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

The House expels Rep. after Ethics Committee review and may take ‘Spring Break’

Legislative update 

This week, the House voted to expel now former Rep. Liz Harris (R-Dist. 13) following an Ethics Committee review, which you can read here. As District 13 is in Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is charged with replacing her. The Republican district precinct committeemen will submit three names to the County Board in the next five days and then the Board will ultimately appoint a replacement. Until that time, with the majority down one member, the rumor is that the House will adjourn for ‘spring break’ until April 25. Both chambers have continued to move bills on the floor and have now sent a total of 133 bills to Governor Hobbs as of Wednesday, 48 of which she has vetoed. No additional meetings for the Senate Committee on Director Nominations have been scheduled, so we continue to await permanent, confirmed agency directors at many state agencies, including at the Department of Health Services and at Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). We are rapidly approaching the 100th day of legislative session—Tuesday, April 18, and this week marked Governor Hobbs’ 100th day in office. The Governor shared an op-ed to convey what she views as her successes during the beginning stages of her Administration.

Arizona Healthcare Workforce Summit Takeaways

Last month, AzHHA, Banner Health Plans and the Center for the Future of Arizona cohosted the first annual Arizona Healthcare Workforce Summit- Creating Connections and Pathways to Collaboration. Over 120 individuals representing workforce development, healthcare organizations, employers and educational institutions attended. The participants were welcomed to the summit by Governor Hobbs via a prerecorded message and enjoyed educational Workforce Project panels. Additional highlights of the summit included keynotes from Suzanne Pfister, President and CEO of Vitalyst Health Foundation and Carmen Heredia, Director of AHCCCS. We are compiling detailed participant feedback for the Arizona Healthcare Workforce Catalogue. Initial feedback shows participants were overwhelmingly positive, with many indicating interest in another summit next year. The three primary take aways from the summit were: 

  1. Bring together all funded and "soon to be" funded project leaders as well as those in workforce development roles to share their focus, strategies, intended outcomes and impact on workforce, current needs and plans for sustainability.  
  2. Discuss ways to collaborate and develop connections among funded projects and workforce agencies to assist and support each other's efforts.   
  3. Establish a state-wide Arizona Healthcare Workforce Catalogue offering a listing of currently funded projects, their contacts, brief description, deliverables, intended outcomes and impact on workforce.   

Workplace violence prevention sample plan now available to AzHHA members

To assist members in meeting requirements of last year’s SB1311 known as the Workplace Violence Prevention bill, AzHHA has contracted with employment law firm, Ogletree Deakins, to develop a legally compliant sample plan that can be adapted to meet the specific needs of your facility. SB1311 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 obtain a copy of the sample plan as well as the slide deck from the April 12 webinar, contact Laura Dickscheid, Vice President of Member Services at AzHHA at [email protected].

Black Maternal Health Week is April 11-17

The Black Mamas Matter Alliance​ continues to build awareness and amplify ​the voices, perspectives and lived experiences of Black mothers and birthing people with the annual Black Maternal Health Week from April 11 to April 17. Considering the steadily alarming rise of maternal mortality in the U.S., this week is intentionally held during National Minority Health Month and provides an opportunity to advocate for the elimination of maternal mortality globally. The activities and conversations hosted throughout the week intentionally center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements. ​Most importantly, it highlights practices and solutions that incorporate the true needs, wants and desires of Black women and birthing people. To find out more, visit the Black Mamas Matter Alliance​ website.

Arizona Extends Postpartum Coverage for Medicaid & CHIP

This month, Arizona became the latest state to extend postpartum coverage for individuals enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, following the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approval of the state’s postpartum coverage extension state plan amendments. The opportunity to extend this coverage was made possible by the American Rescue Plan, and this approval marks 31 states and D.C. that have extended postpartum Medicaid/CHIP coverage to a full year. Click here and here to learn more about Arizona’s approvals in Medicaid and CHIP, respectively. 

National Healthcare Decisions Day is this Sunday, April 16

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. The initiative helps encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. NHDD was founded in 2008 to provide clear, concise and consistent information on healthcare decision-making to both the public and providers/facilities through the widespread availability and dissemination of simple, free, and uniform tools. Need help starting the conversation? Visit our us at Advance Care Planning Forms - Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association ( for educational guides, videos and accessible forms.

