Region 2 consists of the following Chapters: Central New York, Hudson Valley New York, Metropolitan New York, Northeastern New York, Puerto Rico, Rochester Regional, Western New York.
Region 2’s Fall Institute was set for Oct. 14-16 this year, but in May 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full effect, the Region 2 executives shifted gears to create a digital event that was still valuable to 309 registered attendees.
Need to restructure the event
According to Barbara Piascik, FHFMA, CHC, and RE2 for HFMA Region 2, the team had to restructure parts of the conference already in the works, and consider what portions of the in-person event could be part of the digital event and what needed to be changed.
Some major differences in the virtual event versus the in-person event included not having a vendor fair with booths and not having breakout sessions. Since the final day was not a travel day, the Region was also able to extend the conference hours, according to Piascik, who is the chief compliance officer at Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, New Jersey.
The secret sauce to a successful event
“One of the biggest challenges was sponsorship and how to give the sponsors value in the virtual environment,” said Piascik.
Piascik said other HFMA Regions that may want to similarly host a virtual conference, should consider:
- Spending time on sponsorship packages. For example, have attendees visit sponsor websites in an online scavenger hunt.
- Getting financial support through vendors and business partners.
- Gifting speakers a selfie light and microphone headset if they do not have their own.
- Hard wiring computers and broadcasting from a venue rather than a home.
- Having fun even though some things may go wrong, such as speakers showing up late.
“Worry about little things like assigning room monitors, monitoring chat and Q&A during sessions, managing CPE’s, surveys to be sent out and [having] print-outs of assignments, etc.” said Piascik.