Governor Releases School Safety Proposal by Joe Furia

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

Today is the 88th day of session and there are hopes that the legislative session will end before the end of April, but may easily change. The major remaining issues are water and the Governor's school safety proposal which was released just yesterday.

As budget work continues, it's too soon to know whether AzHHA's key issues will be included in the final budget. So far the legislature has reportedly sent its "budget framework" to the Governor which is the first step in the negotiation process. Stay tuned for future budget updates.

Senate Approves Opioid “Trailer Bill” by Joe Furia

Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development 

This week, the Senate unanimously approved H.B. 2549, which revises S.B. 1001, controlled substances; regulation; appropriation, passed earlier this year in special session. The bill clarifies the 90 MME per day opioid dosage limit:

  • applies to prescriptions filled or dispensed outside of a healthcare institution
  • excludes prescriptions issued after a surgical procedure if the prescription is limited to a 14 day supply

Under the new revisions, prescribers will be able to exceed the dosage limits if they consult with a designated “opioid call service” (e.g., Poison Control), and the call service agrees with the higher dosage. The bill also extends the opioid dispensing prohibition to naturopathic physicians but provides an exception to the prohibition for certain prescribers for implantable devices. The bill now moves to the House for final approval.

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) finalized the opioid treatment and prescribing rule last month and is now in effect. Thus AHDS will ease in enforcement and anticipates providing educational sessions the first week in May. AzHHA will keep members apprised as dates are finalized.

AzHHA Welcomes New Healthcare Member: Hospice of the Valley by Joe Furia

Gina Hillis, Director of Governance and Special Assistant to the President

AzHHA is happy to announce Hospice of the Valley has recently joined our Association as a Healthcare Member. Hospice of the Valley (HOV) is Arizona’s leading provider of end-of-life care, and is among the nation’s oldest and largest not-for-profit hospices. They remain steadfast in their original mission: comfort and dignity as life nears its end. They are also an integral part of AzHHA’s Thoughtful Life Conversations initiative. Ms. Debbie Shumway leads HOV as their Executive Director. HOV’s Senior Vice President of Operations Rachel Behrendt is an active member on the AzHHA Board of Directors.

Point of Pride: Steward Healthcare by Joe Furia

Last month, Steward Healthcare honored six longstanding Arizona employees for their dedication to supporting quality care and community service. Among the honorees was Ms. Goldie Everage, the go-to person for all things IT, who started working at St. Luke’s Medical Center in 1972, and Ms. Peggy Jackson a veteran registered nurse at Mountain Vista Medical Center’s special care level II nursery. In their own individual ways, they have left a lasting impression on the hundreds of thousands of lives they have touched over the past 40-plus years.