Updated on: March 6, 2020

BREAKING: Coronavirus Fears Result in HIMSS Conference Cancellation

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Original story posted on: March 5, 2020

The nation’s largest healthcare conference has been canceled amid the growing threat.

The deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in the cancellation of HIMSS20, the 2020 healthcare IT conference initially scheduled to take place next Monday in Florida, according to an announcement on the association’s website.

“Following reports from the WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is clearly necessary to cancel HIMSS20,” read the announcement, which has been posted on the HIMSS website.

By most accounts, the HIMSS 2020 Global Health Conference and Exhibition is considered to be the largest of healthcare conferences annually staged across the U.S. More than 45,000 were expected to attend the annual conference, which had been scheduled to continue through March 13.

“This will be the first time in 58 years the event has been canceled,” HIMSS said in a news release posted on its website. “But it is now clear that cancellation is unavoidable in order to meet HIMSS’ obligation to protect the health and safety of the global HIMSS community, employees, and local residents, as well as for the healthcare providers tasked with keeping our U.S. and global communities healthy.”

Former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) official Stanley Nachimson, now an IT consultant and a longtime HIMSS attendee, told ICD10monitor that he had not been planning to attend HIMSS this year regardless, due to virus concerns.

“Given that this is an international healthcare conference, it was the prudent thing to do,” Nachimson said. “Many vendors had already cancelled, and I am sure there were many folks who were reluctant to travel and be at a conference with 40,000 attendees. I had already decided not to attend, even though the conference was a short drive away for me. This really shows how interconnected today’s world is, but also shows how quickly information (and viruses) spread!”

Today’s announcement by HIMSS comes just as the WHO had raised the global risk level from “high” to “very high,” as countries around the world scramble to respond to the influx of new coronavirus cases beyond China.

In the meantime, officials today ordered a cruise ship with approximately 3,500 passengers to remain off the California coast until the crew and passengers can be tested for the virus. On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsome declared a state of emergency over the virus, clearing the way for the state to receive federal aid, following the death of a man in Northern California’s Placer County.

This is a developing story. RACmonitor and ICD10monitor will continue to report on the deadly virus.

Chuck Buck

Chuck Buck is the publisher of ICD10monitor and is the executive producer and program host of Talk Ten Tuesdays.