CMS releases IPPS proposed rule for FY 2024

CMS issued its hospital inpatient prospective payment system (PPS) and long-term care hospital PPS proposed rule for fiscal year 2024. For inpatient prospective payments, the rule proposes a 2.8% rate increase for inpatient PPS payments in FY 2024 (3% market basket increase less 0.2 percentage point productivity adjustment). The long-term care prospective payment system would receive a 2.9% increase (3.1% market basket increase less 0.2 percentage point productivity adjustment), but make significant changes to the outlier threshold, reducing payments by 4.7%. Taken together, these changes are expected to reduce long-term care payments by 2.5% in fiscal year 2024. AzHHA members will receive a more detailed overview of the proposed rule in the coming weeks, including estimates of facility-specific impacts.

1Q23 Contract Labor Market Rate Analysis

AzHHA’s affiliated partner and endorsed vendor in the contract labor space, Adaptive Workforce Solutions, recently issued a market rate analysis for the first quarter of 2023. The report outlines comparative rates for temporary clinical staff, including locum tenens, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, allied health and therapies by region as well as a general overview of the contract labor landscape. Adaptive Workforce Solutions is a vendor-neutral managed service provider that offers an emergency staffing service to AzHHA members among several other services. For more information, contact Laura Dickscheid, Vice President of Member Services at AzHHA, [email protected].


April 19 – Compassion Fatigue workshop series 

Televeda, an organization which helps improve population health, along with ADHS is providing a free workshop series about compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is a natural offspring of the world we have been working and living in. In the last couple of years, we have witnessed a dramatic rise in stress-related diseases, loneliness and depression, drug overdose, racial injustice, economic pressures, violence to self and others and a seemingly unending list of other signs of disruption. This four-part series will address the adverse impacts of compassion fatigue on our health and well-being and help us navigate tailored ways to reach our own individualized sense of holistic well-being amidst challenging times. 

  • April 19: When Things Fall Apart: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. 
  • April 26: Protecting Our Own Well-Being: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. 
  • May 3: Mindfulness: “Beyond the Buzz!” 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • May 10: Creating a Personal Action Plan: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Register for the first part of the workshop series here.

April 20 – AHA Vitality Index webinar 

The webinar will provide an overview of the American Hospital Association (AHA) Vitality Index which integrates raw claims and remit information from hospitals. Using this information, hospitals can see how they are doing against their peers, but perhaps even more importantly, how insurance providers are doing against their peers. Using this data, the AHA Vitality Index can help answer questions such as: Which payers have prompt payment issues? Which hospitals have denial issues across the state? Are there specific claim types experiencing more denials or downgrades? Utilizing the AHA Vitality Index will help hospitals glean incredible insights into claims and remit issues. If you’re interested in joining contact Amy Upston, Director of Financial Policy and Reimbursement for AzHHA at [email protected]. 

May 3 - Lunch and Learn: HealthXnet insurance information aggregator

AzHHA’s affiliated partner and endorsed vendor, Hospital Services Corporation, will present HealthXnet during a webinar on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 from 12-1 p.m. Learn how to save time and increase staff efficiency with a one-stop portal that captures live data to determine benefits, eligibility and claim status for most Arizona and national payers. Zero implementation fees and a low average transaction cost save your hospital money and HealthXnet uses secure, cloud-based technology that will place no requirements on your IT department. The HealthXnet award-winning software technology will also enhance the initial contact patient experience. To participate in this webinar, register here.


April 14: AzAHQ 2023 Spring Conference: Reconnecting on the Journey to High Reliability: This activity/program is approved by NAHQ® for 6.25 CPHQ CE credits.

April 19: AzHHA members only: Join careLearning’s webinar on the new learning management system. For more information or to receive registration information, contact Laura Dickscheid, Vice President of Member Services at AzHHA, [email protected].

April 23-25: AHA Annual Membership Meeting

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

May 9: AzHHA monthly workshops: Introduction to POLST

May 16-17: Critical Incident Stress Management Peer Team Training for Crisis Intervention; to register, contact Cheryl Hewlett at [email protected].

In the News

Postpartum Medicaid expansion receives final approval (KOLD, Tucson CBS affiliate)

CMS cracks down on MA coverage denials and misleading ads in final rule (HealthcareDive)

HHS proposes new standards for artificial intelligence in health care (PoliticoPro – subscribers only)

'Simply unsustainable': Hospital groups react to proposed inpatient payment rule (Becker’s Hospital Review)