AzHHA Priority Legislation
AHCCCS Federal Expenditure Authority Increase
UPDATE: SB1096 was amended and passed by the House Health Committee by a vote of 6 ayes, 0 nays, and 3 present on March 1.
The strike everything amendment to SB1096 adjusts the AHCCCS budget by increasing the agency’s federal expenditure authority for state fiscal year 2021 by approximately $3 billion. This revision to last year’s “skinny budget” is necessary to give AHCCCS the authority to spend extra federal dollars related to two things: (1) the enhanced federal match under the public health emergency and (2) the new hospital assessment passed last session to increase provider rates. This change to last year’s budget is a technical fix and requires no additional monies from the state general fund.
SB1377: CIVIL LIABILITY; PUBLIC HEALTH PANDEMIC
UPDATE: The bill passed the Senate floor with a vote of 18 ayes and 12 nays on February 24. It was amended and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a party-line vote of 5 ayes and 3 nays on February 11. SB1277 is supported by AzHHA, other healthcare and business groups. It is opposed by the Trial Lawyers and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
As amended, the bill will protect businesses, governments, health providers and healthcare institutions from prospective frivolous lawsuits stemming from a public health emergency. Specifically, the bill will increase the burden of proof to “clear and convincing” of “willful misconduct or gross negligence” for actions or omissions in taken in “good faith.” Liability protection will now last in perpetuity from and after March 11, 2020.
HB2454: TELEHEALTH; HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS; REQUIREMENTS
UPDATE: HB2454 was amended and passed the House by a vote of 37 ayes, 22 nays and 1 not voting on February 11. While the house floor amendment made significant improvements to the bill, AzHHA and other stakeholders are still working to address some of the concerns shared by members.
As amended, HB2454 requires non-Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) commercial insurers reimburse for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person services, expands the definition of telehealth to permit the use of audio-only telephone encounters, and prohibits restrictions on where telehealth services can be provided. Insurers are prohibited from using contracted telehealth providers to meet network adequacy requirements.
UPDATE: SB1087 passed a Senate floor by a vote of 28 ayes, 0 nays, and 1 not voting on February 24. SB1604 passed the senate with a unanimous vote of 30 ayes and 0 nays on February 18.
Both SB1087: PHARMACY BOARD; REGULATION; NONDISCIPLINARY and SB1604: REMOTE DISPENSING PHARMACIES; RURAL HOSPITALS will accomplish the desire of many small rural hospitals to use telepharmacy – though they do so through slightly different mechanisms.
SB1087 creates a new definition of “remote hospital dispensing sites” thereby allowing the State Board of Pharmacy to promulgate rules.
SB1604 changes statute to allow rural hospitals with less than 50 beds to satisfy the onsite pharmacist requirement through use of a “remote dispensing site pharmacy.”
Other Key Legislation
HB2069: GENETIC TESTING; PRIVATE PROPERTY
UPDATE: This bill passed the House by a vote of 59 ayes and 1 nay on February 18. It was amended and passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 10 ayes and 0 nays on February 10.
As amended, the bill will make genetic testing and information derived from genetic testing the exclusive private property of the person tested, unless it is protected by HIPPA from private property limitations.
HB2575: HOSPITALS; VISITATION
UPDATE: This bill passed the House by a vote of 46 ayes, 13 nays, and 1 not voting on February 23. It was amended and passed the House Health Committee by a vote of 10 ayes and 0 nays on February 10.
As amended, the bill requires hospitals to facilitate clergy visits even during a pandemic. Hospitals can satisfy the requirement using virtual visits. Further hospitals can require clergy to comply with reasonable health and safety precautions.
HB2770 Mask mandates; business exception
UPDATE: The bill is awaiting House floor action. It passed the House Health Committee by a vote of 6 ayes and 4 nays on February 16.
This bill will allow businesses to forego enforcing mask mandates established by the state, a county, or city or town.
SB1374: CRISIS STANDARDS OF CARE; REQUIREMENTS
UPDATE: SB1374 is awaiting Senate floor action. It was amended and passed the Senate Health Committee by a vote of 8 ayes and 0 nays on February 10.
As amended, the bill requires a crisis standards of care plan to be adopted by ADHS. The plan must ensure patients with disabilities and the aged have equal access to care. Additionally, it would prohibit a crisis standards of care plan from including denial of medical care based on certain conditions. The risk of mortality for which a healthcare provider may consider when allocating healthcare services from “imminent” to “short-term” and defined “short-term” as survival to a hospital discharge.
SB1680: NEWBORN SCREENING PROGRAM; TESTING
UPDATE: SB1680 passed the Senate floor by a vote of 29 ayes and 1 nay on March 1. It was amended and passed the Senate Health Committee by a vote of 7 ayes, 0 nays, and 1 not voting on February 18.
The bill will require ADHS to add a screening adopted by the Federal Advisory Board to the list of newborn screenings required in Arizona. Additionally, the bill will require both commercial and AHCCCS plans raise reimbursement to offset increased ADHS newborn screening fees. The bill does not prohibit ADHS from requiring hospitals to pay both the first (conducted in hospital) and second (conducted in post-discharge physician visit) screening fees.
AzHHA members are encouraged to join our weekly legislative update calls held on Fridays for an in-depth review of priority and key bills as well as an opportunity to express your feedback on specific legislation. If you have not received your invitation and are a member, send your request including your name, email, title and organization to [email protected].
Questions or comments regarding specific bills can be emailed to Greg Ensell, vice president of government affairs.