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Connection newsletter 3-21-24

In this issue, read about HB2035 is unanimous again, what’s new with Change Healthcare and next week’s CSR conference.




In this issue, read about: HB2035 is unanimous again. What’s new with Change Healthcare. Next week’s

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Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA CommunicationsMar 21, 2024

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins...1408 words

In this issue, read about:

  • HB2035 is unanimous again.
  • What’s new with Change Healthcare.
  • Next week’s CSR conference.

Legislative update: More Dem shakeups and unanimous votes

Danny Smith Mt. Graham

As we navigate through another eventful week, the Arizona House experienced a notable departure. Representative Jevin Hodge resigned following the publication of a story on Monday that revisited an incident from 10 years ago during his college years.

  • Additionally, we bid (an early) farewell to two Democratic members who announced they will not seek re-election: Representative Marcelino Quiñonez and Representative Laura Terech.
  • While the reason behind Representative Terech's decision remains unclear, Representative Quiñonez is rumored to be considering a candidacy for a City Council seat in Phoenix.

Legislative momentum increases as deadlines approach

The impending deadline of Friday, March 22, 2024, marking the last opportunity for bills to be heard in committees across the opposite chamber, has spurred an uptick in legislative activity. Notably, a second special House Health and Human Services Committee meeting was convened at 11:30 a.m. today to accommodate the increased workload.

A significant development this week was the presentation of HB2035, a pivotal health insurance accountability bill, to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill passed out of the committee unanimously with a 9-0 vote.

What they're saying: We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Representative David Cook for championing timely payments to hospitals and streamlining the provider credentialing process. Special acknowledgment goes to the following members who traveled to provide their invaluable testimony:

  • Danny Smith, director of marketing and community relations/executive director of the MGRMC Foundation Board of Mount Graham Regional Medical Center
  • Preston Pollock, COO of Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center
  • Neal Jenson, AzHHA Board chair and CEO of Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center
  • Jackie Lundblad, CEO of Wickenburg Community Hospital
  • Ed Kientz, Wickenburg Community Hospital (Volunteer Board chair)

Go deeper: To witness their compelling testimonies, you can watch the hearing here.

What's next: Our focus now shifts to the Senate Rules Committee's review of HB2035.

  • Although typically procedural, the attached fiscal note might introduce a delay.
  • Efforts to navigate this challenge continue in close collaboration with the Senate and the bill's sponsor.
  • We are optimistic about the progress and will keep you updated on developments.

AzHHA is monitoring Change Healthcare cyberattack

AzHHA is diligently monitoring the Change Healthcare cyberattack; ensuring timely updates to stakeholders. We will keep members informed about the evolving situation, proactively addressing any potential impacts on healthcare operations.

We’ve created a new page dedicated to tracking what is happening with the Change Healthcare cyberattack.

The bottom line: This will be a one-stop shop for everything Change Healthcare.

  • We will post excerpts from Connection as well as links to local and national stories keeping you updated on everything that transpires.

If you have questions or would like to submit an article for the website, please email [email protected].


AHCCCS finalizes DAP metrics

What’s new: The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) posted its Final Public Notice on Differential Adjusted Payment (DAP) last week for contract year Oct. 1, 2024 through Sept. 30, 2025 (CYE 2025). Despite comments from AzHHA, few changes were made between the preliminary and final notice.

Why it matters: Hospitals may receive an additional 2% to 10.5% on all inpatient and outpatient AHCCCS payments, depending on hospital type and participation.

Next steps: To ensure eligibility, hospitals should:

  1. Review the DAP requirements in the final notice.

  2. Ensure that the Health Information Exchange Statement of Works is signed no later than Monday, April 1, 2024 (a DocuSign was sent to everyone on the participant list).

  3. Hospitals with an emergency department interested in participating in the Naloxone Distribution Program must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to [email protected] no later than Monday, April 1, 2024. AzHHA has developed a template LOI for hospitals currently participating in the NDP and for providers not currently participating.

Do you have any comments or questions? Please email AzHHA’s Director of Financial Policy and Reimbursement Amy Upston.


🏥 CSR Conference: Infection control focus


    Hospitals with active contracts with Joint Commission Resources are eligible to participate in the upcoming Continuous Service Readiness (CSR) Conference.

  • This one-and-a-half-day CSR event will be held at the AzHHA office in central Phoenix, April 2-3, 2024, with an agenda focusing on infection control standards and creating a culture of safety.

In accordance with each hospital’s CSR contract, three representatives per facility can participate without charge, with each additional representative incurring a fee of $100.

Register here

🚑 Arizona's naloxone campaign tackles opioid crisis


The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) initiated a naloxone campaign on Monday, March 18, 2024 to address the state's opioid overdose crisis.

  • Naloxone, an FDA-approved medication known as Narcan, has the ability to swiftly reverse opioid overdoses.
  • With a staggering statistic of five Arizonans succumbing to opioid overdoses daily, the urgency of this campaign cannot be overstated, ADHS said in its news release.

Its primary aim is to connect individuals struggling with substance use disorder to essential support resources while educating all residents on how to effectively administer naloxone to save lives.

What they're saying: Jennie Cunico, ADHS cabinet executive officer, emphasized the critical necessity of naloxone accessibility, citing alarming statistics of suspected opioid overdoses over the past five years. ADHS is committed to providing free and confidential opioid advice through their Opioid Assistance and Referral Line (1-888-688-4222), staffed by certified medical professionals round-the-clock.

  • In an effort to expand naloxone availability, Arizona has adopted innovative approaches.
  • Both injectable and nasal spray formulations are now accessible over the counter at pharmacies, community-based distribution programs and local health departments.

Go deeper: Last week’s Connection featured an article about the Naloxone Distribution Program (NDP) deadline on Monday, April 1, 2024.

  • Hospitals with emergency departments are now eligible for a Naloxone Distribution Program Differential Adjusted Payment (DAP) in the Contract Year ending 2025.
  • To qualify, hospitals must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to [email protected] by the deadline, with a template available from AzHHA.
  • For inquiries, contact Amy Upston at [email protected].

Arizona Transition to Practice Program: Apply now for the June 2024 cohort!


Applications are now open for the second Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses cohort beginning in June 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: The Arizona Transition to Practice Program:

  • Supports and develops new nurses.
  • Provides evidence-based professional development.
  • Accelerates the novice nurse to a competent nurse more rapidly.
  • Addresses resilience and emergency preparedness.

👉Apply now! Applications are due Friday, April 12, 2024.



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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