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Connection newsletter 2-29-24

In this issue, read about where things stand on our priority bill HB2035, AzHHA’s Maternal Health Simulation Training, and the AzCHER book club.




In this issue, read about: Where things stand on our priority bill HB2035. AzHHA’s Maternal Health S

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Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA CommunicationsFeb 29, 2024

Smart Brevity® count: 6 mins...1529 words

In this issue, read about:

  • Where things stand on our priority bill HB2035.
  • AzHHA’s Maternal Health Simulation Training.
  • AzCHER book club.

🏛 Legislative update: Health bills and vacancies filled

Arizona State Capitol

As we nursed our crossover week hangover, there wasn’t much of a break this week.

  • Both health committees met and covered a handful of bills; all of which originated in the opposite chambers.
  • The legislature is in overtime this week as they have covered dozens of Committee of the Whole (COW) calendars and also third reading of bills.
  • The Democrats are back to full strength in the House with the last remaining vacancy filled in Legislative District 22 on Monday.
  • The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board President Elda Luna-Najera.

In other news: Our priority health insurance accountability bill, HB2035, is awaiting a first read on the floor of the Senate. (First reading means the bill will get assigned to a committee.)

  • AzHHA’s team is actively meeting with state senators and staff to ensure smooth transition and passage in the chamber.
  • We are still looking into next steps for HB2290, our interfacility transportation bill.
  • There are some options to keep it alive this session, and we continue to work with the sponsor as well as member contract lobbyists to formulate the best plan of action moving forward.
  • More updates to come.

Be sure to join us for our Friday member only legislative update calls via Zoom. Reach out to Damien Johnson, our director of government relations, if you would like to be added to the calendar invite.


👩‍⚕ AzHHA's Maternal Health Simulation Training in rural Arizona

AzHHA maternal health

Rising concerns: Severe maternal hypertension and obstetric hemorrhage are leading causes of maternal morbidity and mortality.

Timely treatment: Early recognition and prompt treatment are crucial in preventing complications.

Who's driving change? Last week, AzHHA’s Maternal Health Manager Crystal Fairclough and ASU Women’s Health DNP student Melanie Haggard traveled across the state to rural and critical access hospitals with OB services.

What's happening? They're delivering an OB hemorrhage educational presentation plus hands-on simulation to OB and ED staff, techs, physicians and leaders, aiming to sharpen OB hemorrhage emergency response skills.

Why it matters: Rural Arizona faces higher maternal morbidity and mortality. These simulations are critical for preparing staff to respond to infrequent emergencies in resource-limited settings.

The impact: By training in real-world scenarios, healthcare teams enhance their readiness to manage obstetric emergencies, potentially saving lives.

Big picture: This initiative is a crucial step towards improving maternal health outcomes in rural areas, emphasizing the power of education and preparedness in healthcare.

  • Actionable takeaway: Awareness and timely intervention can significantly reduce the risks associated with OB emergencies like severe maternal hypertension and OB hemorrhage.
  • To learn more, save the date for our third annual AIM Collaborative Conference, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2024, in Phoenix.
  • For more information on the AIM Collaborative please reach out to [email protected] or visit us online at Arizona AIM Collaborative.

📚 AzCHER launches Emergency Management Book Club

words of knowledge

AzCHER has established an Emergency Management/Healthcare Book of the Month Club within our organization. This initiative aims to enhance the knowledge and expertise of our team members in the critical areas of emergency management and healthcare.


  • The Book of the Month Club will provide an opportunity for our staff to engage in continuous learning, stay informed about the latest developments in emergency management and healthcare, and foster a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing.


Professional development: Team members will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills in emergency management and healthcare.

Team building: The Book of the Month Club will foster a sense of community and collaboration among our staff, encouraging open discussions and the exchange of ideas.

Continuous learning: This initiative aligns with our commitment to continuous learning and staying abreast of industry trends.

  • Book of the Month for March 2024 – “Five Days at Memorial”

AzHHA releases DataGen reports

In relationship with DataGen, AzHHA distributes reports to hospitals based on information submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. DataGen generates hospital-specific reports which are sent to AzHHA hospital members as part of their membership.

Why it matters: This data helps hospitals understand the financial impact of proposed changes and annual updates.

  • The reports can also assist in preparing budgets or benchmarking results with other similar organizations.

The below reports were recently sent to members:

  • Medicare Hospital FFY 2025 Wage Index and Occupational Mix Data Analysis (sent Monday, Feb. 12, 2024)
  • 4Q 2023 Value-Based Purchasing Program Analysis (sent Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024)
  • Medicare Quality Programs Overview Report for FFYs 2022 – 2024 (sent Monday, Feb. 26, 2024)
  • Medicare Spending per Beneficiary Report (sent Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024)

Valleywise Health reopens mental health beds

Valleywise Health is delivering on its promise to create more mental healthcare capacity by re-opening 15 inpatient behavioral health beds at its Maryvale hospital this week. The beds were closed in 2022 due to staffing challenges that have plagued the healthcare industry.

What they're saying: “We have been eager to reopen these beds to care for patients challenged by serious mental illness,” said Gene Cavallo, SVP of Behavioral Health. “This is another step on our journey to reopening beds impacted by severe staffing shortages that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

By the numbers: Valleywise Health is the largest provider of court-ordered inpatient behavioral health care in Arizona, with 412 licensed beds at three hospitals in Mesa, Maryvale and Central Phoenix.

  • Labor shortages led to the closure of three wings of the Maryvale hospital.
  • In response, Valleywise Health launched an aggressive recruiting campaign with sign-on bonuses for psychiatric nurses, technicians and other staff members.

What's next: With these successes, the plan is to continue reopening the shuttered units at the Maryvale hospital over the next 12-18 months.

  • “Thanks to our hiring efforts and the hard work of many Valleywise Health staff members, we are pleased to have enough caregivers in place to create more inpatient mental healthcare capacity in our community,” Cavallo said.

“We’re also training new psychiatrists. Through the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, Valleywise Health has a psychiatric residency program that graduates eight adult and four child psychiatrists every year,” he added.


🚨 Register now for AzCHER's Chemical Surge Tabletop Exercise

AzCHER is pleased to offer our Chemical Surge Tabletop Exercise focused on the first responder, healthcare, public health, emergency management and AzCHER response to a chemical surge incident. There will be three offerings of the same exercise, two in-person and one virtual.

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2024: Tucson
  • Thursday, Marth 14, 2024: Flagstaff
  • Tuesday, April 2, 2024: Virtual

Click here for more information and to register. Please register no later than Friday, March 1, 2024.

Please note: You must be an AzCHER member to participate in the Chemical Surge Tabletop Exercise. If you are not an AzCHER Member, please visit our website to sign up today!


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, 2024.

  • 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].


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.

Thursday, May 30 - 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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