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Connection Newsletter - Governor announces $60 million in funds to support hospital staffing

“We applaud the Governor for recognizing the tremendous strain on hospital staff during this latest hospital patient surge. Arizona hospitals are committed to using all of the tools in their toolbox to prevent and treat COVID-19," said AzHHA President and CEO, Ann-Marie Alameddin.

Governor announces $60 million in funds to support hospital staffing

Governor Doug Ducey announced Wednesday an additional $60 million will go to “support staffing at health care facilities that deploy proven techniques to decrease COVID-19 related hospitalizations, including administering monoclonal antibody treatments and offering vaccination at discharge.”

AzHHA President and CEO, Ann-Marie Alameddin said, “We applaud the Governor for recognizing the tremendous strain on hospital staff during this latest hospital patient surge. Arizona hospitals are committed to using all of the tools in their toolbox to prevent and treat COVID-19. We appreciate this latest boost of funding from the Governor to help us in the fight against the virus.”

Read the Governor’s announcement here.

Arizona COVID-19 Update

As children have returned to school and COVID-19 variants present in the state, we continue to see an increased rate of COVID-19 transmission. In the weekly Arizona COVID-19 Data Report Joe Gerald, M.D., Ph.D. discusses how for the first time during the pandemic, case rates among children are among the highest of any other age group. This may be attributed to non-vaccination, poor mask compliance and the Delta variant. On Wednesday AzHHA joined the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics in a statement encouraging Arizonans to follow recommendations from public health officials and medical experts to ensure safe, in-person learning all year long.

Emergency Staffing Solutions - New Resources

AzHHA is now offering a new staffing resource to members through its Affiliated Partners Program. Emergency Staffing Solutions for Arizona hospitals – or ESSAz for short – is a one-stop resource to help you find quality healthcare professionals. AzHHA Affiliated Partner, Adaptive Workforce Solutions, will respond to assist hospitals with posting requisitions, sourcing clinicians, credentialing and onboarding, timekeeping and invoicing. There is no cost to AzHHA members to utilize this program. Contact Laura Dickscheid, AzHHA Vice President, Member Solutions and Program Services at 602-445-4318 for details.

AzHHA participates in Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program Task Force

The Arizona State Board of Pharmacy convened last week the Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program Task Force. During the meeting, the Task Force reviewed several recent modifications made to the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program, including a Morphine Milligram Equivalents Clinical Alert and a new dashboard for non-fatal overdoses in Maricopa County. Task Force members also discussed and made recommendations on potential legislation for the 2022 Legislative Session. A video of the meeting is available online.

Ransomware awareness for holidays and weekends

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released Tuesday a Joint Cybersecurity Advisory advising companies and organizations to be diligent in network defense practices as the holidays approach. The agencies have observed an increase in highly impactful ransomware attacks occurring on holidays and weekends—when offices are normally closed—in the United States, as discovered recently during the Fourth of July holiday in 2021. Included in the alert, the FBI and CISA review ransomware best practices and no-cost cyber hygiene services.

Cardinal Health recalls millions of prefilled saline syringes

Cardinal Health has recalled about 267 million prefilled saline syringes due to the potential for the plunger to reintroduce air back into the syringe and cause serious adverse outcomes. The recall applies to all Monoject Flush Prefilled Saline Syringes manufactured from July 2019 to June 2021 and distributed between July 2019 and July 2021. Organizations should immediately review their inventory, quarantine and return all the recalled products.

Healthcare workforce resilience grants application deadline extended

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is allocating funds from the American Rescue Plan Act over three years to reduce employee burnout and promote mental health among the healthcare workforce. Healthcare providers face many challenges and stresses which have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding of new programs will support the implementation of evidence-informed strategies to help organizations and providers respond to stressful situations, endure hardships, avoid burnout and foster healthy workplace environments that promote mental health and resiliency. To apply for the Provider Resiliency Workforce Training Notice of Funding Opportunities, visit The application deadline has been extended to September 20.

HRSA Releases Fact Sheet on Provider Relief Fund Uses Related to Personnel Costs

HRSA recently released a fact sheet outlining the various personnel-related costs that can be covered by Provider Relief Fund (PRF) dollars. Specifically, it states that PRF “payments can be used for a wide variety of direct and indirect costs of recruiting and retaining personnel during the pandemic.” The fact sheet provides many examples of acceptable costs, including salaries for new or temporary staff, overtime pay, incentive pay, retention and hiring bonuses, childcare assistance and temporary housing.

In addition, the fact sheet also states that the allowable uses “for personnel costs are broad and flexible” and applies to many types of personnel, including not only physicians and nurses, but also respiratory therapists and lab technicians.

Today: FFY 2022 IPPS final rule and analysis webinar

AzHHA hospital members should have received the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2022 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) final rule analysis this last month as part of AzHHA’s partnership with DataGen. As a follow-up to the IPPS final rule analysis, DataGen will be hosting a webinar to review the final rule. The webinar will be held today, September 2 from 12-1 p.m. AzHHA hospital members who would like to register may email [email protected] to request the registration link.

In addition to the 2022 IPPS final rule and analysis, members were sent the following DataGen reports.

  • Calendar year 2022 OPPS proposed rule analysis - Sent 8/2/2021

  • FFY 2022 Inpatient Psychiatric final rule - Sent 8/9/2021

  • FFY 2022 IRF final rule - Sent 8/12/2021

  • Medicare OPPS clinic visits analysis - Sent 8/16/2021

  • FFY 2022 LTCH final rule - Sent 8/19/2021

  • FFY 2022 IPPS final rule - Sent 8/23/2021

  • Medicare hospital wage index average hourly wage criteria analysis - Sent 8/24/2021

  • Rural emergency hospital - Sent 8/31/2021



Upcoming Events

September 23-24 - AZ HFMA 2021 Virtual Fall Conference – Get Back in the Game

The AZ HFMA Fall Conference brings together payers and providers from both Arizona and the Southwest Region as a whole. With three breakout tracks (finance, value-based care, and revenue cycle), an executive panel and keynotes on AHCCCS and innovation in healthcare. To learn more about the virtual conference click here.

October 7, November 11 and December 2 - Introduction to POLST

Interested in learning how to use the Arizona POLST form with your patients? The one-hour Introduction to POLST workshop equips healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using POLST in Arizona. The objectives are to describe what POLST is at the state and national level, explain why POLST is important, define the population for POLST, when to begin the conversation and who completes POLST, describe the process for completing, reviewing and updating POLST and learn the process of submitting healthcare planning documents to the Arizona Healthcare Directive Registry. To register for a workshop, click on a date below.

October 14 – 2021 Arizona Health Equity Conference

Join the statewide movement to promote resiliency and health equity by attending the 2021 Arizona Health Equity Conference  October 14. Attending the conference is a great opportunity to understand current health equity research, outreach and policies taking place in Arizona and to connect with partners who are working in the field of health equity or interested in reducing health disparities. To view the conference program, click here. Both virtual and limited in-person registration options are available

In the News

Fewer Americans Than Ever Before Against Vaccinations, Poll Says
U.S. News & World Report

‘It’s only going to get worse’: mask war in Arizona schools ramps up as Covid cases soar
The Guardian

Maricopa County health leaders tracking 'unprecedented' rate of COVID outbreaks in schools
ABC 15