NRRTS Teams with HME Expo on 2009 CELA Legislative Event

The National Registry of Rehab Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) has rescheduled its 2009 Continuing Education & Legislative Advocacy (CELA) conference to immediately precede the inaugural HME Expo event in the spring.

Both events will take place in Baltimore in April, with participants now able to pay one fee — $175 for NRRTS registrants, $225 for Friends of NRRTS and $250 for non-NRRTS members — to attend both CELA and the HME Expo, which will include an exhibit hall featuring companies from all segments of home medical equipment.

The National Coalition for Assistive & Rehab Technology (NCART) and the University of Pittsburgh are also involved in presenting the CELA conference. Said NCART Executive Director Sharon Hildebrandt in a news release about the new partnership, “Budgets are tight, and rehab providers can travel only one or two times a year. This gives them the biggest bang for their buck.”

Of the new partnership, Cory Smith, VP of marketing for the HME Expo, says, “We’re excited about it. I think it’s a good alignment. One of the key components of the HME Expo is giving the industry the opportunity to hit the Hill and pound the pavement and advocate for the industry. And that’s really in line with the mission that NRRTS had with CELA. So we’re pretty excited about it.”

Tuesday, April 21, “is going to start out with the day on the Hill,” Smith says. ”We’ll have a breakfast that will lead into the buses picking up and taking people to Capitol Hill. We’re going to be making arrangements for all of those appointments (with representatives, senators and staffs). Buses will come back at around 4:30, and that’ll be the lead-in for the One Industry opening night event. It’s really a full day of networking and advocacy.”
Educational sessions begin the next day, April 22, Smith adds, with six concurrent classes running on the mornings of the 22nd and 23rd — a total of 36 sessions.

“When we did this, we didn’t think there was a need to do the same type of programming that’s being offered at other locations,” Smith says. “This is going to be focused on the here and now. Providers are going through a lot of changes, and the (educational) content is going to be based on taking costs out of their business and identifying new revenue streams and ultimately giving them strong take-aways on how they can become more profitable and sustainable.”

Though rehab providers will have their own educational track with “eight hours of content on various rehab topics,” Smith says, they will have plenty of opportunities to network with other HME suppliers via Tuesday’s One Industry reception and in the exhibit hall.

As for why the CELA conference and HME Expo make good sense for rehab providers, Smith notes, “I think what we’re offering is the opportunity to consolidate. We put a lot of key pieces together at one event with one airfare and consolidated travel. (Attendees will have) the opportunity to hit the Hill, see their Representatives, and we’re offering them specialized content and an opportunity to meet and discuss the specific rehab issues that are out there. But at the same time, it’s all under one umbrella, so there’s that opportunity to network and look at what’s happening in other areas of the business. So you’ve got an intimate, focused event that’s put together with an event that has other offerings. For one price, in addition to the CELA event, they’re going to get access to the show floor which will have the exhibits, which they haven’t had in the past. We tried to just pack it full of one-stop value.”

Smith says the Expo is “expecting 150-200 exhibiting manufacturers” and that the show team received “a very favorable response, very positive” following the CELA announcement. For more information on the HME Expo or CELA, visit
At Medtrade, NRRTS will be in Booth 1634.

This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of Mobility Management.

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