Shelly Prial: Still a team player with Medtrade at age 85

From: Home Care Magazine

By Shelly Prial

I find it exciting to look back to the very first Medtrade show. It happened about 35 years ago in Atlanta, and it still feels like yesterday.

When I realize what Medtrade today means to DME/HME providers, I recognize that it has more than surpassed everyone’s wishes. The ability to meet and share information with peers has always been one of the driving reasons to attend Medtrade. There is no other venue where I, who live in Melbourne, Fla., can visit with friends from Seattle. This type of networking is one of the best reasons for being there.

Even more important is that Medtrade provides a plethora of educational opportunities. When I ran my company, I always brought my key employees and we all took notes and shared what we learned with all staff members when we returned.

These days, there are more than 100 seminars, all presented by leading industry experts. And don’t forget the opportunity to sit down with key vendors where you can plan together for mutual benefit. You are also bound to find new vendors, different products and exciting ideas that can fit into your growth strategy. This is, I believe, is a key for your continued growth.

Medtrade has given me the title of “Good Will Ambassador” and I am proud of that. In the many articles HomeCare magazine printed under my “Shelly Sez” headline, I always tried to speak about the importance of being a team player.

The state and national DME associations do so much to fight egregious legislation, and they cannot do it without your support. If you do not belong, you can rectify that by signing up with them at Medtrade.

When you stop by their booth, ask them to show you what they have already accomplished on your behalf. Then think what the difference could be if every provider was on board. Your dollars, as a new member, will give them more strength and freedom when they negotiate on behalf of every dealer, not just their current members.

Another benefit of Medtrade is that you can meet, speak and negotiate with all the key players of our industry. Legal voices and attorneys and association presidents and their key personnel can be found at the AAHomecare, VGM, MED Group and NAIMES booths. They want to hear from you. The principals of the vendors will be present and available. Be sure you locate them and say thank you.

I invite you to send me your feedback and suggestions through my blog “shellysoundsoffblogspot.” I’m also proud to say that at 85 years old I am embracing the new technology. You’re never too old to adapt to our changing times.

With this column, I am including a picture taken by Mario Panebianco at the Graham Field Health Products booth. Yes, Thelma, my wife, and I are both octogenarians, and we look forward to meeting you in Las Vegas.

Shelly Prial, Medtrade’s Good Will Ambassador and longtime HomeCare columnist, can be reached via phone; e-mail,; or blog,

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