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Connection newsletter 2-1-24

Check out this week's legislative update, details on CMS seeking feedback on Medicare Advantage and an update on the Arizona Transition to Practice Program.



Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) Banner

Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA Communications ● Feb. 1, 2024

Smart Brevity® count: 3.5 mins...945 words

In this issue, check out:

  • This week’s legislative update.
  • Details on CMS seeking feedback on Medicare Advantage.
  • An update on the Arizona Transition to Practice Program.

Legislative update – AzHHA priority bills assigned

Arizona State Capitol

Over 24 days into the legislative session, a total of 1,560 bills have been introduced, marking a 151-bill increase from the same period last year.

  • The discussions surrounding the budget have been noticeably subdued compared to last year, likely due to the anticipated budget shortfall.
  • The deadline for Senators to introduce new bills without special approval was this past Monday, while House members have until Monday, Feb. 5 to submit bills within their limit of seven.

What’s new: AzHHA's two key legislative priorities have made some progress, with both bills being presented on the floor and allocated to relevant committees:

  • HB2035, focusing on insurance claims, appeals and provider credentialing, has been assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee.
  • HB2290, dealing with certificates of operation and interfacility transfers, has been allocated to the House Commerce Committee.

For any inquiries or further information, please feel free to contact AzHHA’s Director of Government Relations Damien Johnson.


CMS seeks feedback on Medicare Advantage

A hand submitting a ballot to a box labeled "Suggestions".

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced it is seeking feedback on ways it can increase transparency and improve policies related to Medicare Advantage.

Why it matters: While CMS is seeking feedback on all aspects of the program, they express particular interest in information and suggested data collection methods related to:

  • Prior authorization and utilization management.
  • Provider directories and networks.
  • Care and quality outcomes.
  • Healthy competition in the marketplace.
  • Supplemental benefits.

What’s next: AzHHA intends to respond to the request for information. Members should provide feedback to Amy Upston.


Arizona Transition to Practice Program update


🎉Congratulations to all the facilities that will have new graduate registered nurses participating in the Arizona Transition to Practice Program’s first cohort starting in March 2024.

  • Reminder to participating facilities: All site champions and key stakeholders are invited to join the Transition to Practice Information Session for Site Champions on Wednesday, Feb. 7 or Thursday, Feb. 8. If you haven’t received an invite, please email Whitney Jackson at [email protected].
  • Stay tuned: We will share the complete list of participating facilities soon!

What’s next: We’re also accepting mentors to support our program.


HHS releases voluntary cybersecurity goals for healthcare

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released voluntary Cybersecurity Performance Goals (CPGs) for healthcare.

  • It includes 10 “essential” goals and 10 “enhanced” goals.

Why it matters: The healthcare CPGs are based on multiple cybersecurity frameworks and address common attack vectors against U.S. domestic hospitals as identified in the 2023 Hospital Cyber Resiliency Landscape Analysis.

Go deeper: Review the CPGs here.


TMC Health announces leadership changes

On Tuesday, Jan. 30, TMC Health announced that current president and CEO Judy Rich, RN, MSN, will retire in April, and Jennifer K. Mendrzycki, JD, MHA, FACHE, will join the organization as president and CEO in May.

  • Judy has served as president and CEO since 2007. Under her direction, TMC and TMC Health have established a legacy of leadership in the Arizona hospital and healthcare industry, growing into a four-hospital community healthcare system that includes one of the region’s largest physician groups.
  • Jennifer is an accomplished healthcare professional with a distinguished 24-year career in the healthcare sector. She comes to TMC Health from New Jersey-based St. Joseph’s Health where she most recently has served as the system’s senior vice president and chief operating officer since 2021.

Congratulations to Judy on her upcoming retirement, and AzHHA looks forward to welcoming Jennifer to our healthcare community in May.

Read 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.

Friday, Feb. 16 - 2024 Winter State of the State
Join Arizona healthcare professionals at this conference to learn about the latest news on Arizona managed care from a panel of experts. Enjoy breakfast and networking before a full morning conference featuring the latest news, data and trends relevant to our competitive and evolving healthcare landscape. AzHHA members can receive $15 off admission with coupon code “azhha2024.” Learn more and register.

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.




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