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Connection newsletter 12-7-23

Read about application information for the Arizona Transition to Practice Program, current trends for hospital operating margins, and ADHS' wastewater detection program update.



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Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA Communications ● Dec. 7, 2023

Smart Brevity® count: 3 mins...809 words

This week, read about:

  • Application information for the Arizona Transition to Practice Program.
  • Current trends for hospital operating margins.
  • ADHS’ wastewater detection program update.

🚨Apply now for the Arizona Transition to Practice Program!


Applications are now open for the first Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses cohort beginning in March 2024.

  • Any Arizona healthcare facility licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services that hires new graduate registered nurses can apply.
  • Priority will be given to critical access hospitals or hospitals located in counties with a population of less than 500,000 people.
  • Hospitals with existing 12-month Transition to Practice programs are not eligible.

Why it matters: With this program, we aspire to create an environment where our nurses can transition seamlessly from academia to practice, gaining confidence and competence they need to provide the best possible quality care to our communities.

The bottom line: The Arizona Transition to Practice Program will:

  • Support and develop new nurses.
  • Provide evidence-based professional development.
  • Accelerate the novice nurse to a competent nurse more rapidly.
  • Address resilience and emergency preparedness.

Apply now! Applications are due Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Already applied? The Arizona Transition to Practice Program team will reach out to you soon.


Hospital operating margins low and stable

Illustration of a health plus peeling back revealing a hundred dollar bill on the reverse side.

In KaufmanHall’s October 2023 financial report, which shows data from more than 1,300 hospitals nationwide, hospital operating margins continue to remain low, but stable, at around 1%.

  • This continues to remain a concern since most experts agree that hospitals need to have operating margins of approximately 4-6% to be able reinvest in their facilities and equipment.
  • Both emergency department visits and observation days fell 2% compared to the prior month.

The bottom line: KaufmanHall recommends hospitals integrate patient-focused measures “like the cost of care to patients or how much a patient spends at one hospital compared to all healthcare-related spending, to strengthen their relationships with patients.”

  • Hospitals should use these measures to improve patient satisfaction, expand patient access and boost marketing strategies.
  • Hospitals should also measure and track return on investment from these initiatives.

Wastewater testing program detects pathogens early on to protect Arizonans

An illustration of the coronavirus crushing an American red cross

Earlier this week, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) posted an update on its wastewater testing program.

Why it matters: ADHS is working on building the capacity to identify different strains through sequencing of the COVID-19 virus in wastewater samples, which will aid in the early detection of new variants.

  • ADHS also anticipates expanding testing to new pathogens as resources become available including respiratory, gastrointestinal and antimicrobial-resistant pathogens such as influenza, RSV, Mpox and Candida auris.

Go deeper: Check out additional information and resources on the ADHS website. A new dashboard will be available early next year and feature an interactive map along with pathogen trends.


Register now: Crisis Standards of Care tabletop exercise

In January 2024, AzCHER will be conducting three tabletop exercises that will address Crisis Standards of Care in Arizona.

  • Each of the three exercises will be discussing the same emergency scenario with an emphasis on Crisis Standards of Care components.

Why it matters: Join state and local public health departments, emergency management and other healthcare system partners in a discussion-based learning session that will focus on roles and responsibilities during a statewide medical surge scenario.

Sessions will be held:

  • 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024 at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
  • 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024 at Abrams Public Health Center in Tucson.
  • 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024 via Zoom (virtual).
Register now




Thursday, Dec. 14 - Introduction to POLST 
Join physician orders for life-sustaining treatment paradigm (POLST) for their one-hour virtual workshops equipping healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using POLST in Arizona. Register here.

Wednesday, Jan. 10 - 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].

Tuesday, Feb. 6 - Arizona Rural and Public Health Policy Forum 2024
Each year, this forum focuses on issues of the day that are affecting the health of rural Arizonans. The event will be held at the Virginia G. Piper Auditorium located at 600 E. Van Buren Street in Phoenix. Register now.




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