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

Read on to learn about the latest Director nomination to go before Senate Committee, a warning on new healthcare sector ransomware threat and a CDC advisory in this week’s Connection.

Senate Committee on Director Nominations to Consider DIFI Director

Although the Legislature remains in recess until Monday, July 31, the Senate Committee on Director Nominations (DINO) will meet next Tuesday, June 27 at 10 a.m. to consider the appointment of the Director of the Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI). DIFI has many divisions, but of importance to AzHHA is the division that regulates commercial health insurance in Arizona. The nominee is Barbara Richardson, who most recently served as Insurance Commissioner for the state of Nevada. You may read her full biography here, and if you’d like to tune in to the DINO Committee next week, find the link to watch here.

HHS warns healthcare sector of new ransomware threat

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has alerted the health sector to a recent ransomware attack on a U.S. medical facility, which reduced patient treatment capability, rendered digital services unavailable and threatened exposure of patient personal health information. The TimiSoaraHackerTeam (THT) group is responsible for the attack. According to the HHS alert, THT is financially motivated and has previously targeted medical facilities.

THT appears to leverage legitimate computer tools such as BitLocker, BestCrypt, remote desktop protocol and published vulnerabilities in VPN services. The American Hospital Association has recommended that the described tools be immediately patched and closely monitored for unusual activity. Any indication of THT or other ransomware signatures on hospital and health system networks should be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.

🚨 Deadline Extended to June 28 🚨

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL: AzHHA is seeking a national vendor for an evidence-based curriculum to implement our new Transition to Practice Program. Revisions to the RFP state the maximum budgeted funding for this project is $300,000 a year for two years. 

The successful applicant will demonstrate the ability to provide the following:

☑️ evidence-based program curriculum that includes content to promote clinical decision-making, leadership, and professionalism in the novice nurse. 
☑️ curriculum to include or be augmented to contain emergency preparedness, quality of care, and health equity principles.
☑️ support that accelerates and improves the transition to practice for novice nurses over approximately a year along with the ability for individual goal setting.

Download the RFP 

📅 Deadline: June 28

Transition to Practice Program success story

According to a study by the Kansas Hospital Association, a quarter of LPN jobs and over a fifth of RN jobs went unfilled in 2022 in Kansas. Stormont Vail Hospital tackled the issue of nurse retention by introducing a nurse transition-to-practice program, which led to lower turnover rates than the national average. This program offers new nurses support and practical experience to help them transition from school to work and build their confidence and skills. Nurse transition-to-practice programs are being implemented nationwide to enhance retention and improve patient care.

Guidance on Measles during the Summer Travel Season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wednesday issued a Health Advisory to remind clinicians and public health officials to provide guidance for measles prevention to international travelers and to be on alert for cases of measles. The CDC says, “as of June 8, it has been notified of 16 confirmed U.S. cases of measles across 11 jurisdictions, with 14 (88%) linked to international travel. Based on current estimates, twice as many Americans are planning to travel internationally in 2023 compared with 2022.”

What Providers Need to Know about Zoonotic Influenza

The CDC’s latest Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call focused on provider awareness surrounding novel influenza A viruses including the highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus. CDC reports, “given the pandemic risk posed by novel influenza A virus infections, healthcare providers should remain alert to the possibility of human infections with influenza viruses that can spread between animals and people.” Watch the recap to learn the CDC’s guidance for clinicians on testing, specimen collection and antiviral treatment for people with suspected or confirmed infections.

Member spotlight: Yuma Regional Medical Center

AzHHA member hospital Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is a finalist in the Triple E Awards Community Engagement Initiative of the Year Award. YRMC and Arizona Western College are highlighted on the finalist list for entering “into a first-of-its-kind partnership in order to address the rural healthcare workforce shortage.” This notable award entry highlights the innovations these partners are putting into practice by attracting, teaching and retaining local healthcare professionals. Learn more and vote to show your support for this innovative effort here.


September 15 - AIM Collaborative Conference - Register now for our second annual event focusing on AIM’s obstetric hemorrhage maternal health bundle. Hear from engaging speakers from around the state presenting on maternal health initiatives and integrating health equity into patient care. Attendees will include clinicians and executives from hospitals and birthing facilities, leaders from state agencies, community partners, not-for-profits, tribal healthcare, and students. Sponsorship opportunities are available; contact [email protected]


Governor Hobbs' veto threat ends effort to change State Hospital oversight | ABC15

Superheroes visit Tucson Medical Center | KGUN9

More than 1 million people are dropped from Medicaid as states start a post-pandemic purge of rolls | AP

Getting to Near Zero with Infection Prevention | AHA podcast