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Connection newsletter 2-15-24

Read about AzHHA's priority bills being heard in committee this week, 2024 Medicare Advantage FAQs, and an HR roundtable addressing pre-employment screening practices.



Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) Banner

Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA Communications ● Feb. 15, 2024

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins...1434 words

In this issue, read about:

  • AzHHA’s priority bills being heard in committee this week.
  • 2024 Medicare Advantage FAQs.
  • An HR Roundtable addressing pre-employment screening practices.

Legislative update: Priority bills heard in committee this week

Frank Stapleton, chief clinical operations officer, Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center

We are now 39 days into the legislative session and almost through the last week for bills to be considered in their committees within their chamber of origin.

  • Any bills not heard by this deadline may still progress, albeit with additional challenges.

What’s new: This week, your policy and advocacy team were active, as our priority bills underwent committee reviews. Both health committees ran into the late hours to deliberate on numerous bills, and an extra meeting of the House Health and Human Services Committee has been scheduled for Thursday morning.

Here is an update on our priority bills:

On Monday afternoon, the House Health and Human Services Committee conducted a hearing for HB2035, which focuses on health insurance accountability.

  • The bill successfully passed the committee with unanimous support, thanks in part to the impactful testimony from members.
  • AzHHA would like to extend gratitude to Julia Strange of Tucson Medical Center, and to Frank Stapleton and Preston Pollock of Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center, for their efforts in traveling to the Capitol and delivering compelling testimony in support of the bill.
  • You can view the recording of the committee here. Click on “Agenda” underneath the video and then “HB2035” to listen to the discussion on that bill.

HB2290, which addresses interfacility transportation, failed to pass the House Regulatory Affairs Committee Wednesday on a 2-4 vote.

  • We would like to extend our appreciation to Jim Adamson from Yuma Regional Medical Center for his dedication in traveling to the Capitol to testify on this important bill.
  • We will discuss the next steps during our Friday member call.
  • You can view the video of the meeting here. Click on the video for the House Regulatory Affairs Committee meeting from Wednesday, Feb. 14.

For further details or inquiries, please contact AzHHA’s Director of Government Affairs Damien Johnson.


FAQs available for 2024 Medicare Advantage rule

Illustration of a book shelf with a health plus made from negative space.

What’s new: Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released FAQs on the Medicare Advantage final rule for calendar year 2024.

Why it matters: The FAQs clarify coverage criteria and utilization management requirements. Topics addressed include:

  • Medical necessity determinations.
  • Algorithms and artificial intelligence.
  • Internal coverage criteria.
  • Post-acute care.
  • The two-midnight benchmark for inpatient admission criteria.
  • Prior authorization.
  • Enforcement.

Go deeper: Read this article from Becker’s Payer Issues on the CMS guidance regarding AI for Medicare Advantage plans.


Register now for HR Roundtable addressing pre-employment screening practices

A red cross in a chair in a cubicle

Human Resources leaders and hiring professionals are invited to participate in a conversation on pre-employment screening practices with a focus on drug testing, specifically for marijuana.

  • How is your hospital responding to the growing use of marijuana and what policies have been instituted regarding pre-employment drug screening?

This roundtable discussion will feature:

  • Facilitation by Matt McElrath, Ed.D., chief human resources officer at Yuma Regional Medical Center and chairman of the AzHHA HR Roundtable.
  • Presentation from Joe Clees, employment attorney at Ogletree Deakins, on current legal and regulatory compliance.

The members-only roundtable will occur from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 7.

  • Register here to participate in the discussion, after which you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link.
  • Questions? Reach out to [email protected].

Arizona Transition to Practice Program: March 2024 cohort key dates

For those facilities participating in the March 2024 cohort of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program, here are some key upcoming dates:

  • Preceptor Academy launches Monday, Feb. 26.
  • Site Champion Canvas Training - please attend one session on either Wednesday, Feb. 28 or Friday, March 1.
  • New graduate cohort start date is Monday, March 25.

Please submit the facility agreement and intake forms to [email protected] by Sunday, Feb. 18.

Applications are now open for the June 2024 cohort!

  • Apply now.
  • Applications are due Friday, April 12.

Why advance care planning matters for everyone

With advance care planning you can have:

  • Peace of mind: Knowing you’ve laid out your healthcare wishes provides tranquility to you and your loved ones.
  • Empowerment: It ensures your healthcare aligns with your values and desires, even if you’re unable to communicate them.
  • Ease for loved ones: It alleviates the burden on family members to make hard decisions during emotional times, ensuring they act in your best interest.

Why it matters: During this week of Valentine’s Day, sharing your advance care plans is a profound act of love, and these conversations strengthen bonds by fostering mutual understanding and respect.

The big picture: How to start the conversation:

  1. Choose a comfortable setting: A quiet, intimate environment can set the right tone for the discussion.
  2. Be open and honest: Share your values and what matters most to you in your care.
  3. Listen: Be receptive to your loved ones’ thoughts and concerns. This conversation is a two-way street.

What’s next: After you’ve had this important conversation with your loved ones, register your advance care directives with the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry.

Go deeper: For advance care planning forms and resources, please go to our website.


Claims process is open for the Visa/Mastercard settlement

Visa, Mastercard and certain defendant banks have officially reached a settlement on interchange fees, and the claims process is open.

Why it matters: You must submit a claim or have a claim submitted on your behalf to the Settlement Administrator by Friday, May 31, 2024.

What’s next: AzHHA’s affiliated partner and endorsed vendor in the revenue recovery space, Managed Care Advisory Group (MCAG), is available to assist eligible members with recovering any cash potentially due from this settlement.

  • Claim forms are available, and you can engage MCAG now to ensure that a proper and timely claim is filed on your behalf.
  • Learn more about the services offered by MCAG for this settlement.

👉If you have not registered with MCAG for settlement recovery services but would like to do so, visit MCAG’s website for AzHHA members.

Questions? Contact Kimberly Johnson, vice president, business development at [email protected].

📢Important addition/correction from the article that ran in last week’s Connection:
Payment Card Settlement Disclaimer: Claim forms will begin to be delivered and available online in December. No-cost assistance is available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during the claims-filing period. No one is required to sign up with any third-party service in order to participate in any monetary relief. For additional information regarding the status of the litigation, interested persons may visit, the Court-approved website for this case.


AzHHA welcomes new healthcare member - Fountain Hills ER and Medical Center

AzHHA is excited to announce the association’s newest healthcare member, Fountain Hills ER and Medical Center.

Get to know our new member:

  • Operated by Instinctive Healthcare Solutions, the facility operates similar to a freestanding emergency department, but it has no inpatient beds and is not licensed as a hospital.
  • The facility is licensed as an outpatient treatment center and also contains a primary care clinic.

Welcome, Fountain Hills ER and Medical Center!



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.

April 4-5 - 2024 Arizona Healthcare Workforce Summit
Join the Second Annual Arizona Healthcare Workforce Summit and support statewide healthcare workforce collaboration. With an influx of funding to address statewide healthcare workforce development and many initiatives underway, the Summit will facilitate strategic collaboration and maximize our collective awareness and impact. Learn more and register.

April 11, 16 and 18 - COPD Educator Course
This course, offered by the American Lung Association, will include practical information healthcare professionals can use in their work to provide guidelines-based care and help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) understand how to manage their disease. See additional details and register now.




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