Statement about vMed20 Cancellation due to Covid-19
March 5th, 2020
After a year of planning and record interest in this year’s Virtual Medicine (vMed) conference, with over 415 registrants to date, we are proud and gratified to see our vMed community grow so much in the past year. It is therefore with great disappointment that we must inform you that Virtual Medicine ’20, scheduled for March 25-26th at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, must now be canceled due to concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. The planning committee has come to this very difficult decision with a heavy heart.
Our team has been closely monitoring the novel coronavirus outbreak since it was first reported. Until just today, we believed that vMed20 could be held without cancellation due to the low level threat posed by the virus and the lack of documented cases in and around our medical center. However, in the past 24 hours Los Angeles County has observed an increase in Covid-19 cases and officials have declared a public health state of emergency for our region.
Since vMed is still three weeks away, we cannot reliably predict how the disease will further spread in Southern California or how it will continue to disrupt both domestic and international travel. In addition, some of our keynote speakers and registrants traveling from afar have expressed uncertainty about whether they can hazard the trip due to increasing travel restrictions, risk of quarantine, and concern about exposure. For these reasons, we must regrettably cancel the event.
Although vMed is the highlight of our year, nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our vMed community. We know that canceling vMed will cause inconvenience, disappointment, and an unmeasurable opportunity cost for everyone involved, but we believe this decision must be made out of an abundance of caution. As a team focused on healthcare, we feel it is our responsibility to prioritize the health and safety of our registrants, speakers, exhibitors, and staff, above all else.
We will work to refund your registration fee as noted in the cancellation policy (although the policy does not cover travel costs, including flights and hotel bookings). Please be patient with us as we process the refunds together with Eventbrite, the ticket vendor. Refunds will be processed within est. 30 business days. Let us know if you have any questions; we will respond as soon as we can.
In the meantime, please join us for vMed21! We will announce dates for our next conference as soon as they are available and will remain in touch with our growing vMed community to ensure vMed21 meets the high standards we set for vMed20.
We wish you all good health.
Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS
Brandon Birckhead, MD
On behalf of the vMed20 planning committee