The past year has been riddled with unprecedented situations as individuals and businesses were forced to find new ways to make meaningful connections when COVID-19 paused gathering indefinitely. The Hudson Headwaters 340B team felt the impact of these changes by switching to a remote workforce overnight, canceling our in-person events, and navigating the idea of virtual event spaces. Through this time, we have seen how the resilience of the human spirit has taken over event organizers to make sure there were still opportunities to learn and connect. Our team recently attended with 340B Coalition Winter Conference, which was the second virtual event hosted by the coalition, and we plan to continue attending virtual events until we can make a safe in-person return.
Virtual conferences have provided our team the chance to network and connect with attendees and current clients in a virtual space. Over the past year, we have attended over six large scale virtual conferences hosted by the 340B coalition, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and various Primary Care Associations (PCA’s). The honest truth is that it can be difficult to make meaningful connections when your chance for connecting lives within the layers of a digital platform. This realization gave our team a chance to consider new ways to reach attendees and engage with platform features. Our team took several important steps to increase engagement during these virtual events:
- Social Media Engagement – It is important to reach attendees wherever they are spending their time, and social media has proved an effective way to engage during events. Many conferences have a set of hashtags, virtual scavenger hunt activities, and other fun to engage in on social media that exhibitors can use to share their message with attendees.
- Digital Materials – We had plenty of print and swag materials for in person conferences but used the switch to virtual to make sure that our digital arsenal was prepared with videos, graphics, and downloadable sheets for attendees to understand our service.
- New FREE Service Offering – Starting with the 2021 Winter Conference, we are offering a FREE Policy and Procedure review to covered entities that are ready to start their compliance journey and make sure that the foundational document of their program is reflecting compliant practice. This offering is also available during the NACHC P&I Conference – stop by our virtual booth or email email@example.com to learn more!
- Ready to Connect Outside of Exhibit Times – We know that sometimes the exhibit visit times can be the only break an attendee gets, and the virtual setting means that you are likely still at work. With this in mind, our team is always ready to meet and engage with attendees at their availability. Send us a message or e-mail and we will always find time to talk 340B!
The 340B Winter Conference provided a variety of opportunities to connect within their platform including a new “Talk Now” feature that allowed for an immediate video chat, in addition to session chat boxes and breakout rooms. The event reminded attendees that the 340B program remains under scrutiny from various stakeholders that are not acting in the best interest of the covered entities that are providing lifesaving service and access to patients across the country. Manufacturer involvement in the program remains a current threat as the imposed limitations can reduce access for covered entities and their contract pharmacy partners. Several sessions outlined the interests of the new administration and how bi-partisan support is needed to keep the 340B program working. “Working across the aisle means you have to find people interested in the subject matter,” said Donna E. Shalala during her keynote address, “Where are We Going in Health Care?” She continues later in her remarks, “We have to keep putting a human face on the program so [policy makers] understand that the program is saving human lives.” The week one conference re-cap can be found here.
The Hudson Headwaters 340B team is looking forward to continuing our involvement in the national conference space through several exciting upcoming events. The NACHC Policy and Issues forum kicks off early next week virtually through Digitell Inc. and is designed to allow attendees to “focus on a host of health center operational, clinical, governance, and policy/advocacy areas.” The next conference we will look forward to attending is the North Carolina Community Health Center Association’s Primary Care Conference that will be hosted virtually in April. In May, our team is looking into a virtual offering for our Client Forum that had to be cancelled in 2020 due to timelines with COVID-19’s initial outbreak. The 340B Coalition Summer Conference and NACHC CHI are both considering in person events at this time but may switch to virtual depending on regulation and attendee ability to travel. A compiled list of key conferences and dates can be found below.
- NACHC Policy and Issues Forum – March 15-18
- North Carolina PCA – April 7-9
- Hudson Headwaters 340B Client Forum – May TBD
- 340B Coalition Summer Conference – July 19-21
- NACHC Community Health Institute – August 22-24
With the 340B program under scrutiny and our world still operating virtually, there is no better time to make sure your program is compliant and optimized. Let us help you navigate complex program language and requirements and make sure that you are prepared in the event of an audit. Fill out our “Contact Us” form or email Steph at firstname.lastname@example.org to start your 340B compliance conversation today.
This piece was contributed by Stephanie Willis, Marketing Specialist.