Gambling on HFMA ANI's showroom floor

ClearPoint Companies is my new favorite company in healthcare finance.

I'm not quite sure what the Henderson, Nevada-based firm does--something about global supply chain sourcing. However, they had a poker table on the vendor floor at the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) National Institute, and that more than makes up for a lack of corporate specifics.

Not only did ClearPoint have a poker table, it was staffed by a couple of professional poker players and a dealer. I played three hands of Texas hold 'em and promptly lost about $500 (since my editors are unaware I was gambling, I should be able to expense it).

Ed: Note to self--check Ron's HFMA expense report.

"It's all about drawing people to the booths," Rudiger Merz, ClearPoint's chief strategy officer, told me. There were plans for a private poker session later in the evening.

It seemed to work--the big felt table at ClearPoint was packed for the remainder of the afternoon.

ClearPoint was not the only vendor with a gambling theme in line with the Las Vegas venue (last year's meeting was in Florida, where as I recall the theme was savage humidity). There were the requisite wheels of fortune, pick-a-card games and other games of chance.

Orbograph, the Maryland-based revenue cycle management firm, had a blackjack table at its booth. However, they only let you play one hand (where I lost--again).

McKesson had a game of non-chance, a riff on Jenga wherein contestants tugged on and removed colored blocks keyed to the terms "value-based care," "core operations," "performance and quality" and "connectivity" until I presume the entire pile fell. I'm not sure what happens after that--the person who topples the blocks has to hire McKesson as a consultant?

Florida-based Sheridan Healthcare had one of the most curious attractions--George Washington and Abraham Lincoln greeting passerbys.

Washington saluted me and asked "how goes the front?"

I asked him why such a noted historical figure would be hanging around Vegas.

"To provide leadership, something in woefully short supply these days."

All right.

Abraham Lincoln told me he has family in the Los Angeles area--something I thought curious, since the place had a population of about 5,000 when he was president. He then noted that he and Mary Todd Lincoln had discussed visiting California just a couple of days before he met his fate.

I asked Washington how he and Lincoln were together, given they were not contemporaries of one another.

"I haven't figured it out yet," Washington replied.

Gregg Goldenberg, a Sheridan vice president, asked me by way of explanation for the duo if I had ever seen "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"--and then promptly asked me not to quote him.

All food for warped thought--unless I decided I wanted actual food, in which case there were plenty of mini Hershey's bars, mints and other bite-sized paraphernalia to munch on, as is always the case at the ANI.

Both Medassist and Elanon tried a little too hard--they sported identical stacks of cake popsicles.

Accretive Health offered copious fresh fruit--a healthy alternative to some of their past promotional materials, I supposed.

When I swung by Accretive, I asked one of the people at the booth where their earnings were, as I promised I would in a past column. "We're sort of in a restatement period," was the response from the unnamed exec. That's sort of an understatement, period.

Michael Klozotsky, Accretive's senior marketing director, swooped in quickly to tell me Accretive expects to have its numbers ready soon.

I wound up fixed on Klozotsky's lapel carnation, which was made of a bright purple cloth. It would make a great conference giveway, I thought--perhaps to the winner of the ClearPoint poker tournament. - Ron (@FierceHealth)