IAHCSMM, AHRMM remain vigilant, diligent about annual conference plans

March 13, 2020

The two industry-leading membership groups representing sterile processing and supply chain operation professionals are keeping a close eye on regulatory and legislative decisions regarding the national and global spread of COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic.

Against the backdrop of a growing number of association and trade groups within healthcare and outside of healthcare that either are canceling, suspending or postponing their annual events, the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) and the Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management (AHRMM) are taking their respective decisions with expected seriousness.

“IAHCSMM and its Board of Directors are monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely,” Julie Williamson, IAHCSMM Communications Director, told Healthcare Purchasing News late yesterday. “Regarding our upcoming annual conference and expo, we are evaluating all aspects and opportunities for the safety and benefits of all members, exhibitors and attendees.

This is a very fluid situation and we will be updating all stakeholders as new developments unfold.”

IAHCSMM’s annual conference is scheduled for April 25-29 in Chicago’s McCormick Place.

AHRMM’s leadership also expresses notable concern about the virus.

“The American Hospital Association (AHA) and AHRMM are closely monitoring COVID-19 information and working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as other federal, state, and local authorities,” stated Deborah Sprindzunas, AHRMM Executive Director. “Following CDC recommendations, additional precautionary measures to support the health and safety of attendees are being adopted. As this is an evolving situation, we are continually reviewing policies and will update the conference status as needed.”

AHRMM’s annual conference is scheduled for July 26-29 in Austin, TX.

Several healthcare organizations already have canceled their annual conferences and exhibitions during March, including HIMSS, which had scheduled its Global Health Conference & Exhibition, for March 9-13, in Orlando, FL; and AORN, which had scheduled its Global Surgical Conference & Expo for March 28-April 1, in Anaheim, CA.

This week HIMSS announced online a “digital experience” called “HIMSS20 Digital” instead. AORN provided additional information online here.

HPN will continue to monitor what other healthcare organizations plan to do with their annual conferences and exhibitions and report anything relevant when it becomes available.

Outside of healthcare, however, events designed to draw thousands of people either are not being held or are severely limiting and restricting access due to concerns about COVID-19 and coronavirus exposure. Examples include the canceled Inspired Home Show, formerly known as the International Home + Housewares Show, scheduled for March 14-17 in Chicago. However, MODEX, the leading trade show for supply chain, manufacturing and distribution industries concluded yesterday in Atlanta, after four days of educational sessions and exhibits.

Coronavirus and COVID-19 concerns motivated professional and amateur sports to make changes, too. The NBA suspended its current season, the MLB delayed the start of its season and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament first limited fans in the stands then quickly followed by canceling the March Madness event. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry postponed the release of films, eliminated television audiences at talk shows and even saw Disneyland close through March, according to news reports.

South By Southwest (SXSW), the annual arts and music festival held in Austin, TX, canceled its event that was scheduled for March 13-22.

Meanwhile, New York’s governor issued guidance that banned events in the state that could attract 500 persons or more. Illinois’ governor issued guidance to cancel or postpone all public gatherings and community events expected to attract 250 persons or more. He also “mandated” that events that involved 1,000 people or more be canceled or postponed immediately. Illinois’ governor said they need to reduce social contact in order to control the spread of the virus.

IAHCSMM has the FAQ on COVID-19 and its potential impact on our conference.

AHA has the report with the latest updates and resources on COVID-19.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.