Each day we learn more about COVID and try to better understand the rules and guidelines being promulgated for safety. Just a couple of months ago, RCPA announced that we will continue all events virtually. One month later, we announced the ability to hold hybrid events with the option to attend in person. Clearly, that is what we all want, and what we hear from RCPA members.
So, with the Annual Conference approaching at the end of September, we need to again re-evaluate where we are with our approach to such events. And discussion about COVID was obviously a big part of last week’s virtual RCPA Board meeting.
As of today, here are the RCPA guidelines:
- Annual Conference. The plan proceeds with a fully hybrid event. You can attend in-person for part or all of the conference and it will all be available virtually as well. We already have many sponsors and exhibitors — and the program, which is excellent, is near completion. The change, however, is that we are requiring on-site attendees — including speakers, exhibitors, etc. — to be fully vaccinated. It is the most responsible approach at this time, and you will be seeing more about this shortly. If you are not vaccinated, or are just uncomfortable attending in person, the virtual event is available and we hope you actively participate, as many did at our successful virtual conference last year.
- Meetings. Similarly, each RCPA division director will be discussing with members whether any upcoming meetings will be in person, hybrid, or virtual. Again, all such meetings will require on-site attendees to be fully vaccinated.
- Provider Site Visits. One of the hallmarks of RCPA is that staff historically have spent a great deal of time “on the road” visiting with providers for better understanding programs, services, issues, etc. COVID clearly brought that practice to a halt. Of recent, some of these important visits have been reinstated. Moving forward, this will be based on a case-by-case discussion between the RCPA staff member(s) and the provider organization.
The most current federal and local guidance will be followed regarding mask wearing at all events. Having outlined all of the above, we all know it can change again tomorrow. But given the many questions and comments from members on this issue, we felt it important to document the thinking at this time.