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Connection newsletter 5-11-23

Bipartisan budget passes, sent to Governor Hobbs this week

Legislative Update 

The Legislature did what many thought impossible—passed a bipartisan budget and sent it to Governor Hobbs on Wednesday. The $17.8 billion fiscal year 2024 state budget was negotiated differently than many past budgets—just Speaker Toma, President Petersen and Governor Hobbs were in the room and came to an agreement that they then sold to their respective caucuses. No additional amendments that hadn’t already been agreed to by the leadership teams were permitted on the budget. The Senate acted Wednesday, beginning just after midnight, and finally passed the budget close to 5am. The House came in Wednesday morning and proceeded to mirror the Senate actions so the full package could be transmitted. Many members in both chambers expressed frustration that there hadn’t been a more collaborative process, but ultimately voted in support. In general, all members of the majority supported the budget, approximately nine Democratic senators and 16 Democratic representatives ended up voting in support. AzHHA shared a brief summary of the budget when it was released on Tuesday, and if you’d like to do a deep dive on any aspect of the budget, you can find a line-by-line analysis prepared by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee here.  

The prevailing rumor is that both chambers will break until the week of May 22, when they will return to address any remaining bills and adjourn sine die. However, there has been some chatter that the legislature will stay in session perpetually rather than adjourn in the event the Governor takes action the Legislature wishes to overturn. 

AzHHA Care Improvement announces a new grant funded program 

We are pleased to announce that we have a contract with Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to administer a state-wide Transition to Practice program for new graduate RNs. We will be recruiting facilities that employ new graduate nurses to participate in our statewide program. We will engage a vendor for evidence-based content and will provide a year-long program for 100 people per year.  We will also deliberately incorporate emergency preparedness in the curriculum and experiential training.   

Since the pandemic, Arizona has been experiencing a severe nursing shortage. 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. New graduate nurse turnover was high before the pandemic and only increased throughout the pandemic. A formal New Graduate Registered Nurse Transition to Practice Program provides another level of support for new nurses and has been shown to increase retention.  

As part of the program, we are hiring a new position: Transition to Practice Program Director. View the job description and apply here: 

CDC updates COVID-19 universal masking, nursing home admission testing guideline  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) May 8 updated its COVID-19 infection control and prevention guidelines. CDC addresses two key issues in the updated guidelines — universal masking in health care facilities and testing patients for COVID-19 upon admission to nursing homes. Key insights include:  

  • CDC no longer links universal masking guidelines to its COVID-19 community transmission metric, which the agency will not calculate after the May 11 conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). 
  • The revised universal masking guidelines recommend that facilities:  
  • Use a risk-based assessment, stakeholder input and local metrics to determine how and when to implement universal masking; o  
  • Implement universal masking under specific circumstances such as during COVID-19 outbreaks in specific work units or areas or in accordance with state/local public health authority recommendations; and o  
  • Continue to allow individuals to wear masks or respirators based on personal preference.  
  • CDC no longer recommends testing all nursing home admissions for COVID-19; testing is now at the discretion of the facility. 

Sponsorship opportunities open for the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Foundation’s 2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference  

Join us at the beautiful Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson for the 2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference, October 25-27. Sponsorship opportunities are now available! Please view our sponsorship prospectus to learn more about our bundled options or stand-alone sponsorships. The number of sponsors is limited to maintain the personal nature of this experience while also maximizing opportunities for sponsors to have face-time engagement with attendees.  

Join us for a Webinar on the Healthcare Compensation Survey 

Please join AzHHA’s affiliated partner and endorsed vendor,, for a webinar to discuss their 2023 Healthcare West Compensation Survey. Topics to be covered include: 

  • The survey participation and results process and timelines  
  •’s data methodology with a detailed overview of the participation templates 
  • How to access survey results and apply data filters such as facility type (hospital, rehab, critical access, etc.), bed size, teaching status, revenue and more 
  • Interactive Q&A 

One more webinar will be presented on Wednesday, May 17 at 12 p.m. Register here. A Zoom link will be sent the day before the webinar. Questions can be directed to Laura Dickscheid, Vice President of Member Services at AzHHA. 

