Legislature Tackles School Safety and Education Funding as Budget Work Continues by Joe Furia

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

Today is the 74th day of legislative session. This week, work on the state budget took a backseat to two high profile issues: enhancing school safety and extending Proposition 301’s 0.6% education sales tax.

Despite the legislature’s focus on school safety and education funding, AzHHA has continued its effort to educate members on the impact of a $35 million increase to the state hospital assessment included in Governor Ducey’s budget proposal.

In addition to individually meeting with legislators AzHHA has launched a grassroots campaign. This campaign focuses on increasing awareness of the important role hospitals play in our communities. It features individual videos highlighting the care hospitals provide to millions of Arizonans as well as their economic impact. Through this easy to use campaign individuals are able to show their support by contacting their respective legislators with just a few clicks.

AHCCCS Released Draft CYE 2019 Differential Payment Adjustments by Joe Furia

Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development 

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has posted proposed CYE 2019 Differential Payment Adjustments, effective October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019.

Under the proposal, hospitals will qualify for 0.5% rate increase by participating in the state’s health information exchange, or by increasing participation if certain information is not currently transmitted. Hospitals paid under the APR-DRG system can qualify for two additional adjustments:

  • A 0.5% increase if the hospital holds a Pediatric-Prepared Emergency Care certification
  • A 0.5% if the hospital collaborates with the AHCCCS Administration to improve care to American Indian/Alaska Native members by entering into a care coordination agreement with an IHS or Tribal 638 facility

The proposal also includes differential adjustments for other provider types, including physicians and integrated clinics. Comments on the proposal must be submitted to FFSRates@azahcccs.gov by 5:00 p.m. on April 16th.

New Tool Helps Patients Get the Right Care at the Right Time by Joe Furia

Ann-Marie Alameddin, Vice President Strategy and General Counsel

Earlier this week, AzHHA’s Post-Acute Care (PAC) Hospitals Constituency Group released their much anticipated PAC Patient Placement Guide. This guide is designed to help case managers assist families and patients in getting them to the right level of post-acute care. The focus of this guide is to provide patients with the right level of care at the right time. This guide clearly compares the different levels of post-acute care between Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACH), Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospitals (IRF) and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF). AzHHA would like to thank the PAC Hospitals who contributed to this work on behalf of Arizona patients to shine a light on a much misunderstood part of the healthcare continuum. 

AzHHA Releases Hospital Financial Reports for January 2018 by Joe Furia

Jim Haynes, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

For years AzHHA has been tracking uncompensated care trends and the financial effects it has on hospitals and health systems. The latest report shows hospital operating margins increasing primarily due to a rise in inpatient services. At the same time the costs of uncompensated care continues run below 3 percent as a result of the decrease in the uninsured population. Surprisingly the AHCCCS population is declining, the total population has decreased by 4 percent since August 2017, and the childless adult population, partially financed by the hospital assessment, has declined steadily over the last 5 months.

Point of Pride: Aurora Behavioral Health System by Joe Furia

Our member Aurora Behavioral Health System has made its way to the #1 spot as Arizona’s Best Rehabilitation Hospital by Ranking Arizona. Ranking Arizona Magazine is Arizona’s largest business opinion poll which annually ranks companies based on those with whom voters want to do business. As a leader in behavioral health treatment for more than 10 years, Aurora has transformed the traditional psychiatric hospital experience into one that offers a holistic approach to treatment to better serve their patients. Congratulations to our member!