Recapping The 2019 VGM Heartland Conference

Published in Complex Rehab on July 09, 2019

In mid-June, nearly 1,000 members and vendor partners came to VGM’s headquarters in Waterloo, Iowa, to enjoy the 2019 VGM Heartland Conference. Attendees were able to take advantage of countless educational and networking opportunities throughout the week. For the rehab community in particular, there were many highlights throughout the conference that allowed attendees to grow and learn from other members and thought leaders within their community.  

Rehab-Specific Education
Members had the opportunity to attend several rehab-specific educational sessions on Tuesday, June 11 and Wednesday, June 12. Some of these sessions included:

  • “How Technology is Changing How We Provide Seating and Mobility” with Linda Bollinger from Sunrise Medical
  •  “Airline Training Development” with Matt Macpherson, ATP from FIOS DME Repair Training, and Greg Packer from U.S. Rehab
  • “Looking to the Future: How Knowing Ahead About Coverage and Reimbursement Policy Changes Can Help Grow Your Business and Meet Your Customers’ Needs” with Tricia Garven, John Goetz, and Todd Walling from Permobil
  • “Small Clients, Big Decisions: Approaches in Pediatric Seating” with Stephanie Tanguay, OT/L, ATP, from Motion Concepts
  • “Analysis and Ongoing Development of the FMA/UDS Mobility Registry” with Tyler Mahncke and Greg Packer from U.S. Rehab and Vince Schiappa and Mark Schmeler from the University of Pittsburgh
  • “Complex Rehab Technology Update” with Don Clayback from NCART

U.S. Rehab’s Director of Reimbursement and Education Dan Fedor also presented in several sessions for the billing and reimbursement track, including “You are a Willing Supplier but are you ABLE?” with Kristyn Stephan from Mobility Solutions, Inc.

From tips for best practices by rehab specialists to CRT industry news and updates, members had a wide variety of rehab-focused sessions to attend during the conference. 

Tech Training
As with previous Heartland Conferences, members had the option to attend the two-day Tech Training seminar that occurred during the conference. This seminar provided technicians with troubleshooting tips, techniques, and hands-on programming with equipment from U.S. Rehab manufacturers, including MK Battery, Ki Mobility, Sunrise Medical, Merits/Avid Rehab, Permobil, Permobil Manual Wheelchairs, and Motion Concepts. One session also included Dan Fedor presenting “Documentation for Repairs,” where technicians learned how to effectively and efficiently document the repair (parts, labor, and "loaner," if applicable) to ensure maximum reimbursement.

Divided into Beginner/Intermediate and Advanced sessions, 22 technicians received tips and learned about best practices in order to more quickly and accurately troubleshoot complex systems.

Social Events And Networking Opportunities
The success of this year’s Heartland Conference was also due to the fun networking opportunities that were available to all attendees. These social events kicked off on Monday during the annual Van G. Miller Memorial Golf Tournament, followed by a relaxing afternoon at the VGM Farm and the famous hog roast and fireworks in the evening. Click here to view a live recording of the fireworks!

After a full day of educational sessions on Tuesday, attendees were then able to visit the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening Reception to network with several vendor partners that were exhibiting. Tuesday evening also consisted of industry-specific community dinners, where U.S. Rehab members had the opportunity to attend the complex rehab dinner and socialize with their peers.

On Wednesday, after another full day of educational sessions and an afternoon in the exhibit hall, the conference wrapped up at the '50s-themed “Boogie Woogie Bash” gala. This event allowed members to come together and build upon the relationships that were created during the conference.

Giveaways
One of the most impactful moments of the 2019 Heartland Conference was the donation of adaptive tricycles to four children throughout the Cedar Valley in Iowa. VGM and U.S. Rehab collaborated with Variety – the Children’s Charity, MercyOne, and Rifton, a member manufacturer, to donate these devices that will help these kids live more independently. Click here to read more about the giveaway.

This year’s Heartland Conference was a successful event filled with several rehab-specific educational sessions, networking, and social events for attendees to build lasting relationships and create opportunities with one another. Thank you to all attendees, vendor partners, speakers, and presenters who made this conference a success!

Mark your calendars for next year's conference: June 15-17, 2020! 

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