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Connection newsletter 3-28-24

Read about what we are monitoring as the session quiets down, the first cohort of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program and a COVID-19 memorial in Yuma.




In this issue, read about: What we are monitoring as the session quiets down. The first cohort of th

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Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) Banner

Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA Communications ● March 28, 2024

Smart Brevity® count: 6 mins...1555 words

In this issue, read about:

  • What we are monitoring as the session quiets down.
  • The first cohort of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses.
  • A COVID-19 memorial in Yuma.

Legislative update: All quiet on the western front

Arizona State Capitol

As we conclude the 11th week of the Fifty-sixth Legislature's Second Regular Session, we have surpassed the 80-day mark.

  • The deadline for committees to review bills was the previous week, apart from the Appropriations committees, which are traditionally granted an additional week to consider bills.
  • During this time, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees had full agendas, resulting in several key bills we've been monitoring successfully advancing out of committee.
  • HB2449 (medication; authorization; mental illness) exempts medications prescribed to address a qualifying mental disorder of an Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) member from prior authorization requirements and, unless certain conditions apply, step-therapy protocols.
  • SB1164 (pharmacy benefits; coverage) outlines the prohibitions, limitations and permissive actions for a healthcare provider, healthcare insurer, pharmacy benefit manager and the covered individual.

What is happening with HB2035?

What's next: We are awaiting the consideration of the bill by the Rules Committee, which operates under a unique set of procedures that differs from other committees. The timing for this review is uncertain and could be scheduled at any moment.

  • Recent developments indicate that the bill's progression is being delayed in the final committee phase due to concerns about its fiscal impact.
  • Estimates suggest a potential cost to the state of up to $2.9 million.
  • Efforts are underway to request a reevaluation of the fiscal note, aiming for a more accurate assessment of the bill's financial implications.

In the meantime, our team continues to engage with Senate members to navigate the final challenges the bill faces prior to its advancement to the Governor’s desk (referred to as the "9th Floor").

For further inquiries or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Damien Johnson, director of government relations.


Transition to Practice Program first cohort starts


📢AzHHA is proud to announce the first cohort of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses commenced this past Monday, March 25, 2024.

Why it matters: While it is important to increase the number of new nurses in the pipeline, it is also important to retain new nurses in their roles.

  • A formal TTP program provides another level of support for new nurses and has been shown to increase retention.

By the numbers: Get to know our March 2024 cohort:

  • 👩‍⚕30 new graduate nurses
  • 👩‍🏫39 preceptors and 11 mentors
  • 🏥10 participating facilities

The big picture: The Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) contracted with AzHHA to assist with the administration of this program.

  • AzHHA has partnered with national curriculum vendor, OpusVi (Latin for workforce), who has developed a transition to practice program that enables health systems and organizations to upskill and retain top talent, to carry out a statewide 12-month program.
Learn more

👉Interested in applying for the June 2024 cohort?

  • If you are an Arizona healthcare facility licensed by ADHS that hires new graduate registered nurses, you are eligible to apply.
  • Apply now.
  • The application deadline is Friday, April 12, 2024.

Biden signs HHS budget; site-neutral safe for now


On Saturday, March 23, 2024, President Biden signed into law a bill that allocates funding for the federal government until Monday, Sept. 30, 2024 encompassing programs within the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • This legislation, which received Senate approval earlier on Saturday, does not include site-neutral and hospital price transparency provisions previously under discussion. Notably, it extends the Conrad 30 waiver program through fiscal year 2024.
  • This program allows physicians with J-1 visas to waive the requirement of foreign residence if they commit to practicing in underserved areas in the U.S. for three years.
  • Additionally, the bill rescinds $4.3 billion in COVID-19 funding from the American Rescue Plan Act that remained unutilized.

OCR updates HIPAA guidance on use of online tracking technologies

Last week, the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued updated guidance concerning the use of online tracking technologies for entities covered by HIPAA and their business associates.

  • However, the American Hospital Association (AHA) feels the modified rule will “continue to chill hospitals’ use of commonplace technologies that allow them to effectively reach patients in need.”
  • These technologies are used by federal agencies on their own webpages, including HHS’s own, as well as, and various Veterans Health Administration sites.

The AHA, in collaboration with the Texas Hospital Association, Texas Health Resources and United Regional Health Care System, initiated legal action against HHS last November to bar enforcement of a December 2022 rule. That rule restricts the use of standard third-party web technologies that capture IP addresses on portions of hospitals’ public-facing webpages.

  • In January, the AHA submitted its opening brief for the case.
  • Additionally, 17 state hospital associations and thirty hospitals and health systems have submitted amicus briefs in support of the AHA in the lawsuit.

Informational webinar on LMS offering

AzHHA’s affiliated partner and endorsed vendor, careLearning, offers a dynamic learning management system with affordable pricing specific to healthcare facilities.

  • An informational webinar at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 will help your hospital or healthcare facility organize and manage your education program.
  • Attendees will learn how to maximize course offerings in a cost- and resource-effective manner.
  • This webinar is targeted at staff educators, human resources, nursing executives or managers, and compliance officers.
  • To participate in this webinar, register here, after which you will receive an email with the Zoom link.
  • Questions can be directed to [email protected].

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:

  • 4Q 2023 Quality Measure Trends Analysis (sent Monday, March 4, 2024)
  • Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program Analysis (sent Wednesday, March 6, 2024)
  • Outpatient Prospective Payment System Observation (sent Tuesday, March 12, 2024)

🕯 Yuma Regional Medical Center unveils COVID memorial

Yuma Regional Medical Center Covid memorial

A COVID Memorial was unveiled at Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) on Monday, March 4, 2024 honoring those who died from COVID-19.

  • The ceremony, attended by about 150 YRMC employees, featured reflections, music and prayer.
  • The memorial, funded by the Foundation of Yuma Regional Medical Center, includes an internally lit art structure surrounded by seating and desert landscaping.
  • It has over 800 laser-cut stars, each representing a life lost to COVID-19.
  • Two ICU employees, survivors of the virus, unveiled the memorial's plaque. Alfredo Gonzalez, an RN and COVID-19 survivor, expressed gratitude for his colleagues' care.
  • The public can visit the memorial, providing a serene space to remember loved ones affected by the pandemic at night when it is illuminated.

🏥 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

Questions can be directed 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.



New Arizona transition-to-practice nursing program welcomes 1st cohort, aims to prevent burnout (

Sens. Sinema, Kelly say they’ve secured over $25M in federal funds for Arizona (

Arizona leaders misled the public about how bad Medicaid billing fraud scandal really is (

Providers 'wasted' $10.6B in 2022 overturning claims denials (

Private payers deny 15% of claims, survey finds (

Hospitals' widening financial gap (

HHS Announces Savings for 41 Prescription Drugs Thanks to Inflation Rebates from the Biden-Harris Administration’s Lower Cost Prescription Drug Law (

Remarks by President Biden and Vice President Harris on Lowering Healthcare Costs (

State accuses Tucson rehab center of fraud, halts payments (

Affordable Care Act celebrates 14th anniversary following jump in enrollment, continuing political discord (


Share your feedback! Email [email protected].