The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society moved its five-day annual conference from early March to Aug. 9 in Las Vegas next year.
In an email to its exhibitors, event organizers wrote that it is moving the conference for the "health and safety of the global HIMSS community, employees and local residents" amid the COVID-19 pandemic. HIMSS canceled its 2020 conference slated to take place in Orlando, Fla. in March. It was the first time the conference had been canceled in its 58-year history.
HIMSS in April said it wouldn't refund exhibitors and sponsors, including Modern Healthcare, for their 2020 fees. Instead, they offered partial credit on their 2021 and 2022 conference participation. A group of exhibitors subsequently petitioned HIMSS for their money back.
Attendees who registered for HIMSS20 will be able to transfer paid registrations to HIMSS21.
Exhibitioners will be able to keep their current contracted location at the 2021 conference, organizers said. HIMSS will launch a digital engagement platform for exhibitors, they wrote.
HIMSS CEO Hal Wolf confirmed the new date on a call with reporters July 31.
"We just felt that March was too much of a risk," Wolf said.
He declined to share how many exhibitors had re-signed contracts with HIMSS for the August date.
HIMSS has filed an insurance claim over the canceled 2020 trade show, Wolf said. If the claim is resolved, HIMSS plans to "come forward with additional remedies" for exhibitors, he said.
It's cost HIMSS roughly $7 million to offer partial credit to exhibitors so far. That's included allowing exhibitors and sponsors to credit 25% of their 2020 fees toward participation in the 2021 and 2022 conferences, and allowing universities and startups to credit 100% of their 2020 fees toward the 2021 and 2022 conferences.
HIMSS22, set for March 14, 2022 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, will remain on schedule.
HIMSS' conference is one of the largest gatherings of health IT professionals in the nation, typically drawing more than 40,000 attendees.
This article was updated Friday, July 31, to include comments from HIMSS CEO Hal Wolf.