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Connection Newsletter 4.27.23

House attempted to override the Governor’s veto of a bill related to cottage food and other news and events of interest to our healthcare community.

Legislative Update 

Tuesday was almost an historic day, as the House attempted to override the Governor’s veto of a bill related to cottage food (HB2509). The bill passed just a week ago with a supermajority in both chambers, but received an unexpected veto from Governor Hobbs, who cited food safety concerns in her veto letter. Some members of the Democratic caucus supported the override, but quite a few were unwilling to override their Democratic Governor, despite their support of the underlying policy issue. The veto override would have marked the first time in more than 40 years that the legislature took such an action, and the drama has dominated local and national headlines. Following that, the Senate adjourn until the middle of next week to focus on budget negotiations. The House is working Wednesday but is expected to adjourn until next week as well.  

AzHHA goes to Washington  

Arizona’s hospitals and health systems are committed to providing the highest quality care to the communities they serve. So, we headed to the Hill to meet with Arizona congressional members and Arizona senators to discuss access to care, promoting financial stability, strengthening the healthcare workforce, protecting the rural safety net and advancing quality and innovation in care delivery. We were joined by AzHHA members from across the state like Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center, Encompass Health, Fort Defiance Indian Hospital, LifePoint Hospitals, Mayo Clinic, TMC Health, Valleywise Health Medical Center, and Yuma Regional Medical Center. Our commitment has never been more apparent than during the past three years of battling the most significant public health crisis in our lifetime. Thank you to the American Hospital Association for their 2023 Annual Meeting, which brought these AzHHA leaders together in Washington, DC to advocate for Arizona hospitals. 

CDC urges its Office of Rural Health to bring back Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report  

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operationalized its Office of Rural Health last month to advocate rural health research and provide analyses that lead to good public health policies for rural communities. The hope is that the CDC brings back the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report rural health series, highlighting data like illicit drug use, causes of death, suicide, race, and ethnicity trends. With limited resources and rural health challenges, the office could suggest where rural hospitals should target services. AzHHA has teamed up with key stakeholders statewide to reduce healthcare disparities in rural Arizona hospitals, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and post-acute care facilities through the Arizona Health Equity Organizational Assessment (HEOA) Collaborative. We also have an SVI dashboard we created with the Arizona Department of Health Services for HEOA Collaborative participants. 

CMS announces changes to hospital price transparency enforcement process

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced changes to its enforcement process for the hospital price transparency rule. CMS said it will now automatically impose a civil monetary penalty if hospitals fail to submit a corrective action plan on time or fail to complete the CAP within 45 days. In addition, the agency will no longer issue a warning notice to hospitals that have not posted any machine-readable file or shoppable services list/price estimator tool, but will immediately ask the hospital to submit CAP. 

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. 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:  

  • FFY 2024 Medicare Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) Prospective Payment System (PPS) Proposed Rule - Sent 4/10/2023  
  • FFY 2024 Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Proposed Rule - Sent 4/13/2023  
  • FFY 2024 Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Proposed Rule - Sent 4/25/2023             

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 is National Minority Health Month 

April is National Minority Health Month, a time to raise awareness about health disparities that continue to affect people from racial & ethnic minority groups and encourage action through health education, early detection, and control of disease complications. While health disparities are not a new challenge, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated healthcare needs and widened the inequity gap among many minority groups, especially those living in rural communities. Read more about the importance of creating awareness on the U.S. Food & Drug website. 


May & June – Critical Incident Stress Management Peer Team Training for Crisis Intervention  

As crises in the workplace and community disasters are becoming more frequent, the need for effective psychological crisis response capabilities becomes obvious. As a result, AzCHER will be offering Group and Individual Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Peer Team Training for Crisis Intervention in May and June, in the Tucson area. CISM represents a powerful, yet cost- effective approach to deal with the resultant psychological, emotional and spiritual effects from a crisis. This training will help your facility create and maintain a CISM Peer Team for both Individual and Group debriefing. Lunch will not be provided, so please plan accordingly.  

Pima County Health Department Toole Warehouse: 350 S. Toole Ave, Tucson, Arizona, 85701  

  • May 16 & 17, 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. – capacity for 25 people  

Abrams Public Health Center: 3950 S. Country Club Rd, Tucson, Arizona, 85714  

  • May 30-31, 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. - capacity for 25 people  
  • June 13-14, 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. - capacity for 25 people  

To register, contact Cheryl Hewlett at [email protected].  

May 12 - Arizona HFMA 2023 Spring Conference  
The Arizona Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) will be holding its 2023 spring conference in Scottsdale on May 12, 2023. Learn more about the conference on their website. 

May 17 - Emergency Preparedness Webinar Series  

In partnership with Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), the Arizona Coalition for Healthcare Emergency Response (AzCHER), and others—we invite you to join the monthly emergency preparedness webinars in 2023 to discuss up-to-date information and resources for the areas of focus included in a comprehensive Emergency Preparedness Plan. This monthly series is the third Wednesday of the month from 3–3:45 p.m. PT. To register and access the recordings of previous sessions visit: 

AzHHA monthly workshops: 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. 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. Upcoming workshop dates include:   


Additional Events 

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


Hospital costs, then and now: 14 numbers to know (Becker’s Hospital CFO Report) 

The CDC Lacks a Rural Focus. Researchers Hope a Newly Funded Office Will Help. (KFF Health News) 

What's next on the No Surprises Act (Axios) 

Where the US will see the largest, smallest change in demand for RNs (Becker’s Hospital Review)