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Connection newsletter 6-20-24

Read about the conclusion of the Arizona's 56th Legislature - Second Regular Session, AzHHA's comments on AHCCCS behavioral health clinical oversight and the upcoming application deadline for the Arizona Transition to Practice Program.




In this week’s issue, read about: The conclusion of the Arizona’s 56th Legislature - Second Regular

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Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA Communications ● June 20, 2024

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins...1492 words

In this week’s issue, read about:

  • The conclusion of the Arizona’s 56th Legislature - Second Regular Session.
  • AzHHA’s comments on AHCCCS behavioral health clinical oversight.
  • The upcoming application deadline for the third cohort of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program.

Arizona’s 56th Legislature – Second Regular Session is complete

Arizona State Capitol

Lawmakers worked double time last week, and adjourned sine die shortly after 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

  • It was clear that the leadership wanted to finalize the budget and shift their focus to campaigning.
  • Several bills were pushed through at the last minute in both the House and Senate during their marathon floor sessions.

What happened with the state budget?

Legislators had around 72 hours to review, negotiate and amend the budget bills, with less than 24 hours to review them before voting.

  • During the negotiation period, both the Freedom Caucus and Democratic leaders actively opposed the budget.
  • Ultimately, a $16.1 billion budget was passed with cuts to most departments and reallocation of dollars previously dedicated to specific programs and departments.

Here is what made it across the finish line that hospitals should know:

  • $100 million shift from the Hospital Assessment Fund to the state General Fund to pay for Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) behavioral health services.
  • Approximately $592 million in net HEALTHII payments is above last year's payouts. AHCCCS expects the model to be finalized next week.
  • Continued critical access hospital (CAH) supplemental payment increases from last year, with total CAH supplemental payments at $28.4 million.
  • No reductions on supplemental payments.

What was the verdict on HB2035?

AzHHA’s priority legislation, focused on health insurance accountability, did not make it to a final vote before adjournment.

  • Our policy team worked hard into the weekend to give the bill a chance for a floor vote but faced barriers set by the Senate President.
  • Some suggest it was a personal feud, while others credit the lobbying efforts of the insurers and NFIB, represented by the same contract lobbyist.
  • Although the bill died with the legislature’s adjournment, our efforts remain strong as this issue remains a priority for our members. We are already forming strategies for next year’s approach.

Next steps for AzHHA

There is much to learn from this legislative session, despite making significant strides in the right direction.

  • AzHHA will continue meeting with stakeholders on our priorities until our next Public Policy Committee meeting, where we will outline our efforts for next year.
  • We will also focus on the Arizona Department of Health Services rulemaking process as both hospital and ambulance rules are open and active. More information will follow soon.

This will be the last weekly update, but it won’t be the last time you will hear from our policy team. If you have any questions, concerns or want to discuss politics, feel free to reach out to Damien Johnson, director of government relations.


AzHHA submits comments on AHCCCS behavioral health clinical oversight

An illustration of hospitals on a Monopoly board

On Monday, June 17, 2024, AzHHA submitted comments to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) on proposed changes to the AHCCCS Medical Policy Manual (AMPM) Policy 300-3 on behavioral health clinical oversight and supervision requirements.

  • AzHHA expressed concerns over having AHCCCS policies which conflict with rules from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and recommended that AHCCCS defer to definitions and requirements laid out in the ADHS policy.
  • If AHCCCS moves forward with this policy change, AzHHA believes it will require a tremendous amount of paperwork without adding additional benefits to AHCCCS recipients or other patients.

Deadline approaching: Arizona Transition to Practice Program applications for third cohort


The deadline for the third Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses cohort beginning in September 2024 is fast approaching.

What’s next: Applications are due on Sunday, June 30, 2024.

  • Already applied? The Arizona Transition to Practice Program team will contact you soon.
Apply now

Why it matters: With this program, we aspire to create an environment where our nurses can transition seamlessly from academia to practice, gaining the confidence and competence they need to provide the best possible quality care to our communities.

The big picture:

  • Any Arizona healthcare facility licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services that hires new graduate registered nurses may apply.
  • Priority is given to critical access hospitals or hospitals located in counties with a population of less than 500,000 people.
  • Hospitals with existing 12-month Transition to Practice programs are not eligible.

Questions? Email [email protected].


Member webinar: EMTALA for special issues

Hospital plus being pulled down by people. People are in the shadow of the plus.

The second webinar in a three-part series to answer questions about EMTALA, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 2024. This webinar will cover EMTALA for special issues. Our esteemed speakers include:

  • Karen Owens, a partner in the Phoenix, Ariz. law firm of Coppersmith Brockelman, PLC, and
  • Odette Colburn, director of accreditation and regulatory for Valleywise Health.

The bottom line: The webinars are free of charge for AzHHA members.

  • If you register for one or more of the sessions, please also download the EMTALA manual by acknowledging the licensing agreement here.
  • Attendees who will most benefit from this webinar series include legal and compliance representatives, hospital CEOs, hospital CNOs, risk managers, ED nurse managers and ED medical directors.

Questions? Reach out to [email protected].

Save the date: The final webinar in this series titled “EMTALA surveys, deficiencies and interactions with agencies” is from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2024.


Advance care planning is for everyone

Myth vs. fact: Advance care planning isn’t just for the elderly or the ill. It’s for everyone who wants control over their medical care and peace of mind for themselves and their families.

Why it matters: Advance directives are legal documents to let others know about your wishes and how to honor them if you can’t speak for yourself. They include:

  • 📃Living wills
  • Medical powers of attorney
  • 🏥Pre-hospital medical directives

The big picture: There are no required documents in Arizona; you may choose which documents to complete, depending on how you want your decisions to be made.

Need help getting started? You’ll find resources and forms available here.


Member spotlight: Steve Purves on Becker’s Hospital Review community hospital CEOs to know list

Becker’s Hospital Review recently released a list of “160 community hospital CEOs to know” in 2024.

  • The list is based on nominations and editorial research.

Congratulations to Steve Purves, president and CEO of Valleywise Health and AzHHA Board Member, for his well-deserved inclusion on this list!

The article shares some of his many accomplishments including:

  • Winning overwhelming support by Maricopa County voters in 2014 to fund a nearly $1 billion bond issue to build a new network of community health centers and a new acute care hospital to replace the legacy facility established in 1971.
  • Spearheading efforts to acquire the Maryvale Hospital, bridging a substantial gap in care access for the area.
  • Leading the building of a new Valleywise Health Medical Center. Now open to patients, the 10-story, 673,000-square-foot tower includes 233 private patient rooms.
View the complete list




Convergence Health Workforce Wellbeing and Violence Prevention Improvement Series
This series was developed based on the growing challenges that our healthcare workforce is facing in the areas of personal wellbeing and physical safety. On Wednesdays through the end of June, hear from experts who are working on these topics every day. Learn more and register.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024 and Thursday, Aug. 22, 2024 - EMTALA webinar series
This members-only webinar series is designed to answer questions about EMTALA, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. Questions? Reach out to [email protected].

Wednesday, June 26, 2024 - Protecting Mothers: Key Takeaways From the 2024 Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Prevention Report
This free webinar dissects the key findings of the report, including factors contributing to maternal mortality rates, disparities in healthcare access and effective interventions to address these issues. Register now.

Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2024 - 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.

Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2024 - Healthcare Social Media Exercise
Join AzCHER for a virtual exercise that aims to enhance your ability to implement social listening to gauge the public’s perception of incident response and recovery efforts, and deliver credible and actionable messages to inform the public through social media platforms in response to a catastrophic incident. Register now.




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