Legislature Slows To A Crawl as AzHHA Gears Up for PAC Fundraising Campaign by Joe Furia

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

This week, work at the Capitol slowed to a crawl as the Governor’s office and legislative leadership work behind closed doors to craft a school safety plan and negotiate the state budget. Meanwhile, AzHHA is preparing to launch its 2018 AzHHA Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraising campaign.

Recent events in Congress and the State Legislature reinforce that, more than ever, it’s imperative that healthcare leaders have an influential voice in policy making. Having a well-funded PAC is imperative. This year, AzHHA PAC has a fundraising goal of $90,000. We won’t be able to meet this goal without your personal support.

Making a contribution is easy. Just visit http://donate.azhha.org/login.

AzHHA PAC is a nonpartisan organization that collects contributions from healthcare leaders. The collected funds help support elected officials and candidates for office who back policies that help build better healthcare for Arizona’s people, patients and communities.

 Please direct questions or concerns to Greg Ensell.

CMS Issues Final 2019 Marketplace Rule by Joe Furia

Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development 

Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule setting standards for health plans sold through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces for 2019. The Agency also published the 2019 Letter to issuers selling on the federally-facilitated exchanges. The final rule includes several policy changes, such as:

  • Granting states more flexibility to determine how exchange plans must comply with the ACA's 10 essential health benefits requirements
  • Modifying the ACA's medical-loss ratio requirements to make it easier for states to request lower thresholds
  • Increasing, from 10% to 15%, the threshold at which states must review insurers' premium rate increases
  • Requiring exchanges to put in place stronger checks to verify individuals' incomes when they apply for federal subsidies
  • Easing navigator requirements, such that  navigators will no longer need to be located in the exchange's geographic area, nor will at least one need to be a "community and consumer focused" nonprofit
  • Transferring network adequacy oversight to states
  • Updating the ACA's risk-adjustment model "to reduce burdens" on insurers

Initial qualified health plan applications are due June 20th.

AzHHA Releases Hospital Financial Reports for February 2018 by Joe Furia

Jim Haynes, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

The latest hospital financial reports show improved financial results for the last twelve months ending February 2018. The improvement over last year was partially driven by an increase in inpatients seen by hospitals. Survey results show that in the last 12 months operating margins were slightly over 5 percent. In addition, survey results show a dramatic reduction in uncompensated care since the restoration of the prop. 204 population and Medicaid expansion back in 2014. For the twelve month period ending February 1, 2014 uncompensated care hospitals incurred was just under 8 percent, while for the most recent 12 months it had declined to 2.5 percent. The total AHCCCS population has decreased by 4 percent since April 2017, and the childless adult population, partially financed by the hospital assessment, has declined steadily over the last 6 months.

Register For The 5th Annual HAI/HAC Prevention Summit by Joe Furia

Vicki Buchda, Director of Care Improvement

Once again, AzHHA’s Hospital Innovation Improvement Network (HIIN) is sponsoring the 5th Annual HAC and HAI Prevention Summit, May 23-24th. Speakers on May 23rd will focus on subject matter that is of greatest concern and interest to hospitals, including:

  • Sepsis
  • VAE
  • C. difficile
  • Adverse Drug Events
  • Readmissions

It will also feature a break-out session for rural and critical access hospitals on antibiotic stewardship. Our partner the Arizona Department of Health Services is planning the content for May 24th and will focus on topics of interest to Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities. 

Registration for May 23rd is here, and for May 24th is here.  Seating is limited, so register soon!

Nonprofit Hospitals Offered Free Community Benefit Tools by Joe Furia

Shayna Diamond, Director of Community Affairs

The Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA) and AzHHA will be conducting a free webinar on April 26, 2018 at noon to walk participants through the CHR&R data and tools with a focus on tools that Arizona hospitals can use to meet their community benefit requirements which nonprofit hospitals are required to conduct at least once every 3 years. The assessments need to use public data, engage community stakeholders, and have an implementation plan.

Point of Pride: Arizona Healthcare Decisions Month by Joe Furia

It is official! After months of hard work on behalf of AzHHA’s Thoughtful Life Conversations Program and its partners, Governor Doug Ducey has proclaimed April as Arizona’s Healthcare Decisions Month. Inspired by the National Healthcare Decisions Day initiative, which is April 16th, AzHHA has come to the conclusion that having the end-of-life conversation with one’s family and loved ones is not a one day event, but a series of conversations that lead to wishes being respected when the time comes. Feeling motivated but need the resources? Visit our Thoughtful Life Conversations website for tools and resources.