Congress Makes Progress on Budget Deal by Joe Furia

Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development , Senior Vice President of Policy Development 

Yesterday, Senate leaders announced a budget agreement that would raise spending caps on military and domestic programs over the next two years. The deal would fund the government through March 23rd to allow the Appropriation Committees time to complete their work. The proposal would raise defense and domestic spending, and includes additional disaster relief funding. While legislative language was not released as of Wednesday afternoon, it has been reported that several healthcare provisions are also included in the package:

  • Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for an additional four years on top of the six years included in the last continuing resolution
  • $6 billion for the opioid crisis and mental health
  • A two year delay in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts
  •  Extension of several Medicare payment adjustments that support access to healthcare in rural areas
  • Two years of funding for community health centers

If approved by the Senate, the House will need to agree to the proposal by Thursday midnight in order to avert a government shutdown. Alternatively, the Senate could pass the previously approved pared-down House resolution.

Advance Care Planning Conversations: Train the Trainer – Phoenix and Flagstaff by Joe Furia

Karen Beckford, Director of Thoughtful Life Conversations

AzHHA’s Thoughtful Life Conversations program will be offering the Honoring a Life: Advance Care Planning Conversations Train the Trainer program on March 16th. These 6-hour workshops train community representatives and volunteers to facilitate the 2-hour Honoring a Life: Advance Care Planning Workshop. For more information or to register, click here. In addition, we will be offering 5-hour Communications in Serious Illness Train the Trainer in Flagstaff on March 27th, more details on this event coming soon.  If you are interested in bringing these training to your community please contact Karen Beckford 

Opioid Policy Changes Expected by Joe Furia

Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development 

With the Opioid Special Session now over, the state legislature is expected to make some clarifying changes to the enacted bill in the coming weeks. One of the changes AzHHA is advocating for is ensuring surgical patients can receive the appropriate dosage of opioids at discharge. AzHHA will provide members a summary of the special session legislation and “trailer bill” once the trailer bill is finalized.

In related news, the Arizona Department of Health Services has indicated that the opioid prescribing and treatment rule could be finalized in late March or April. They plan to ease in implementation, offering technical assistance to providers and working with them to come into compliance over time. AzHHA will be updating the Healthcare Compliance and Consent Manual later this year to reflect all the new opioid-related prescribing, treatment and reporting requirements.

5th Annual ACMA Arizona Conference by Joe Furia

Sandy Severson, Vice President of Care Improvement 

The Arizona Case Management Association (ACMA) will be having their 5th Annual ACMA Arizona Conference on February 23rd at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience professional education relevant to case management practice, gain access to a variety of resources from our sponsors and exhibitors and network with fellow case managers. Nursing and Social Work CEUs will also be available. For more information or to register, click here.