USM swapped branch offices to concentrate on their regional strengths. Sunrise Medical is decentralizing its operations. As competitive bidding and compromised access loom and threaten, people seem to be shoring up their foundations.

Relying on our strengths, particularly in times of stress, is human nature. At the same time, though, we need to avoid stagnation. We need to seek ways to grow even as we focus on what’s gotten us here in the first place.

Our Online Best Practices cover feature aims to do just that. We highlight creativity, professionalism and outstanding execution in Web sites and other e-media to show how your peers are successfully reaching out, educating and advocating via the Internet. And we’ve included a five-point checklist of how you can improve your own online communications, whether you’re a Webmaster or a Web novice.

We also offer our annual Cushion Comparo (page 28), a side-by-side comparison of wheelchair cushions, complete with HCPCS codes. Sure, we also want to grow in new ways, but we’re still aware of what got us here in the first place.

This article originally appeared in the August 2007 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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