The 340B Coalition, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, decided Tuesday to give registrants for its upcoming Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 winter conference in San Diego, Calif., the option of attending in person or remotely via an online portal.
Apexus, the government-contracted 340B prime vendor, however, will still hold its Jan. 30 340B University educational program in San Diego as an in-person-only event. The coalition conference and the 340B University session both are taking place at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), meanwhile, decided yesterday to turn its Feb. 14-17 annual policy and issues forum, planned as a hybrid event, into a totally virtual event. The forum’s in-person element was to have taken place at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.
Before the pandemic, all three events reliably attracted huge crowds. The coalition’s winter and summer meetings were drawing close to 2,000 attendees and exhibitors before COVID-19 arrived, and 340B University sessions before those meetings would enroll close to 500 participants. Pre-pandemic NACHC P&I annual forums would draw 2,000 or more registrants.
340B Coalition Winter Conference
The 340B Coalition, which comprises 13 groups that represent 340B covered entities, announced by email on Jan. 11 that “in response to the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” its winter conference registrants could opt between attending in person or virtually.
“We recognize that some people may not be able to travel to and participate in an in-person conference,” 340B Health President and CEO Maureen Testoni said for the coalition. Her group hosts the meeting on the coalition’s behalf. “These unprecedented times call on us all to be as flexible and accommodating as possible to protect our health and well-being while continuing the important work of caring for those in need.”
In-person attendees and exhibitors must have proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result and must wear masks regardless of vaccine status, according to the conference website.
Testoni indicated that she expects in-person attendance will be strong. “There has been so much demand for the event that rooms became limited at the Marriott Marquis and we have secured additional rooms at nearby hotels. I personally look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the conference.”
An Apexus spokesperson said on Jan. 11 that “340B University will continue as an in-person event.”
“Attendees are required to have a COVID vaccination record and wear a mask. We are monitoring state and county public health guidelines,” the spokesperson said.
NACHC P&I Forum
NACHC announced on its website yesterday that it changed its 2022 policy and issues forum in Washington, D.C., next month from a hybrid to an entirely virtual event.
“Given the current developments with the omicron variant and its impact on the D.C. region, the NACHC board decided to shift the 2022 Policy and Issues Forum to an all-virtual platform,” a NACHC spokesperson said. “While it is a critical time to convene and discuss the future direction of the health center movement and to inform policy makers of what health centers need to continue the work that they do, our attendees’ health and safety comes first. The decision was made after careful consideration of all the factors, not the least of which is that health centers have been fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic and remain essential to protecting public health. We are working on getting the message out to health centers, primary care associations, and advocates who planned to attend in person.”