On Wednesday, May 1st at the Times Square Crown Plaza in New York City, Diana Upton, President of IAMERS opened the annual meeting at the Welcome Reception proclaiming this the 20th anniversary of the organization’s founding.

The talks on Thursday and Friday were varied reflecting the strides made by IAMERS over the 20-years in which the organization has become an influential force in the marketplace and for many regulatory agencies. Prior to the opening session the IAMERS Board met during Wednesday afternoon and among other matters accepted Bob Feldman’s resignation as a member of the Board and as Events Chairman. A posting was made to the IAMERS blog on May 9th and we are including it here for your convenience.

“Last week Bob Feldman, an eight-year member of the IAMERS Board of Directors, reminded us the only thing constant in life is change. After serving as events and fundraising chairman Bob tendered his resignation to the Board at its annual meeting held in New York City. Diana Upton, President of IAMERS said, “Being the Events Chairman is a lot of hard and sometimes thankless work. Bob contributed his talents freely and we will miss him.”

During his tenure Bob was key to organizing and helping IAMERS establish a presence at many industry events. His hard work and organizational skills helped the organization at a time it was expanding its influence within the used medical imaging device marketplace.

Diana Upton went on to say, “We thank Bob for his contribution and look forward to seeing him at IAMERS’ events in the future where we hope he will sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of his labors.”

The keynote lecture was delivered by Giuseppe Ammendola, PhD from New York University’s Department of Economics. Dr. Ammendola is recognized worldwide for his work studying the Global Economy and its influence on people and business. Dr. Ammendola helped the attendees gain a better understanding of how the Global Economy and its many facets affect us and how we need to pay attention as we work to be successful in our small corner of the planet.

Following the keynote, Casper Uldriks, Esq. spoke extemporaneously about the status of FDA initiatives and the potential for the changes contemplated by the agency that may affect IAMERS members. Although Mr. Uldriks is retired from the FDA he continues to work closely with IAMERS and its members.

His talk focused on the FDA but this was within the broader legislative changes that will impact the used medical imaging device market. He covered topics from the Unique Device Identifier (UDI) works in progress to the very real potential for the agency to change the way it views used devices.  During his talk he reviewed the history of the interaction between IAMERS and the FDA dating back to 1993. It was the FDA and its intention to regulate used medical imaging equipment that provided the first momentum that brought people together and led to the formation of IAMERS.

Mr. Uldriks went on to point out that it was the interaction with IAMERS representatives that caused a change in FDA thinking and up until now has allowed the IAMERS organization to be self policing without regulation from the FDA. Such regulation is considered by IAMERS members to be a serious threat to their ability to continue in business.

In addition to the history, Mr. Uldriks helped the attendees understand and appreciate that attitudes at the FDA are changing and UDI and other initiatives have reopened the door to thoughts of regulating sellers and servicers of used medical imaging devices. The take home message was clear, IAMERS is as important or more important today than it was 20-years ago. It’s important for every IAMERS member to stay involved and to help grow the organization.

Later the first day Rick Stockton, Casper Uldriks and Diana Upton led a session in which they reviewed for the attendees the past and present initiatives of IAMERS. These activities involve the many legislative, regulatory agency and lobbying efforts conducted by the organization over the years and their varying success rates. The panel stressed that there is more pressure than ever to regulate the pre-owned medical imaging equipment industry and IAMERS members are a voice in the wilderness.

An FDA update was chaired by Rob Kerwin, Esq. He was joined by Casper Uldriks, Esq. and the gentlemen reviewed many of the items on the agenda for FDA and the many actions IAMERS is taking to be heard by the agency.

The first day was full with interesting talks and panels. Chuck Gauthier gave a talk prior to the lunch break in which he reviewed the Life Cycle and Risk Management for medical capital equipment. As our attention leaves the individual free standing practice and moves to the growing hospital organization under Obama Care, Chuck gave us some insight into how we can work with those responsible for purchasing equipment in hospitals and encourage them to consider used equipment.

Yours truly was asked to stand-in for Stanley Goldsmith, MD of the New York Presbyterian Hospital who was unable to attend the meeting due to a family illness. We discussed the connection between the Economy, Technology and Health Care Reform. Using history and reporting from today’s media, we were able to look at the various aspects of change that these three major influences impose on the market.

That evening the group was treated to a very special dinner and musical entertainment at the Russian Tea Room. Along with the good food, music and great conversation, the highlight of the evening was when Dave Band was recognized for his 20-years of service to the organization as a founder, President and a long term board member.

The meeting continued on Friday morning with Kate Guthro of Kate Guthro Design giving a presentation about the new IAMERS web site. Along with great statistics and good worldwide response to the site which launched last July, Kate helped us all understand how we can better use the site to promote our businesses and the IAMERS organization. As she reminded us, only 25% of the members have completely filled out the listing page. If you need help with this, contact Judy Wright (+1.201.833.1157 or judy@iamers.org) in the IAMERS office and she will get you started.

Rob Kerwin led another session, this time on UDI and the Medical Device Excise Tax. It was evident from Rob’s talk and the lively attendee discussion there is still much confusion about the UDI and especially about the implementation of the Medical Device Excise Tax.

Although the Medical Device Excise Tax is under scrutiny by the Senate and others in the House of Representatives, Mr. Kerwin advised all the members to follow the law and IRS instructions as best they could and not expect that there is going to be a restructuring or wholesale withdrawal of the tax. It hasn’t happened yet and we should continue to act as if it is here to stay was the advice from Rob.

The meeting concluded at mid-day with the annual business meeting and the election of the slate of officers for the next term. Diana Upton reminds us all to watch for the save the date announcement for the European meeting to be held in September in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Wayne Webster