A Sunshine State of Mind
Feeling the Funding Heat, the DME Industry Looks to Embrace New Solutions
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Oct 01, 2013
It’s the last big chance of 2013 to see mobility, accessibility and rehab products — but this year, head to Florida.
Medtrade takes place Oct. 8-10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and in addition to the exhibit hall, attendees will be looking to network and try new strategies at a time that’s challenging the DME supplier more than perhaps ever before.
To help attendees to plan their days and perhaps save wear and tear on their feet or shoulders, we offer up these pages that focus on educational courses, networking sessions and exhibitors in the mobility, seating and accessibility realms. An important scheduling note: There are new hours for the exhibit hall. It opens at 9 a.m. each day, and closes at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 1 p.m. on Thursday’s get-away day.
While you’re drawing up your schedule, don’t forget to add Mobility Management to the list: We, along with sister publication HME Business, will be in booth 1708. Sign up for free magazines and newsletters, or just let us know what kinds of topics you’d like to read more about.
Editor’s Notebook: What We’re Looking Forward to in Orlando
Retail is a major theme in Pride Mobility Products’ Medtrade booth (#800). Check out the new Milford Person Lift: Created to facilitate wheelchair-tovehicle transfers, it can be fitted to the driver’s seat, passenger seat, or front/middle/back seats. Sling sizes range from extra small to extra large — with an amputee version also available — to help fit any consumer weighing up to 330 lbs. Speaking of adaptive automotive equipment, Pride will also be showcasing the new Olympian Vehicle Lift (pictured), designed with two weight capacities (260 lbs. and 440 lbs.) for scooters and power and manual wheelchairs. The Olympian is built to be easy to remove when it’s not being used, and can also easily transfer from vehicle to vehicle.
Today’s providers need to be experts at more than technology and clinical issues; they also need to excel at efficiency. Visit booth 458, home of Conduit Office and LMN Builder, to take a look at a new software solution that can help providers with all-important documentation by using the information that providers already have entered in Brightree.
Founder Jim Noland says of Conduit Office, “Our software uses the Brightree sales order data to fill out and collect all the forms that a company collects. If you think about a company that has four or five big product lines — they do CPAPs, they do wheelchairs, they do beds, they do support surfaces, they do enterals — they have to have the documents to intake the people, they have to have delivery and post-delivery documents, they have to have order-development documents like quotes and all the forms related to that. They have to have clinical documentation: CMNs, LMNs, all that. But then they also have to have all the insurance documents: the specialty BlueCross forms, the HealthAmerica forms, all those, and they have to fill them out on every order.”
Conduit Office, Noland says, can save time and promote consistency and accuracy by completing those forms.
“Our software takes all those forms that a company has living on their server or employees’ computers or in their desk drawers, and uses the Brightree data, and fills every one of those forms out,” Noland explains. Conduit Office also collects the forms for electronic signatures.
Noland says staff members at his Presque Isle Medical Technologies business, headquartered in Erie, Pa., use Conduit Office, and “instead of taking 30 to 45 minutes per order, they can get orders done in eight to 10 minutes.” Conduit Office is a Brightree (booth 451) certified partner, and Noland has partnered as well with The VGM Group and U.S. Rehab (both in booth 425).
The American Association for Homecare’s semi-annual Washington Update (Tuesday, 8 a.m.), sponsored by our sister publication, HME Business (booth 1708), remains a must-attend event to catch up on what’s happening on Capitol Hill (and in Baltimore). Speakers include Tom Ryan, the association’s new president, and talking points will include Medicare’s competitive bidding program and ongoing challenges with various types of Medicare audits. During exhibit hall hours, visit AAHomecare in booth 701.
Speaking of audits: As power mobility providers have learned the hard way, getting the right medical justification and supporting documentation from physicians can be very tough. Even when they truly want to comply, doctors don’t always know or understand the intricacies of what funding sources demand — and that’s especially true of primary care physicians and other clinicians who don’t specialize in seating & mobility.
The folks at PMDRX (booth 977) understand. Their solution: Electronic templates specifically built to prompt physicians to capture and report critical information from face-to-face power mobility device exams. PMDRX works for both consumer power and complex rehab exams, and while it doesn’t artificially “force” a patient to qualify for a wheelchair or scooter, it seeks to give providers the information they need to be able to review medical necessity information and predict a claim’s chances of approval. PMDRX asks physicians, for example, about patient range of motion; how far a patient can ambulate independently and/or with assistance; why less expensive forms of mobility equipment won’t suffice; and which mobility-related activities of daily living are being impacted.
PMDRX also incorporates electronic signatures and time/date stamps, and generates letters of medical necessity and seven-element orders based on information provided by physicians.
In addition to being Medtrade month, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Drive Medical is showing its support by unveiling a new adjustable-height rollator that’s pretty in pink. Drive has partnered with the American Cancer Society, so proceeds from the purchase of the rollator will be donated to the organization’s Making Strides program that funds cancer research and treatment and support for cancer patients. See the rollator — along with other new products, such as the Balanced Aire Adjustable Air wheelchair cushion — in booth 716.
This year’s NRRTS Rehab Pavilion can be found at the front of the exhibit hall in aisles 1200-1600. Here’s where you’ll find complex rehab technology exhibitors — seating, mobility and electronics specialists — grouped together for convenient aisle-browsing. At press time, the exhibitors in this section included organizations (NRRTS, RESNA, NCART and the University of Pittsburgh), as well as manufacturers (Active Controls, Afikim Electric Vehicles, Amysystems, ETAC, Frank Mobility Systems, PGDrives, Shoprider Mobility Products, Star Cushion, Stealth Products, and Triumph Mobility, among others).
In the exhibit hall: As traditional reimbursement channels remain under heavy pressure to cut their costs , the industry continues to look for alternate revenue streams. Tour the expanded Retail Design Center (back of the hall, aisles 800-900) for ideas on making showrooms more effective. In conjunction with this, Medtrade has created the Innovative HME Retail Product Awards to highlight items especially appropriate for retail environments. Winning products will be part of the Design Center.
Visit Medtrade’s annual Beer Garden (back of the hall, aisles 1400-1500) for a little rest, recreation and peer-to-peer networking during exhibit hall afternoons.
The New Product Pavilion (back of the hall, aisles 200-400) gives attendees the chance to see the future of DME in action. Hit this pavilion early and collect the names and booth numbers of exhibitors you’ll want to be sure to see before leaving the Sunshine State.
This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.