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

Priority bill HB2290 was heard by the Senate Government Committee, but the results were unsatisfactory

Legislative update – HB2290 was heard and rejected by the Senate Government Committee

It was a roller coaster of a week at the legislature, and unfortunately, AzHHA’s top priority health plan accountability bill got caught in the crossfire. After HB2290 was placed on the Senate Government Committee agenda for Wednesday morning, the Chairman decided he would not, in fact, hear the bill. There are still a few procedural options available, so although the bill is technically dead, as we’ve previously reported, it is not fully dead until the legislature adjourns. The AzHHA Advocacy team, and our legislative champion Rep. David Cook, will continue to fight for this critically important health plan accountability measure. In other news, this was the last week for regular committee hearings, so with the exception of the Appropriations Committees, which will hold one extra meeting next week, committee hearings have concluded for 2023. The rumor mill suggests that the legislature may attempt another budget next week to send up to the Governor in advance of the Easter holiday. We will report on that in next week’s edition.

As a reminder, 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].

AzHHA releases DataGen reports

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

  • 4Q2022 Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program Analysis | Sent 3/7/2023
  • 4Q2022 Hospital Acquired Condition Analysis | Sent 3/8/2023
  • 4Q2022 Outpatient Quality Measure Trends Analysis | Sent 3/15/2023
  • 4Q2022 Quality Measure Trends Analysis | Sent 3/16/2023

Candida auris cases in Arizona - what you should know

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) announced Monday that 19 clinical cases and 18 screening cases of Candida auris (C. auris) have been identified in our state. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states Candida auris “is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat.” Healthcare providers are encouraged to immediately report Candida auris in a healthcare environment to their local public health agency and take special precautions to stop its spread. Find more information on ADHS’s website.

Workplace violence prevention - informational webinar and sample policy for AzHHA members

Last year, the Arizona Legislature passed SB1311 known as the Workplace Violence Prevention bill. The legislation requires that by July 1, 2023, licensed healthcare institutions with more than 50 employees develop, implement and maintain a written workplace violence prevention plan. To assist AzHHA members in meeting requirements, a webinar on policy development and implementation will be offered on Wednesday, April 12 from 3 - 4 p.m. To receive the Zoom link, please register here. In addition, AzHHA is working with employment law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. to develop a legally compliant sample policy that can be adapted to meet the needs of individual facilities.

Differential Adjusted Payment deadline: April 1

The first Differential Adjusted Payment (DAP) deadline is on April 1. Hospitals which submit a Scope of Work (SOW) to the state Health Information Exchange, Contexture by this date, may receive up to an additional 2.5% increase (10% increase for Critical Access Hospitals) on all AHCCCS inpatient and outpatient payments from October 1, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2024. A SOW should have been sent by Contexture to someone in the hospital’s IT department. If you did not receive the SOW or your hospital has not previously participated in the HIE, please contact [email protected] as soon as possible.

AHCCCS released the final DAP public notice on March 27, 2023. AzHHA will be sending a regulatory alert to members on the changes since the preliminary public notice, including more information on the Naloxone Distribution Program. To participate in the Naloxone Distribution Program, hospitals and freestanding emergency departments must submit a letter of intent to AHCCCS no later than April 30, 2023. For questions on the DAP program, please contact Amy Upston, Director of Financial Policy and Reimbursement at [email protected].

AHA study finds HOPDs treat more lower-income patients than IPO and ASC patients

Medicare beneficiaries may receive ambulatory care services in different settings, including hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), independent physician offices (IPOs), emergency departments (EDs) and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). A study conducted by KNG Health Consulting, released last week by the American Hospital Association (AHA), found that Medicare patients who receive care in a HOPDs are more likely to come from medically underserved populations and be sicker and more complex to treat than Medicare patients treated in IPOs and ASCs. This theme underscores why proposals to compensate hospitals and health systems the same as IPOs and ASCs under Medicare would threaten patient access to care. Legislation being considered by policymakers to do so — referred to as “site-neutral” payment policies — fail to recognize the legitimate differences in the types of services hospitals provide compared to other providers. For a full copy of the study, visit AHA’s webpage.

CommunityCares network throughout the state of Arizona

The CommunityCares network is expanding throughout the state of Arizona. CommunityCares is a referral system to Address Social Determinants of Health needs in Arizona. They are actively onboarding community service provider organizations in your area; there is no cost to join, so please share this information with your networks. The more providers join, the more options we have to meet the needs of our patients. If you are a community service provider organization - join a virtual or in-person information session to learn how electronic referrals can improve health equity and increase access to care for all Arizonans. CommunityCares holds virtual community information sessions weekly on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. and in-person sessions at Frida's Garden at 2800 North 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85006 on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.


April – AzCHER Crisis Standards of Care Workshop Series

Those who work within healthcare emergency management and 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

Where: Virtual

Register here

April 13 – AHA’s Examining Best Practices for Equitable Maternal Care

Maternal mortality rates continue to rise, especially among Black women. In observance of National Minority Health Month in April, the American Hospital Association (AHA) is bringing together leading voices from the field for a dialogue on ways healthcare organizations can adopt best practices to provide equitable maternal care. Speakers will explore the maternal healthcare disparities women of color face and discuss strategies healthcare organizations can implement to better serve diverse patients on their pregnancy and postpartum journeys.

When: April 13, 2023 | 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. MST

Where: Virtual

Register here

May 1 – American Organization for Nursing Leadership - CNML Review Course

Become recognized as a leader in your healthcare community and validate your knowledge and skills by taking the Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML®) exam — the only certification program for nurse managers. Join us in California this May to prepare. The CNML Essentials Review Course gives you the opportunity to:

  • Review the four practice areas covered in the exam
  • Discuss the practical applications of the skills in groups
  • Review test-taking skills to build confidence for taking the exam

When: May 1, 2023 | 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where: Anaheim, CA or an on-demand video experience

Registration here and get access to the online practice exam. 

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.

April 19 – AzHHA members only: Join careLearning’s webinar on the new 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].

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


Rural healthcare at risk if we don’t hold health plans accountable (Arizona Capitol Times)

How Cigna Saves Millions by Having Its Doctors Reject Claims Without Reading Them (Propublica)

10 states with the highest, lowest death rates from COVID-19 (Becker’s Hospital Review)