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Connection newsletter – the latest health news, events and information for Arizona healthcare

Priority bill moves forward and community hazard vulnerability assessment top this week’s Connection newsletter

Legislative update – AzHHA's priority bill HB2346 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee

We are pleased to report that AzHHA priority legislation to address the OTC licensure issues, HB2346, unanimously passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday evening. The next step is for the bill to be considered on the Senate floor, which will take place in the coming weeks. The rumor mill is churning this week, indicating that the Legislature is working on a second budget proposal for this year, which they plan to send to the Governor before the Easter holiday. The approach for this budget proposal is to give each legislator an allocation of one-time money to spend on their priorities, to cobble together the support among enough legislators. The amount remains in question, at least officially, but the prevailing rumor is $30 million for each Republican senator, $20 million for each Republican representative, and some lesser amount allocated to each Democratic member and the Governor. It remains to be seen if this ‘DIY budget’ strategy will come to fruition, so stay tuned for additional updates in the Connection newsletter.

AzHHA hosts a weekly legislative update for members every Friday to provide an in-depth assessment of Arizona legislative activity. To participate in the call, contact [email protected].

AzCHER releases Statewide Community Hazard Vulnerability Assessment and Resource Gap Analysis

The Arizona Coalition for Healthcare Emergency Response (AzCHER) conducted a Statewide Community Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (CHVA) and Resource Gap Analysis (RGA) from November 2022 to January 2023 to identify the healthcare coalition’s most significant risks. As a result, the top five statewide healthcare hazards are communications/telephone failure/network failures, mass casualties, staffing shortages, extreme temperatures and the pandemic. The outcome of this assessment serves as a baseline for future healthcare delivery system planning, training, mitigation, response and recovery activities. You can view the full report on AzCHER’s website.

Maternal deaths surge to highest levels since 1965, Black mothers most affected

The rate of maternal deaths during or shortly after pregnancy rose 40% in 2021, making the U.S. the most dangerous place among high-income countries to give birth, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The mortality rate among Black women was 2.6 times as much as the rate for white women in 2021, and 30% of maternal deaths were among Black women. Maternal deaths surged to the highest rate in nearly 60 years, exacerbating a yearslong trend that has made the U.S. the most dangerous place among high-income countries to give birth. Among women in Arizona, severe maternal morbidity disproportionately affected women of color, women living below the federal poverty level, women living in rural counties and women with pre-existing chronic conditions, such as diabetes or chronic hypertension. That is why AzHHA, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) teamed up to create the Arizona AIM Collaborative. Several initiatives have already begun, starting with improved surveillance of maternal morbidity and mortality. Implementation of maternal evidence-based practices and safety bundles before, during and after labor and delivery is one of the next steps. More information may be found at

AHA releases "Health Care Workforce Scan," a roadmap for hospitals

This week, the American Hospital Association (AHA) released its annual snapshot of healthcare employment issues that consolidates data from multiple reports, studies and other sources. Bottom line, the pandemic intensified existing challenges and created new ones​. There has been massive turnover, inflation and increased costs of care. Technology has improved care delivery with expanded access and patient/clinician relationships have been redefined. Key findings include:

  • Healthcare workers are passionate about helping people and providers need to remind them of why they started their profession in the first place – providers can strengthen worker satisfaction through flexible scheduling, safe reporting structures and other best practices.
  • Hospitals must provide support, training and technology to their workers – integrating technology into workflow is vital to optimizing clinician productivity, improving satisfaction and freeing time for direct patient care.
  • Work on recruiting innovatively and retaining a robust pipeline – partner with schools, community organizations and others to create apprenticeships, earn-while-you-learn programs, innovative on-the job training and upskilling opportunities.​

Members may download a full copy of the 2023 AHA Health Care Workforce Scan at

CDC maintenance impacts COVID-19 reporting in National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Portal – March 24-26, 2023

CDC-wide network maintenance is scheduled for March 24-26, 2023, and will include the Secure Access Management System (SAMS) used to log into the NHSN application. SAMS authentication services will be impacted and frequently unavailable, and NHSN users may be unable to log into the application during this time. SAMS will be taken offline at 9 p.m. ET Friday, March 24 and be available again starting at 6 a.m. ET Monday, March 27. Hospital COVID-19 data should be submitted Monday, March 27, and back dated for additional days. Data Coverage and Compliance reports will be sent out the morning of Tuesday, March 28, to incorporate the submissions. For questions, reach out to [email protected].

HR and Compliance Professionals – Join us for a webinar on AzHHA’s endorsed LMS

careLearning, AzHHA’s newest affiliated partner and endorsed vendor, is offering a webinar to members that will introduce the learning management system (LMS) as an innovative and accessible platform for continuous employee education. The webinar will occur on Wednesday, April 19 at 11:30 a.m. It will explain the nonprofit careLearning model as developed by a consortium of hospital associations intended to meet the LMS needs of all facility types and sizes. Presenters will discuss platform utilization for compliance purposes along with the full course catalog, custom course development and the course sharing library. For more information or to receive registration information, contact Laura Dickscheid, Vice President of Member Services at AzHHA, [email protected].


March 31 – Arizona Healthcare Workforce Summit – Creating Connections and Pathways to Collaboration 

Healthcare workforce and development leaders from across the state are invited to attend this collaborative summit. Participants will hear from engaging speakers and project leaders about strategies, workforce outcomes and impact and plans for future sustainability.

When: March 31, 2023 | 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. MST

Where: Creighton University Health Sciences Campus, 3100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85012

Register here

April 4 – Introduction to POLST

This one-hour workshop equips healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) in Arizona. The objectives are to describe what POLST is at the state and national level, explain why POLST is important, define the population for POLST, when to begin the conversation and who completes POLST, describe the process for completing, reviewing and updating POLST and learn the process of submitting healthcare planning documents to the Arizona Healthcare Directive Registry.

When: April 4, 2023 | 10– 11 a.m. MST

Where: Virtual

Register here

AzCHER Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) Workshop Series

Those who work within healthcare emergency management and within the clinical areas of a facility are highly encouraged to attend, but all members who would like to learn more about Crisis Standards of Care in Arizona are welcome.

  • Activating, Implementing & Collaborating on Crisis Standards of Care — April 5, 2023 | 9– 11 a.m. MST
  • Supporting Staff and De-Activating Crisis Standards of Care — April 12, 2023 | 1– 3 p.m. MST
  • Staying in Contingency — April 28, 2023 | 1– 3 p.m. MST

Where: Virtual

Register here

May 2 – Health Equity Organizational Assessment (HEOA) Collaborative Conference

This interactive conference is open to HEOA participants and will give attendees the opportunity to share accomplishments and garner inspiration to continue the journey of health equity. By the end of the meeting, we want collaborators to feel proud, to be informed and to have a sense of community.

When: May 2, 2023 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. MST

Where: Creighton University Health Sciences Campus, 3100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85012

Registration is open to HEOA participants only.

Additional events:

April 3: AHA’s Health Care Pathways - Taking a Closer Look at Your Community and Beyond

April 23-25: AHA Annual Membership Meeting

May 5: March of Dimes Beyond Labels: Reducing Stigma Related To Maternal Mental Health & Substance Disorders


The health of a community depends on fair health insurance practices (Healthcare Drive)

Research: What Happens When Private Equity Firms Buy Hospitals? (Harvard Business Review)

Physicians say prior authorization rules harm patients, AMA survey finds, as CMS works toward new policy (Healthcare Drive)