Melanie Mestas Makes HEALTHCON Live
No one is more excited about AAPC’s HEALTHCON in Las Vegas, April 28-May 1, 2019, than AAPC Director of Live Events Melanie Mestas. She and her staff plan, organize, and put HEALTHCON on every year. And Melanie is the person to do it as she’s worked on AAPC conferences for more than 20 years.
When you and your team plan a conference, what is your goal?
That we have an event that all the attendees love. We want them to learn something, make new contacts and friends, renew long time friendships, do something fun, and leave feeling motivated about their careers and life.
How long does it take to plan and implement each HEALTHCON?
To get the space for an event this big you start looking at different sites and locations several years out. I think we actually start the nuts and bolts planning of this event right as we are getting ready to head to HEALTHCON that year.
What do you hope attendees will get out of attending HEALTHCON?
I always hope they leave feeling inspired and excited about their career, that they have learned something and are excited to approach their job with new ideas and revised enthusiasm.
I am very excited about our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Karen DeSalvo. I can’t say enough about how down to earth and nice she is. I just know she is going to be amazing.
What changes have you made this year to HEALTHCON to make it more valuable to attendees?
Instead of having a lunch on Wednesday, we have changed this event to a Networking Breakfast. My hope is that we can increase the opportunities to networks while at the event. I think that the networking and connections you make are the most valuable thing you can take from this experience. Also, I love a good breakfast and what a great start to your last day at HEALTHCON.
We are having an after the event yoga class on Monday. The class is designed to just get you moving and stretching, so you don’t have to be a yoga expert. And as an added bonus it is a great way to do some networking.
We have some awesome pre-conference events if you want to add a little more bang to your event. We will have the MGMA Lean Six Sigma White Belt and Yellow Belt, a two-day risk adjustment boot camp, and a CPC® exam review class.
What regional conferences are coming up? And where will HEALTHCON be held in the future?
Our 2019 regional conferences will be in New York City and Seattle. We are super excited to be heading back to the Northwest, and AAPC is going to make our first appearance in the Big Apple. Future HEALTHCON cities include Washington, D.C., and Nashville.
Melanie, how long have you been with AAPC and when did you take the rudder of the conference department?
The first time I worked for AAPC was in 1997. I was a temp employee who came on to help collate the handouts for the National Conference. I worked from January until April that year. In 1998, I came back again to collate handouts again, but this time I stayed. I only worked part time, in the mornings. I sat at the front desk answering the calls and helped the CEU department. I decided that I would come to AAPC full time and joined in 1999.
What have been some of your favorite conferences, and why?
I have some many wonderful conference memories and experiences. I am not sure I can pick a favorite. The 2000 AAPC National Conference in Minneapolis was my first AAPC conference, so it will always be very special to me. I ran the product store at that event. That was the year that AAPC really introduced the product store to the conference. At the Anaheim 1999 event they had some extra staff shirts and decided to sell them. Attendees seemed to be very interested, so we added the product store.
Learn More About HEALTHCON
Visit www.healthcon.com/agenda.php to read about HEALTHCON and other exciting parts of medical coding’s best conference.
AAPC also has regional conferences to suit you educational and networking needs. To find out more, go to the AAPC Conferences Web page.
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