SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On the heels of Medtrade Spring and not far to the east of Las Vegas, National Seating & Mobility (NSM) held its annual business meeting and rehab technology supplier (RTS) symposium April 21-25.
In addition to technology and product demonstrations by executive sponsors Invacare, Pride Mobility Products/Quantum Rehab and Sunrise Medical, NSM RTS’s from across the country heard from seating & mobility experts ranging from a children’s hospital medical director (Dr. Fred Klingbeil) to an occupational therapist renowned for her work in pediatrics (Karen Kangas).
RTS’s also toured an exhibit hall that, true to form for this event, featured several new and prototype seating & mobility products from manufacturers seeking feedback.
The 2007 Symposium tried out a new format, with RTS’s sorted into four groups and then rotated through concurrent educational sessions and manufacturer demonstrations. The smaller group sizes were designed to encourage interactivity between presenters and their audiences.
A lunchtime panel discussion gave RTS’s the chance to hear from, then question executives from Invacare (Cara Bachenheimer and Mark Sullivan), Pride (Seth Johnson and Paul Komishock) and Sunrise (Rita Hostak and Tom Whelan) who deal closely with both the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and with elected officials. Predictably, competitive bidding and the possibility of a carve-out for high-end rehab products were recurring topics. Simon Margolis — formerly NSM’s VP of clinical & professional development, but now the executive director of the National Registry of Rehab Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) — moderated the session.
The symposium simultaneously functions on several different levels: as a face-to-face and peer-to-peer networking opportunity for NSM’s extensive roster of RTS’s; as an opportunity for NSM founder/CEO Mike Ballard to address and fire up his troops, while exhorting manufacturers and the industry in general; as a chance for RTS’s to hear from seating & mobility experts; and for manufacturers to seek input on products new to the market or waiting in the wings.
But at its core, the symposium also exists to celebrate and defend the unique, creative and critical role of the RTS — not to mention to poke fun at the tendency of RTS’s to be a bit obsessed with their jobs, regardless of whatever challenges they face.
As RTS Barbara King (from NSM’s Little Rock, Ark., office) said in her lunchtime session, “You might be an RTS if you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark… and it’s summertime.”