AzHHA Makes Progress on Legislative Goals by Joe Furia

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

Today is the 53rd day of legislative session.  We are engaged on fewer than twenty bills - a significant decrease from the beginning of session, when we were monitoring or engaged on over one hundred bills. AzHHA and its partners have made substantial positive progress on most key issues. Here are just a few.

House Bill 2322 will help address the problem of significant delays in insurers credentialing and loading new doctors into their billing systems. AzHHA helped craft and supported the bill. If passed, it will: require insurers to approve a physician’s credentials and load them into their billing system within 100 days; require insurers reimburse for services provided to their members retroactive to the date a physician’s credentials were approved; and, create a financial penalty for insurers when they exceed the time limits. Last week, the House unanimously passed the bill and this would not have been possible without the more than 300 people who sent their legislators emails asking them to vote yes and the 15 hospital CEOs who made phone calls.

Senate Bill 1195, is intended to reform and streamline the process of involuntary screening and evaluating behavioral health patients who are involuntarily held because they may be a danger to themselves or others. It is a work in progress and may take the entire legislative session to find consensus. For the moment, it is wide-ranging and may have unintended consequences. AzHHA is working with our members to determine how the proposal will impact different types of facilities across the state.

As introduced, House Bill 2135 and Senate Bill 1086 would require AHCCCS to cover chiropractic services. While AzHHA is not opposed to chiropractic care or its inclusion in AHCCCS, we are opposed to the funding mechanism contained in the bill – the state hospital assessment. AHCCCS estimates that adding chiropractic services would then increase the assessment by approximately $2.5 million per year. AzHHA and its partners were successful in amending the bill to prohibit the use of assessment monies to fund these new services.

As amended, House Bill 2042 will require insurers to cover urology, pain medicine and substance abuse services provided through telemedicine. Last week it passed the House unanimously. Though AzHHA strongly supported the bill, we are cognizant that it does not address many of the factors necessary for telemedicine to be implemented widely and sustainably.

Please feel free to contact Greg Ensell if you have questions about these or any other bills. 

Factors that Influence Health. Data that Informs Action. by Joe Furia

Shayna Diamond, Director of Community Affairs 

A free webinar highlighting county-specific reports that focus on persistent gaps in opportunity that contribute to poor health outcomes is being offered on April 26th at Noon. Save the date! This program will be especially useful for nonprofit facilities and those working in community benefit. Discussion will focus on key findings, differences in outcomes and opportunity based on place and race/ethnicity, and specific evidence-informed approaches for taking action. The 2018 report will be available on March 14th to allow participants an opportunity to bring questions to the webinar.

DataGen Reports by Joe Furia

Ann-Marie Alameddin, Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel

The following DataGen reports were sent by AzHHA Analytics to our members in February:

  • FFY 2019 Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program   Sent 2/06/18
  • FFY2019 Wage and Occupational Mix Analyses        Sent 2/12/18
  • Cost Report Model                                                      Sent 2/14/18
  • Readmissions Reduction Program Analysis               (Pending)

If you would like a copy of your hospital report emailed to you, please email AzHHA Analytics.

DataGen reports are sent to hospitals as a part of AzHHA membership. DataGen utilizes Medicare analytics to create hospital-specific reports that support hospital operations, finance and enhance quality initiatives.

For more information on the 2018 DataGen schedule for release of DataGen reports, click here.

Social Determinants of Health AZ’s Statewide Conference by Joe Furia

Genesis Verduzco, Communications Manager 

Explore one of the complex factors that lead to readmissions: social determinants of health (SDoH). On March 27th participants at Arizona’s Statewide Conference: Social Determinants of Health will explore national case studies that have successfully improved community health by SDoH as well as finding your role in the development of future innovative SDoH. Target audiences include hospital c-suite, directors of case management, community health providers, directors of nursing and community based organizations. To learn register or learn more about the conference, click here.  

Point of Pride: Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation by Joe Furia

Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporations ED physician uses his experience of working in a reservation when lending a hand to Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Edward Chu took a six-month break from his role as an ER doctor to manage the Doctors Without Borders’ trauma unit in the capital Bangui — the only trauma unit in the city. Dr. Chu was able use skills that he learned working on the reservation, such as recognizing cultural nuances in the medical response, working with and training traditional healers and translators, and incorporating telemedicine. To learn more about his experience click here.