EMResource Update - End of Public Health Emergency Declaration and Impact on COVID-19 Reporting 

As you may be aware, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration for COVID-19 will be coming to an end on Thursday, May 11. In the coming weeks that follow the end of the PHE, the CDC will be implementing the below changes to the COVID-19-required reporting. While there is much more information that will be coming from the CDC in regard to this, we wanted to share what information we know and explain how it impacts those who are using EMResource to complete their reporting. Below are the high-level changes to the federally required COVID-19 reporting elements: 

  • Decrease the number of elements that must be reported, reducing it from 62 to 44 elements. 
  • Change the reporting cadence so that data for each week are due every Tuesday.  

Additional information can be found on the CDC website. 

FREE WEBINAR: Meta Pixel and Other Online Tracking Technologies—Investigation and Legal Response  

ATTN: Mar/Comm, IT, Legal and Compliance - Since the STAT Health News investigations into health care organizations’ use of online tracking technologies for marketing purposes (such as Meta Pixel), the Office for Civil Rights and the Federal Trade Commission have initiated investigations and class-action lawsuits have been filed across the country.  In this program, the speakers will explore the legal issues involved in the use of online tracking technologies and discuss investigation and response. This webinar is provided free-of-charge to AzHHA members. Speakers include: 

  • Kristen Rosati, an attorney at Coppersmith Brockelman in Phoenix.  She is considered one of the nation’s leading “Big Data” and HIPAA compliance attorneys and is a Past President and a Fellow of the American Health Law Association. 
  • Nate Kunz, an attorney at Coppersmith with substantial experience in data-related class action and other commercial litigation. 
  • Andrew Shaxted, a Managing Director at FTI Consulting.  He is an interdisciplinary technologist and lawyer specializing in privacy engineering, data and analytics, ad tech, digital forensics and privacy governance. 

Join us on June 8 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. To receive the Zoom link on the day prior to the webinar, register here. Questions can be directed to Laura Dickscheid, Vice President of Member Services. 


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, 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:    

May 23 - Rev Cycle Managers: Standardizing Denial Metrics to Improve Revenue Cycle Performance – a free webinar for AzHHA members

Insurance claim denials cost hospitals more than $262 billion annually, translating to an average of $5 million per provider. Currently 65% of denied claims are not refiled and 90% are preventable. Join us as Pat Murphy and Tiffany Martin from TruBridge, AzHHA’s endorsed vendor and affiliated partner in the revenue cycle space, outline the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s (HFMA’s) MAP Keys for denial management and share why you should be tracking them. In this session, they’ll also cover how to implement a claims integrity team within your organization. Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify HFMA’s MAP Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for denial management metrics;
  2. Learn how the MAP KPIs affect the revenue cycle and why you should be tracking them; and
  3. Learn how to implement your own claims integrity team within your organization.

Join us on Tuesday, May 23 from 11 a.m. to noon. Register here and a Zoom link will be sent to you one day prior to the webinar. Reach out to Laura Dickscheid, Vice President of Member Services at [email protected] with questions.

May 23 - The NLC: What Nurse Employers Need to Know 

The NLC is offering a free educational webinar for nurse employers on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, from 2-3 pm Central Time. It will provide a general overview of the NLC and how it works, explain common questions nurse employers often have, debunk myths and misconceptions, provide a legislative update, and explain and Nursys e-Notify. You can register here.  

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].  


Cuts ahead: Health systems rethink non-clinical job needs (Modern Healthcare) 

5 EHR do's and don'ts for residents: AMA (Becker’s Hospital Review) 

Arizona ranked 37th in U.S. News & World Report's best states report (