Talk to "MAMA"
BROOMALL, Pa.--The Medical Alert Monitoring Association, or "MAMA," will officially hold its first annual meeting March 28 at this year's ISC West convention in Las Vegas. Ken Gross, of Connect America Medical Alarm Company, and president of the newly created MAMA, said the impetus for starting the association was "to share ideas" in the medical alert monitoring arena.
The founding members of the board are Gross; Richard Bangerter of Rescue Alert in South Jordan, Utah; Christopher Baskin of American Two-Way in North Hollywood, Calif.; Richard Brooks of Health Watch in Cherry Hill, N.J.; Blane Comeaux, of Acadian Monitoring services in Lafayette, La.; Howard Feldman, of Pioneer Emergency Response in Solana Beach, Calif.; Arthur Hoffman of Vital-Link in Berkeley, Calif.; and Daniel Oppenheim of LifeStation in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"We got together and discussed possibly putting some efforts into lobbying for Medicare reimbursements," said Gross. "PERS [Personal Emergency Response Systems] is all private-pay now. We were looking for a bigger opportunity with Medicare. If we're going to do any lobbying we really had to be an official organization with bylaws." To this end, Les Gold, of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, came onboard as legal counsel to MAMA and incorporated the association, writing up their by-laws last year.
Richard Brooks, president of Health Watch and vice president of MAMA, has been involved with the organization for the last year. "We're hoping we'll begin to get a group of dealers, manufacturers and central monitoring stations together that provide [medical alert monitoring services] and come up with a plan to increase awareness in the general population," said Brooks. "We feel the market is very under-penetrated."
Gross said that anyone in the medical alert business is eligible to join the nascent organization, and stressed reasons why they should: "We'll keep our members updated on technology--it's changing such that besides just monitoring people for medical emergencies, there's also now 'telehealth,' networking with other industry professionals, and providing them with tips for their business."
As for the MAMA moniker, Brooks said they wanted medical alert to be part of the name, because consumers know it as medical alert rather than PERS,and the board thought MAMA was easy to remember and "there was a catch to it."
Why have the first meeting at ISC West? "We have been meeting there the past few years, and it's also strategic--everyone's there."
To learn more about MAMA, including how to join, visit www.medicalalertmonitoringassociation.com. The first annual MAMA meeting will be held on Wed., March 28 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in Room 403 of the Venetian Hotel and Conference Center.