Skip navigation

Connection Newsletter - State budget deal is forthcoming

The draft budget includes a $3 billion tax cut to be implemented over three years; more than $300 million for road construction and $65 million for universities.

Legislative update – State budget deal is forthcoming

Today marks day 130 of legislative session and it appears there may be light at the end of the session’s tunnel. On Tuesday news broke of a possible budget deal after more than a month of inaction.

The draft budget includes a $3 billion tax cut to be implemented over three years; more than $300 million for road construction and $65 million for universities. If legislative leaders obtain the necessary votes, the budget may be passed rapidly – making it possible for the legislative session to adjourn before Memorial Day weekend.

Health-related components of the draft budget, although subject to change, include:

  • $100 million for broadband infrastructure grants ($75 million for rural areas, $25 million for underserved urban areas);

  • $3 million increase in graduate medical education funding. This is the second of three funding increases ($3M in FY21, $6M in FY22, $9M in FY23) which will generate an additional $19.2 million in federal matching funds;

  • $2 million for medical student loan repayment;

  • $500,000 to implement expanded newborn screening (see SB1680 below);

  • $300,000 to reduce radiation control fees paid by hospitals and others using radiation-emitting devices and

  • $300,000 for additional high-risk perinatal visits.

See which bills have been signed into law and other bill status updates by visiting

AHCCCS seeks comments on GME rule

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) announced Tuesday a proposed update to the rule governing the distribution of state graduate medical education (GME) funding authorized by state legislation in 2019. The proposed rule would continue the practice of prioritizing funding hospital GME programs located in urban counties with higher health professional shortage area scores. This results in programs located in Pima County being prioritized over those located in Maricopa County.

While AzHHA and members provided input on the rule when it was originally written in 2019, we encourage members to review the proposed rule and, if necessary, provide feedback.

Please submit feedback to AzHHA’s Vice President of Government Relations, Greg Ensell and AHCCCS before June 1.

CDC clarifies mask requirements in healthcare setting

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a point last week to clarify its new masking recommendations for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The updated recommendations on mask-wearing do not apply to healthcare settings. Staff, patients, residents and visitors in healthcare facilities should continue to wear masks as recommended by the CDC. Infection prevention and control recommendations related to COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare facilities are available on the CDC’s website. Outside of a healthcare setting, individuals who have not been fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask, socially distance and consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Most vaccination sites do not require an appointment. To find a vaccination site, visit


ADHS discourages providers from using antibody testing to assess immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after COVID-19 vaccination

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Immunization Program sent a message to providers this week notifying them that antibody testing should not be used to assess immunity to SARS-CoV-2 post-COVID-19 vaccination. According to ADHS, the CDC does not recommend testing for immunity following vaccination.

CDC recommendations on serologic testing after vaccination, when to re-vaccinate or giving additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines may be updated when additional information is available.

Pandemic guidance for emergency managers

The Federal Emergency Management Agency released guidance Monday to help emergency managers plan for disaster response and recovery while adhering to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The guidance includes considerations related to planning COVID-19 testing and vaccination operations, and updated resources based on lessons learned and best practices for operating in a pandemic environment.

Webinar: A comprehensive review of price transparency – registration now open

After more than a year of challenges, hospitals are now faced with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) requirement to publish standard charges for a minimum of 300 services to provide a shoppable experience for those seeking healthcare services. To help hospitals prepare and remain compliant, Healthcare Resource Group (HRG), an AzHHA Affiliated Partner, is offering AzHHA members a webinar on June 16 from 12-1 p.m. which will review CMS regulations as well as what is required from hospitals. While reviewing strategies for selecting shoppable services, HRG Pros will also talk about risk areas that may impact the accuracy of reporting and how CMS is currently responding to providers who have not implemented its price transparency requirement. To register, click here.

2021 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference

Join AzHHA’s Vice President of Government Relations, Greg Ensell on May 25 in the 2021 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference. Ensell and other panelists will discuss state health policy, look back on the 2021 session, and talk through how the interim work will play out throughout 2021. The conference will bring together industry experts and state policymakers from across the state to foster a dialog about the opportunities and challenges faced by healthcare. To register, click here.

Upcoming Events

May 24 - Developing a Telemedicine Program

This course is ideal for individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding their services. It is also a great course for those new to telehealth who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the growing industry. The course fee is waived for Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Nevada residents. Register here.

June 15 - 16 – 47th Annual Arizona Rural Health Conference

University of Arizona’s Center for Rural Health will be hosting its 47th Annual Rural Health Conference June 15 – 16 both in-person and virtually. Arizona's rural, tribal and Southwestern communities and stakeholders will share best practice models, discuss funding opportunities on the horizon, strategies for building partnerships and how to build and sustain the rural economy and healthcare workforce. Register here.

July 14 - 2021 Coding Clinic: Quarter 1 Updates

AzHHA Affiliated Partner, NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions, is offering member health information managers and coding specialists a series of coding webinars, 2021 Coding Clinic Updates - Everything You Really Need to Know held quarterlyThe webinar series provides a concise overview of the current issue of Coding Clinic and allows participants an opportunity for discussion and Q&A. The second quarter session is scheduled July 14. Register here.

In the News

CMS again delays start date for rule that aims to speed up Medicare coverage for breakthrough devices
Fierce Healthcare

Fauci: Americans 'misinterpreting' mask rules
The Hill

Tempe, Mesa to become latest Valley cities to ease mask requirements