In a past life I have attended my fair share of work related conferences where my company at that time had a booth and I had responsibility for meeting with potential customers, sharing why our product is better than the product in the booth two rows over. I’ve worked shows in hotel basements in Chicago, humongous venues in Las Vegas and one with a SWAT command center on the show floor in Toronto. With that as my background, I found my first MESC conference to be a refreshing change of pace.
People – Even though we are all there to sell something, be it a product or a service, I found most vendors to truly believe in their product or service as a way they can help the different states improve in how they can provide Medicaid services to their population. At other non-Medicaid shows I’ve attended, there are some passionate people that believe their product is going to change the world, but most people only seem to believe in their product as long as it puts money in their pocket. Even more than the vendors, the representatives from the different states seem genuinely passionate about what they are doing to improve the delivery of Medicaid services to their populations. One event during the conference involved each state with a poster size overview of a significant system or process in their state. The breadth of topics was surprising. It wasn’t just about technical systems implementations, but a broader continuum of care processes that some states are putting into place to take care of the mental and behavioral aspects of a person.
Vendors – As I walked onto the vendor showroom floor, I wasn’t sure I was in the right place, there were no showgirls handing out company literature for products they knew nothing about. There were no magicians, no motorcycle or car give aways to entice people to stop by a booth and talk about the vendor’s product. Even though some of us were direct competitors, there was a common respect among the vendors present. We all seemed to be there with the goal of how to best help the states provide healthcare for their Medicaid consumers. The mutual respect among the vendor community was a nice change.
Sessions– The broad coverage of topics during the conference really gave the attendees an opportunity to learn from each other. The topics ranged from technical strategies for implementing MITA to broader topics such as how to structure a RFP or train new people in becoming Medicaid experts in their state. If you needed to get input and make connections to find better ideas for how to manage your Medicaid program, MESC is a great opportunity.
Event Planning – I must give accolades to the netlogx event planning team. This was the most professional, well organized show I have ever attended. There were no corny sayings for t-shirts (yes the picture to the left is a real promotion used to sell software at a prior company of mine), the enthusiasm among the people that had to work at the show was high, everyone knew what our message was and how to communicate that to our potential customers.
Finally, I’ve never seen this done before, but there were several pieces of nice furniture used as part of our booth that the netlogx leadership team donated to a charity called My Sister’s House (mysistershouse.org) at the end of the show. The true appreciation from this group as they picked up the furniture was one of the highlights of the whole event.