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Connection newsletter 1-11-24

Read about the commencement of the Fifty-sixth Legislature's Second Regular Session, how federal funding for key agencies may run out soon, and an informational webinar about the implications of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.



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Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA Communications ● Jan. 11, 2024

Smart Brevity® count: 4 mins...1099 words

In this issue, read about:

  • The commencement of Arizona's Fifty-sixth Legislature's Second Regular Session.
  • How federal funding for key agencies may run out soon.
  • An informational webinar about the implications of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.

Week one is in the books!

Arizona State Capitol

This week marked the commencement of Arizona's Fifty-sixth Legislature's Second Regular Session.

  • Have you set up your Sine Die office pool? Considering the extensive agenda ahead, betting on a prolonged session might be prudent.

Why it matters: The session began Monday with Governor Katie Hobbs delivering the State of the State address. She addressed an array of critical issues, including job growth, Arizona's water sustainability, border security, affordable housing and enhancing public education funding.

Notably, healthcare occupied a brief yet substantive segment of her address. Governor Hobbs elaborated upon the healthcare priorities for Arizona, clarifying the following priorities:

  • Expanding healthcare jobs.
  • Strengthening standards for sober living homes and long-term care facilities.
  • Expanding coverage for Arizona children and driving down the costs of care.

What’s next: AzHHA will champion two bills during this session:

  1. The return of our health plan accountability bill from last year. Representative David Cook filed HB2035 with the same intention to streamline credentialing providers, provide a designated point of contact for denied claims, and clarify the applicability of Timely Pay and Grievance statutes to all healthcare providers.
  2. Fixing delays in care and overall patient throughput for Arizona hospitals by allowing them to provide their own interfacility transportation for patients or collaborate with local public entities for this service. This legislation, HB2290, aims to reduce the transportation wait times many Arizona patients deal with daily that cause delays in timely patient care for our communities.

The big picture: As of Wednesday morning, we have 359 bills on the docket.

  • AzHHA is dedicated to advocating against harmful legislation and championing beneficial bills. Remember, AzHHA's weekly legislative update calls, exclusive to members, will begin tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 12.

For more information on our member calls or any other inquiries, please contact AzHHA’s Director of Government Relations Damien Johnson.


Federal funding runs out in just a few days…

Illustration of a red cross spinning to reveal money

In December, Congress kicked the can down the road on federal funding, and the end of that road is fast approaching.

Why it matters: Funding for certain government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), runs out on Friday, Jan. 19. Funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) runs out just two weeks later on Friday, Feb. 2.

What’s next: A deal does not appear to be close as of yet.

  • For healthcare, there are several policy items under consideration other than budget, including transparency for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), site-neutral cuts, as well as telehealth waivers expiring this month.
  • The AzHHA Policy staff will be in Washington, D.C. next week to meet with Senator Mark Kelly and Senator Kyrsten Sinema to reinforce the message that site-neutral cuts would be devastating to Arizona hospitals. We will update you as things develop.

Informational webinar: Implications of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA)

Animated illustration of a health cross with 0s and 1s running across, some sequences are highlighted as malware.

In support of nationwide data exchange requirements, the Arizona Society for Healthcare Attorneys (AzSHA) is hosting a webinar titled “TEFCA is Here! What it Means for Health Care in Arizona” from noon to 1 p.m. MST on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Why it matters: In this presentation:

  • Zoe Barber, policy director for the Sequoia Project, will explain what TEFCA is, Sequoia Project’s role as recognized coordinating entity (RCE) and what to expect in 2024.
  • Jay Nakashima, executive director of eHealth Exchange, will provide insight into the rigorous application, vetting and testing process for qualified health information networks (QHINs), and how eHealth Exchange will be implementing TEFCA participation for potential participants and sub-participants.
  • Melissa Soliz, data privacy and interoperability attorney with Coppersmith Brockelman, will provide the legal background for TEFCA, and what legal and compliance representatives of organizations interested in TEFCA participation should consider.

Register now for this virtual webinar. Program costs are $20 for AzSHA members and $40 for non-members.


Last chance to register for in-person tabletop exercises

This month, AzCHER is conducting three tabletop exercises that will address Crisis Standards of Care in Arizona.

  • Each of the three exercises will discuss 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 at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
  • 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at Abrams Public Health Center in Tucson.
  • 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30 via Zoom (virtual).

Register now! Registration closes tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 12 for the in-person sessions and on Monday, Jan. 29 for the virtual session.


🆕Behavioral healthcare scholarships available

AHCCCS has partnered with Northland Pioneer College to offer scholarship and tuition assistance programs for students who are pursuing healthcare careers in behavioral health and long-term healthcare services.

  • Scholarship opportunities totaling nearly $400,000 will allow students to complete program requirements with little out-of-pocket cost.

By the numbers: House Bill 2691, championed by AzHHA and passed and signed during the 2022 legislative session, allocated $9 million in American Rescue Act funds to Arizona community colleges through Monday, Sept. 30, 2024.

Why it matters: This initiative aims to increase the number of individuals who join or continue employment in the workforce to pursue healthcare careers and address behavioral health workforce shortages in rural Arizona.

Learn more




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.

Wednesday, Feb. 21 - 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.




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