Association Executive Directors Community

  • 1.  Vaccinations and Conferences

    Posted 07-20-2021 15:00
    Hello.

    We are planning our Annual Conference for December.  Because of concerns about the variants we have been talking about the options we have concerning attendance. We are planning to cap attendance in order to maintain social distances, but we are thinking about lifting the cap if everyone's vaccinated.

    Has anyone dealt with this? Is it legal to ask people to state whether they are vaccinated when they register for the Conference? I know we can ask our employees, but can we make it a condition of attendance at an event?

    Thanks,
    Gian-Carl

    ------------------------------
    Gian-Carl Casa
    President and CEO
    Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, Inc.
    Hartford CT
    (860)525-5080 1022
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    Posted 07-20-2021 16:08

    These are great questions.  We are busy planning our Annual Conference right now- last week of September.  Some time ago I announced that this will be virtual (again) as last year's was that way and went very well with several hundred attendees on-line.  But things changed rapidly, and I heard from numerous members that they really wanted an in-person event.

     

    So, we have moved to a fully hybrid event- 100% in-person and on-line.  If things change such that the in-person part has to go away, we will continue with a virtual event again and be ready.   As to the in-person part, thus far we have not asked if people are vaccinated.  We are allowing people to use good judgment and will follow all CDC rules at the time.  But as we all know, things change daily and rapidly.

     

    Last year the National Council had a meeting of all of us focused on conferences, lessons learned, etc.  Maybe we should do another, and we can be the "guinea pig" and let you know what we have experienced.

     

    I should note that Maryland- Shannon Hall (and Delaware, but on the IDD side) are joining us.  So Shannon, feel free to jump in on this one with anything you have heard from your members!

     

    - Richard

     

    Richard S. Edley, PhD
    President/CEO

    Main: 717-364-3280
    Email: redley@paproviders.org

    777 E Park Dr, Ste G4
    Harrisburg, PA 17111
    Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter

     

     






  • 3.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    National Council Staff
    Posted 07-20-2021 18:35

    Good afternoon everyone,

     

    First, I love Richard's idea that we might want to schedule a webinar focused on conferences to update one another on lessons learned, what we're each planning for future conferences and will take that for action.

     

    I also wanted to share what our legal counsel Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, Esq.
    Managing Partner, Tenenbaum Law Group (who specializes in associations and conferences) has to say about Gian-Carl's question about whether it legal to ask people to state whether they are vaccinated when they register for the Conference

     

    ...see below

     

    "Some states such as Florida have laws prohibiting business from requiring proof of vaccination as a precondition of physically entering the business. I don't believe any such state laws prohibit self-attestation of vaccination status as a precondition of entry, but I am not entirely sure without reviewing the laws at issue. On the federal law side, other than Title III of the ADA - which requires reasonable accommodations for certain qualifying disabilities as long as they don't pose an undue burden - there is no restriction on such mandatory vaccinations as a precondition of in-person conference attendance."...Jeff Tenenbaum, Tenenbaum Law Group

     

    You also might find his recent youtube video helpful.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLUiOPkQXHU

     

     

     

    Jeannie Campbell
    Executive Vice President
    National Council for Mental Wellbeing
    1400 K Street NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005
    Direct: (202) 684-3726 | Mobile: (301)‑379‑6201
    Email: JeannieC@TheNationalCouncil.org
           
    www.TheNationalCouncil.org  
    Conf21!

    https://www.facebook.com/TheNationalCouncil
    https://twitter.com/nationalcouncil
    https://www.youtube.com/user/nationalcouncil
    https://www.linkedin.com/company/1784305/
     
     





  • 4.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    National Council Staff
    Posted 07-20-2021 16:08

    Good Question Gian-Carl,

     

    The CDC statement on that is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/event-planners-and-attendees-faq.html

    "Event planners might choose to verify COVID-19 vaccination status at the time of ticket sales or entry to an event. Organizers must obey all applicable local, state, tribal, and territorial laws, regulations and rules as they consider whether to confirm COVID-19 vaccination status. If organizers choose to require COVID-19 vaccination for participation in an event, they should do so in a manner that is respectful to staff and attendees and consistent with applicable privacy laws and standards."

    But Some State Governments Are Banning Businesses From Asking Customers About Covid-19 Vaccination Status https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulhsieh/2021/06/29/some-state-governments-are-banning-businesses-from-asking-customers-about-covid-19-vaccination-status---why-thats-a-bad-idea/?sh=4e0b37084d14

     

    These states include Alabama, Florida, Iowa, and Texas.

