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AzHHA Priority and Key Legislation

 

AzHHA Priority Legislation

SB1096: APPROPRIATION; AHCCCS; CHIP

UPDATE: SB1096 was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey on March 18. It passes the Senate Floor by a vote of 28 ayes to 2 nays on March 16.

The bill 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 authority to spend extra federal dollars related to two things, (1) the enhanced federal match rate under the public health emergency and (2) the new hospital assessment passed last session to increase provider rates. It is a technical fix and requires no additional monies from the state general fund.

SB1377: CIVIL LIABILITY; PUBLIC HEALTH PANDEMIC

UPDATE: SB1377 was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey on April 5. The bill was strongly supported by AzHHA, other healthcare and business groups. On the other hand, it was opposed by the Trial Lawyers and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

SB1377 was amended on the House floor to specify a nursing care institution or residential care institution has the burden to prove an act or omission was the direct result of providing care to patients needing treatment for the pandemic or due to limitations caused by the pandemic.

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 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 signed into law by Governor Ducey on May 5.

The bill was amended to remove the payment parity requirement for non-behavioral, health-related telehealth encounters conducted through audio-only telephone in the Senate Finance Committee.

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.

Telepharmacy

UPDATE: SB1604 was signed into law on April 5. It passed the House by a vote of 60 ayes to 0 nays on March 29. 

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.”

HB2190: VACCINATION; BUSINESSES (Strike everything amendment)

UPDATE: Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2021-09 on April 19 prohibiting several vaccination-related requirements, including prohibiting state political subdivisions from requiring businesses in their jurisdiction from requiring proof of vaccination to receive service. It is important to note, hospitals, healthcare institutions, schools and higher education institutions will be allowed to require proof of vaccination under the executive order.

It is unclear whether the Executive Order will affect HB2190 being signed into law if passed by the legislature. The bill is awaiting a vote on the Senate Floor. 

The strike everything amendment to HB2190

  • prohibits the state, a county, local government entity or official from requiring a person to receive a vaccine, except for employees of a hospital or healthcare institution.
  • prohibits a business entity, ticket issuer, the state, a county, local government entity or official from conditioning service or access if a person has not received a vaccine.

Unlike a similar bill, HB2434: IMMUNIZATIONS; EXEMPTION; REQUIREMENTS, the prohibitions apply to all vaccines and is not limited to vaccines provided under an Emergency Use Authorization.

AzHHA, numerous healthcare and business stakeholders officially opposed the bill.

HB2575: HOSPITALS; VISITATION

UPDATE: HB2575 is ready for the governor's signature. It was passed by the House Floor by a vote of 48 ayes to 12 nays on April 29.

As passed by the legislature, the bill will require hospitals to:

  • provide notice of visitation policies to a patient or their representative.
  • allow clergy to visit patients in-person, if authorized by the hospital visitation policy and the patient or their representative.
  • facilitate a virtual clergy visit if the hospital visitation policy does not allow for in-person visits.

The bill also requires clergy to comply with reasonable health and safety precautions imposed by hospitals in connection with in-person visitation.

AzHHA worked with other stakeholders and the bill sponsor to craft a comprise bill that protects patients’ religious freedoms with protecting other patients and hospital staff.

HB2770 Mask mandates; business exception

UPDATE: HB2770 was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey on April 9. It passed the Senate a vote of 16 ayes to 14 nays on April 1. The bill passed the House Floor by a vote of 31 ayes, 28 nays, and 1 not voting on March 3.

This bill will allow businesses to forego enforcing mask mandates established by the state, county, city or town.

SB1374 and HB2386: CRISIS STANDARDS OF CARE; REQUIREMENTS

UPDATE: SB1374 has been resurrected as a strike-everything amendment to HB2386. HB2368 is awaiting a vote on the Senate Floor. It was amended and passed by the Senate Committee of the Whole on April 7. The Senate Health Committee amended and passed it by a vote of 5 ayes to 3 nays on March 24.

AzHHA is opposed to the proposal because it would legislate clinical protocols for diseases and conditions unrelated to COVID-19. The legislative process is simply not nimble enough to react to new and emerging clinical evidence.

As amended, HB2386 requires a crisis standards of care plan adopted by ADHS to 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.

SB1457 ABORTION; UNBORN CHILD; GENETIC ABNORMALITY

Update: SB1457 was signed into law by Governor Ducey on April 27. It passed the House and Senate Floors by partly line votes on April 22.

As introduced, this wide-ranging bill prohibited abortion from being performed in certain circumstances and expanded existing restrictions for the state and its political subdivisions for contracting and funding organizations considered “abortion providers” and organizations that conduct specific types of research.


AzHHA and other stakeholders successfully worked to protect hospitals and medical school residency programs by removing “an affiliate of abortion provider” from the list of organizations the state and its political subdivisions may not contract. AzHHA also worked to clarify that the contracting prohibition does not apply to organizations that perform abortions only to save the life of the mother or to prevent major bodily harm.

SB1680: NEWBORN SCREENING PROGRAM; TESTING

UPDATE: The bill is awaiting a hearing on the House Floor. SB1680 passed the House Health Committee by a vote of 9 ayes and 0 nays on March 15. 

If passed, the bill will require ADHS to add a screening adopted by the federal advisory board to the list of newborn screenings required in AZ. Additionally, it will require both commercial and AHCCCS plans to increase 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.

Other key legislation

HB2069 GENETIC TESTING; PRIVATE PROPERTY Signed by Governor - Amended
HB2423 IMMUNIZATIONS; EXEMPTION; REQUIREMENTS DEAD: Held in House Committee
HB2620 HEALTH CARE WORKERS; ASSAULT; PREVENTION DEAD: Held in Senate Committee
HB2621 PRIOR AUTHORIZATION; UNIFORM REQUEST FORMS Signed by Governor
HB2687 MEDICAL PRODUCTS; CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT DEAD: Held in House Committee
SB1417 HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES; CONTACT ORDERS Awaiting House Floor Vote
SB1648 COVID-19 VACCINE; CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT DEAD: Held in Senate Committee

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.