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Connection Newsletter - State legislature sine dies after 171 days of session

The legislature passed an approximately $13 billion state budget last week which includes a $1.3 billion tax cut beginning in tax year 2022 and will grow to approximately $1.8 billion per year as it’s implemented over multiple years - more than $353 million for road construction and preservation and $92 million for universities.

Legislative update

After a 171-day session, the Arizona legislature adjourned sine die at 4:54 p.m. yesterday. AzHHA will release its Annual Legislative Report in the coming weeks, but until then, below is an overview of the final disposition of priorities and key bills.

The legislature passed an approximately $13 billion state budget last week which includes a $1.3 billion tax cut beginning in tax year 2022 and will grow to approximately $1.8 billion per year as it’s implemented over multiple years - more than $353 million for road construction and preservation and $92 million for universities.

Health-related funding components of the budget include:

  • $6 million graduate medical education funding continued from FY21 – this is supposed to increase to $9M in FY23;
  • $2 million for medical student loan repayment;
  • $500,000 to implement expanded newborn screening;
  • $300,000 to reduce radiation control fees paid by the hospital and others using radiation-emitting devices and
  • $300,000 for additional high-risk perinatal visits.

Health-related policy components of the budget include:

  • Expanding newborn screenings
  • Codifying many components of the Governor’s Executive Order, including, but not limited to:
    • Prohibiting state or local governments from requiring residents to receive COVID-19 vaccinations;
    • prohibiting state or local governments from ordering businesses to require documentation of COVID-19; and,
    • allowing healthcare institutions to require their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Although it is not included in the budget, the Governor may use federal COVID-19 relief fund for broadband infrastructure grants.


Members are encouraged to attend AzHHA’s final Weekly Legislative Update, tomorrow, July 2 at 1:30 p.m. for an in-depth legislative wrap-up, including Q&A, with Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations.

View bill status updates by visiting

ASPR announces pause for two COVID-19 treatments

The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in an email communication last week announced it is immediately pausing all distribution of bamlanivimab and etesevimab together and etesevimab alone on a national basis until further notice. Results from in vitro assays used to assess the susceptibility of viral variants to particular monoclonal antibodies suggest bamlanivimab and etesevimab administered together are not active against either the P.1 or B.1.351 variants. The Food and Drug Administration recommends healthcare providers use alternative authorized monoclonal antibody therapies such as REGEN-COV and sotrovimab which are currently authorized for the same use as bamlanivimab and etesevimab, administered together.

Healthcare providers should review the antiviral resistance information in Section 15 of the authorized Fact Sheets for each monoclonal antibody therapy available under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for details regarding specific variants and resistance. Healthcare providers should also refer to the CDC website and information from state and local health authorities regarding reports of viral variants in their region to guide treatment decisions. Monoclonal antibody therapies available under an EUA must be used following the terms and conditions for the respective authorization, including the authorized labeling.

AzHHA submits comments to CMS on its IPPS proposed rule

AzHHA submitted comments Monday to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on its inpatient prospective payment system proposed rule for fiscal year 2022. In the letter, AzHHA expressed strong support for repealing the requirement allowing to hospitals report their median payer-specific charges for Medicare Advantage organizations. 

In addition, AzHHA noted that while we strongly supported certain graduate medical education (GME) program proposals including the Promoting Rural Hospital GME Funding Opportunity, we expressed concerns with CMS’s proposal to limit the increase in the number of residency positions to individual hospitals to no more than one full-time equivalent per year.  

AzHHA also responded to CMS’s Request for Information on various health equity proposals. Questions about the comments submitted to CMS may be emailed to AzHHA’s Director of Policy, Liz Lorenz.

CDC introduces COVID-19 viral testing online tool

The CDC released its COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool, an interactive web tool designed to help both healthcare providers and individuals understand COVID-19 testing options. This tool helps healthcare providers quickly access the most relevant, actionable information to determine what type(s) of COVID-19 testing they should recommend to patients. Learn more by visiting the CDC website 

COVID-19 supportive care

Patients with acute or chronic COVID-19 symptoms and related complications are discovering COVID-19 supportive care – at no cost to them. “This is the first medical professional who has acknowledged my long COVID symptoms,” said a patient recently referred to the palliative care telehealth service. Prior to discovering the COVID-19 supportive care program, this patient noted the challenges faced when trying to find the right care. “I’ve had the virus for eight months and had more than 40 doctor consultations!!! So, thank you.”

The service is open to people suffering with the complexities of COVID-19 related symptoms, or those chronic conditions exacerbated by COVID-19. Patients do not need a physician’s referral to receive this specialized, palliative care. Learn more at

Upcoming Events

July 14 - 2021 Coding Clinic: Quarter Updates

AzHHA Affiliated Partner, NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions, is offering member health information managers and coding specialists a series of quarterly coding webinars called, 2021 Coding Clinic Updates - Everything You Really Need to KnowThe 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.

July 19 – Arizona Telemedicine Program: Telemedicine Applications

The Telemedicine Applications workshop offers a more detailed approach for telemedicine programs, providing a more in-depth look at the clinical applications of such programs. Individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding services are encouraged to attend. Speakers will cover advanced telemedicine topics through an in-depth look at real-world clinical applications of telemedicine and telehealth, including telepsychiatry, infectious Disease, teleradiology, telehealth physical therapy and telehealth nursing. Register here.

July 28 - HB2454 and the Impact in Arizona for Healthcare Professionals

Join the Arizona Telemedicine Program in a one-hour presentation by Christina Corieri, Governor Ducey’s senior policy advisor, on Arizona’s HB2454 and learn about Governor Ducey’s telemedicine executive orders and their impact on healthcare in Arizona. Register here.

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