     

     

                                    Stay Well - Joe






  • 5.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    Posted 07-21-2021 14:10
    Thank you, all.  This is very helpful.

    Best,
    Gian-Carl

    ------------------------------
    Gian-Carl Casa
    President and CEO
    Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, Inc.
    Hartford CT
    (860)525-5080 1022
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    Posted 08-02-2021 16:13
    As an update to the recent questions about conferences, see our position on meetings, COVID, etc., see below.  Thing are changing quickly. Thank you - Richard
    --------------------------------------------------
    8/2/21



    RCPA, COVID, Meetings, and the Annual Conference


    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:

    1. 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.
    1. 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.
    1. 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.

    Thank you,
    Richard S. Edley, PhD
    RCPA President/CEO



    ------------------------------
    Richard Edley
    CEO
    Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association
    Harrisburg PA
    (717)364-3280
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    Posted 08-02-2021 17:35

    Richard:

    Thanks for providing this update.  We retooled our conference this year to a smaller size and focusing on leadership teams with our members.  We are several weeks out from this event, but we may need to make a decision this week on postponing the event depending on the case rates we are seeing in our state.  It was clear from member surveys this year that there is no desire in our membership for another virtual conference, such as we had in 2020 (although we think it was a great event).

    The way I see it, we may have to move forward with similar requirements to your own (required vaccination), follow the current guidance from the CDC on masking, or postpone the event and see what we can salvage near the end of the calendar year.  Frankly, we are also concerned about the optics of a conference event, even if we follow strict protocols.

    Then again, Chicago just had Lollapalooza....



    ------------------------------
    Josh Evans
    President/CEO
    Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities
    Springfield IL
    217-725-7859
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    National Council Staff
    Posted 08-03-2021 13:32
    As more and organizations/events are moving to requiring proof of vaccination some have seen confusion from members/employees on whether asking someone if they have had a COVID-19 vaccine constitutes a HIPAA violation. The short answer is that it does not. Here is a good article that explains it in detail: Is it a HIPAA Violation to Ask for Proof of Vaccine Status?
    HIPAA Journal remove preview
    Is it a HIPAA Violation to Ask for Proof of Vaccine Status?
    According to several media sources, there appears to be a degree of confusion about the purpose of HIPAA, who it applies to, and whether asking someone if Can an employer ask an employee for proof of vaccine status or would that be in violation of HIPAA?
    View this on HIPAA Journal >
     

    What is HIPAA Law regarding Vaccine Passports?

    HIPAA law regarding vaccine passports is the same as any other proof of vaccination. Only HIPAA Covered Entities and their Business Associates are required to comply with HIPAA. Therefore, if an individual is asked for a vaccine passport by their health plan provider, the health plan provider is subject to HIPAA law. However, if an amusement park operator requests to see a vaccine passport, they are not a HIPAA Covered Entity or Business Associate and therefore not subject to HIPAA law.

    Does the same apply with regards to Negative COVID Tests and HIPAA?

    Yes. If an employer requests evidence of a negative COVID test before allowing an employee to return to work, or a university requests evidence of a negative COVID test before allowing a student to resume in-person tuition, neither is in violation of HIPAA law provided neither is a HIPAA Covered Entity nor Business Associate.



    ------------------------------
    Sara Haywood
    AVP Conference
    National Council for Behavioral Health
    202-684-7457
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    National Council Staff
    Posted 08-03-2021 13:32
    This PCMA article also sheds light on how to navigate some of the new state laws. Steven A. Adelman, head of Adelman Law Group and vice president of the Event Safety Alliance makes the case in the article that "if this executive order (referring to FL law) were to result in depressing in-person attendance so much that the meeting becomes economically nonviable, they will have a legal argument for force majeure"

    Vaccine Mandates Are Gaining Some Ground at Events
    PCMA remove preview
    Vaccine Mandates Are Gaining Some Ground at Events
    With COVID cases rising due to the Delta variant, the question of making proof of vaccination a requirement to attend events is popping up more often. We asked a lawyer to weigh in on the potential legal ramifications for host organizations - and it's more straightforward than some may think.
    View this on PCMA >



    ------------------------------
    Sara Haywood
    AVP Conference
    National Council for Mental Wellbeing
    202-684-7457
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Vaccinations and Conferences

    Posted 09-20-2021 17:55
    Thank you, all. Much appreciated.

    (Sorry for the late thanks, I just realized I hadn't done that).

    GC

    ------------------------------
    Gian-Carl Casa
    President and CEO
    Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, Inc.
    Hartford CT
    (860)525-5080 1022
    ------------------------------