CMS Releases Proposed Physician Fee Schedule Rule for CY 2019 by Joe Furia

Last week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed to update physician fee schedule rates by 0.25 percent in calendar year 2019, as required under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. After this update and the budget-neutrality adjustment required by law, the proposed 2019 PFS conversion factor is $36.05, an increase from $35.99. CMS proposes to continue to allow nonexcepted provider-based departments to bill for nonexcepted services on the institutional claim and would maintain payment for nonexcepted services at 40% of the outpatient prospective payment system amount for CY 2019. Section 603 requires that, except for dedicated emergency department services, services furnished in off-campus provider-based departments that began billing under the OPPS on or after Nov. 2, 2015 no longer be paid under the OPPS, but under another applicable Part B payment system. In addition, the rule proposes updates to the Quality Payment Program to align the Promoting Interoperability performance category requirements with the Promoting Interoperability Program proposed for hospitals in the inpatient prospective payment system rule, and to increase the weight of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System cost category to 15% while lowering the weight of the quality category to 45 percent.

Primary Elections Quickly Approaching by Joe Furia

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

Arizona’s August primary elections are quickly approaching and are very likely to determine the make-up of the state legislature. Although most districts are solid there are still districts that may change parties and become game changers. Some key primary candidates include:

State Senate

  • District 13: Brent Backus (R), Sine Kerr (R), Don Shooter (R), and Michelle Harris (D)
  • District 14: David Gowan (R), John Drew (R), and Lori Kilpatrick (R), Jamie Alvarez (D), and Mendy Gomez (D)
  • District 24: Timothy Jeffries (R), Kristina Kelly (R), Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R), Daria Lohman (D)

State House

  • District 5: Leo Biasiucci (R), Regina Cobb (R), Jennifer Jones- Esposito (R), Paul Mosley (R), Patrick Finerd (R), Mary McCord Robinson (D)
  • District 16: John Fillmore(R), Lisa Godzich (R), Stephen Kridler (R), Tara Phelps(R), Kelly Townsend (R), Sharon Stinard (D)

If you have not yet registered to vote you may do so by clicking here. To vote in the primary elections you must be registered by July 30th.

Briefing and Resources for Cyber Protection by Joe Furia

John Koeneke, Vice President of Business Development

A briefing on Capitol Hill earlier this week examined cybersecurity threats facing the healthcare sector and looked at how hospitals and health systems are responding. In coordination with the briefing, AzHHA shared steps for protecting health data from Alagen and continues to work with its members to improve their cybersecurity. Hospitals and health systems take the protection of highly-sensitive and valuable information seriously and employ important security measures to safeguard clinical technologies and information systems, while continuing to enhance their data protection capabilities. Is your organization in need of cybersecurity consulting? Visit our AzHHA APP page to learn more about cybersecurity consulting organizations that provide exclusive pricing for our members.

5th Annual Arizona Health Equity Conference – Call for Sponsors and Speakers by Joe Furia

Shayna Diamond, Director of Community Affairs

Registration for the 5th Annual Arizona Health Equity Conference has opened with early bird pricing. AzHHA is a proud member of the conference planning committee and is dedicated to reducing health disparities and promoting health equity through research, prevention, clinical care, and policy. Submissions for presenters and sponsors are now being accepted for this October 11th event at the Desert Willow Conference Center. Over 300 professionals from diverse backgrounds and regions will come together and discuss ways to address health equity in Arizona. For more information, click here.

Point of Pride: Steward Health Care by Joe Furia

Earlier this month our member Steward Healthcare announced that healthcare veteran Doug Luckett would be joining its executive leadership team as the new Arizona Regional President. As the Arizona Regional President Mr. Luckett will be leading Steward’s Arizona facilities: Mountain Vista Medical Center, St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Care, St. Luke’s Medical Center, and Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital into the future, including evaluating future expansions throughout the region. AzHHA would like to welcome Mr. Luckett to our state and look forward to working with him in the near future.