January 2021

NACE Update from President McGolpin

I hope that each of you had a Happy and Safe Christmas and new year season as we transitioned to 2021.  A few weeks into 2021, our hopes are very high for a much better year than we saw in 2020.  Vaccinations for COVID are being rolled out across our great nation and front-line health workers and others are prioritized to receive these first doses.  Soon our teams will be prioritized for their vaccinations so that we can continue to deliver the essential services that the communities we serve depend on without the threat of becoming sick from this virus.  This will be a game-changer for all of us!

I by no means am an expert on how the medical community conducts the logistics of a roll-out operation such as this.  However, when we compare the rates of patients receiving treatment today to our much-anticipated conference in Palm Springs in April, we can see that an in-person conference is going to be a bridge too far in 2021.  California established new protocols in early December that measures the vacancy rate of Intensive Care Units (ICU) within five regions across the state.  In a nutshell, if the vacancy rate drops below 15% within a region then that region’s population must stay at home with only essential workers being allowed to travel.  Currently, four of the five regions now have stay at home orders in place, with three of these regions experiencing 4-week projections below the required threshold to leave this status.  Palm Springs is part of Riverside County which falls within the Southern California Region and today it has an ICU vacancy rate of 0.0%.  These statistics, coupled with various travel restrictions across the country, puts the success of holding an in-person conference in April low at best.

I called a Special Executive Committee meeting on January 6th to discuss the current government orders associated with COVID and to review contractual issues related to the conference.  NACE can financially afford to do an in-person conference, NACE can financially afford to do a virtual conference, what NACE cannot afford to do is conduct an unsuccessful in-person conference.  This was our guide as we deliberated the in-person conference.

On the 6th, the Executive Committee passed two recommendations unanimously to be made to the NACE Board of Directors:

1.    Cancel the 2021 NACE in-person conference and pursue a virtual format for the 2021 NACE Annual Conference, and  
2.    Hosting of the 2024 NACE Annual Conference be offered to California, pending approval by the CEAC Board of Directors (Same process and intent last year when we lost Alabama to the pandemic).  

A subsequent Special Meeting of the Board of Directors was held on January 11th to discuss all of the above and the Association’s leadership approved both recommendations as one unanimously. NACE staff have been preparing for the possibility of canceling the in-person conference for six months, they have spent countless hours learning the “virtual” conference format.  We are in the final stages of choosing our virtual platform for this effort and we will be off to the races to plan this first for NACE.  I have no doubt that all of us working together will deliver the finest virtual annual conference anywhere.  In advance, I would like to thank all of you for making this new conference format a complete success, especially our committee chairs, who will now take this very important aspect of NACE to a new level.

I cannot thank each of you enough for your patience this year and your ongoing commitment to NACE.  The Executive Committee and Board of Directors appreciate your support of the decisions that needed to be made this year so that our outstanding organization can continue in perpetuity.  Thank you!

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