Skip navigation

Connection newsletter - this week's health news highlights for the Arizona healthcare community

Read on to learn about the House Health Committee’s first meeting of the year and COVID-19 returns to the headlines with a new, local mobile COVID-19 testing program and the anticipation of future vaccine recommendations from the FDA.

Legislative update – week three

The House Health Committee held its first meeting of the year this week, meeting for just over an hour and holding three of the seven bills on the agenda for consideration. The Senate Health Committee did not meet this week. Rumors abound following this relatively slow week at the Capitol. There is talk that the Legislature will send a continuation budget up to Governor Hobbs next week, knowing full well she will veto such a proposal. It’s a risky maneuver since Governor Hobbs could line-item veto the budget, which would force the Legislature to live with last year’s budget for any agency the Governor approves. If the Legislature attempts to pass a continuation budget next week, it is also speculated that committee hearing deadlines will have to be extended since we’ve had a relatively slow start over the last three weeks and many, many bills remain to be considered. AzHHA will keep you informed about the pending drama through our Friday member calls.

ADHS launches mobile COVID-19 testing program for underserved communities

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) announced Tuesday it launched a mobile COVID-19 testing program. The agency says it will, “send mobile testing providers anywhere in the state to provide pop-up testing sites.” The focus of the initiative is on underserved Arizonans and all services are free for everyone. Requests for testing may be submitted through the COVID-19 Testing Equity webpage.

FDA committee to discuss future of COVID-19 vaccinations

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee published its briefing document ahead of today’s meeting to discuss future COVID-19 vaccinations. In its document, the committee states it will, “consider questions around simplifying the composition and immunization schedules of the authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines, the process for determining the need for recommending a periodic update to COVID-19 vaccines, and the timing for implementation of such an update.” Read more information and get the link to watch the meeting as it happens on the FDA’s website.

Maternal Mental Health Advisory Committee report

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) recently published its Maternal Mental Health Advisory Committee Report providing a list of improvements to be made when screening and treating maternal mental health disorders in the state. The committee makes eight recommendations in its Dec. 31 report. Several of the improvements have already been accomplished. For example, in June 2022 the Arizona legislature passed a bill to extend post-partum coverage for Medicaid members. The report also highlights HB 2691 which created workforce development programs that are anticipated to impact the perinatal and behavioral health workforce. The significance of this work is highlighted in the report; “almost half of all pregnancy-associated deaths between 2016 to 2018 in Arizona were related to mental health conditions or substance use disorders according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC), 98% of which were determined to be preventable.”

AzCHER 2023 virtual crisis standards of care workshop series

The Arizona Coalition for Healthcare Emergency Response (AzCHER), in association with AzHHA, will present a series of four workshops starting in March to address crisis standards of care in Arizona. Each of the four workshops are categorized among the emergency management cycle phases with emphasis on crisis standards of care components. Content will vary among each of the workshops so attendance at all four workshops is encouraged. 

Those who work within healthcare emergency management and within the clinical areas of a facility are highly encouraged to attend, but all members who would like to learn more about crisis standards of care in Arizona are welcome. Learn more about the workshop series, objectives and register here.

Nominate a Colleague for ArMA’s 2023 Health Care Awards

If you have an outstanding colleague or initiative, you have until Friday, Jan. 27 to enter them as a nominee for the Arizona Medical Association’s 2023 Health Care Awards. For more than thirty years, the ArMA has recognized physicians, organizations, and other exemplary leaders for their excellence and achievements. ArMA’s award recipients will be announced during its marquee event, the 2023 Annual Meeting, and recognized publicly through a press release, magazine article, and more. You can learn more about ArMA's Health Care Awards, meet last year's recipients, and submit a nomination by visiting ArMA’s website.


New Date: February 22 - Hospital Assessments and HEALTHII payments 101

AzHHA will host this annual event for members interested in learning about the two hospital assessments and the quarterly HEALTHII payments. Learn why the assessments were created, which types of hospitals are exempt from the assessments, how the amounts have changed over time, why hospitals receive quarterly HEALTHII payments, HEALTHII reconciliations and HEALTHII quality metrics. AzHHA members who have not received an invitation but are interested in attending may contact Amy Upston, director of financial policy and reimbursement, at [email protected].

Feb 23 and March 2 - AzCHER Radiation Surge Annex Training and Tabletop Exercise

AzHHA’s Arizona Coalition for Healthcare Emergency Response (AzCHER) team will conduct a Radiological Surge Response Training and an HSEEP-compliant tabletop exercise to train and test key elements within the Radiation Surge Annex. Completion of either format will leave you with a better overall understanding of the response to an incident involving radiological materials, the Radiation Surge Annex and how to implement it into your agency’s emergency response plans. Participants may choose to join either our virtual or in-person option.

Feb. 23 – register for the in-person session │ March 2 – register for the virtual session

March 23 – AzCHER Annual Conference

Join us for our third AzCHER Annual Conference at the Arizona Broadway Theatre, Thursday, March 23, 2023. Our theme “Safety, Security and Situational Awareness” promises a great opportunity to learn, network and collaborate. Learn more and register here

May 2 – Save the Date: HEOA Collaborative Conference

AzHHA’s Care Improvement team is planning its first Health Equity Organizational Assessment (HEOA) Collaborative Conference on May 2, 2023, to celebrate the efforts and successes of the HEOA Collaborative members. This interactive conference will give attendees the opportunity to share accomplishments, processes, stories, lessons learned and garner inspiration to continue the journey of health equity.


Medicare leaders explain proposals to make prior authorizations easier and faster (Medical Economics)

How Gen Z sees healthcare: 10 stats (

93% of nurses say hospitals are short-staffed — and their desire to stay is waning (

COVID-19 Boosters for Seniors: A new resource for those at greater risk of severe illness – AZ Dept. of Health Services Director's Blog (

47% of physicians are 55 or older: 8 things to know about the physician workforce (