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Connection newsletter 6-6-24

Read about the latest updates from the legislature, AzHHA's comment letters for IRF and IPF PPS, and the request for information for Medicare Advantage, and the extension for cohort three applications for the Arizona Transition to Practice Program.




In this issue, read about: The latest updates from the legislature. AzHHA’s comment letters for IRF

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Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA Communications ● June 6, 2024

Smart Brevity® count: 4 mins...1102 words

In this issue, read about:

  • The latest updates from the legislature.
  • AzHHA’s comment letters for IRF PPS and IPF PPS, and the request for information for Medicare Advantage.
  • The extension for cohort three applications for the Arizona Transition to Practice Program.

This week at the legislature and still awaiting a draft budget

Illustration of question marks made of money pattern.

It's 151 days into this session, and we still need a draft budget.

  • The latest buzz is that we might see something by Wednesday, June 12, 2024 - fingers crossed!
  • Our policy team has been hard at work, meeting with legislators to fend off any potential budget cuts coming our way.
  • A big shoutout to those members who have been contacting their legislators to help protect hospital funding.

On Tuesday, June 4, 2024, the House witnessed a marathon floor session with lively debates on HCR2060, the border security ballot initiative.

  • After much deliberation, the bill was successfully passed and is now headed for the November ballot.
  • The Senate, on the other hand, took a brief pause this week but will resume early next week.

Our focus remains on our top priority - health insurance accountability (HB2035). We'll ensure you stay updated with any developments as they unfold.

Do you have questions or need help contacting your legislator?

  • Our Director of Government Relations, Damien Johnson, is here to help. You can email him or call him at 623-680-7198.

AzHHA submits comments on IRF PPS and IPF PPS proposed Medicare rules

Illustration of a red cross spinning to reveal money

Last week, AzHHA submitted comments on the FY 2025 inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) prospective payment system (PPS) proposed rule and the FY 2025 inpatient psychiatric facility (IPF) PPS proposed rule to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

  • AzHHA’s letters expressed concern for the woefully inadequate rate increase given the unprecedented inflation in recent years and urged CMS to consider whether adjustments are necessary to its approach to annual market basket updates.
  • AzHHA also expressed concerns over the composite measure of overall immunization status for IRFs, the adoption of the all-cause risk-standardized emergency department visit following IPF discharge measure and the proposal to move from annual reporting of IPF quality reporting data to quarterly reporting.

AzHHA submits comments in response to Medicare Advantage RFI

Illustration of people entering a medical building

Last week, AzHHA submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to a request for information (RFI) on Medicare Advantage (MA).

Why it matters: Although CMS has taken steps to align MA plans with traditional Medicare, many MA plans are still falling short on ensuring that patients receive similar care.

AzHHA provided suggested improvements to further strengthen MA rules including:

  • Conduct rigorous monitoring and enforcement of the rules which began on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, including plan-level data collection and reporting, regular auditing of compliance, development of formal pathways for stakeholders to report suspected violations and penalties for non-compliance.
  • Ensure patient cases that received authorization at the time of the service or admission are not retroactively denied.
  • Codify that MA plans are required to adhere to the two-midnight benchmark.
  • Shorten the prior authorization turnaround time standards for plan responses to 72 hours for standard, non-urgent services and 24 hours for urgent services.
  • Implement more oversight and conduct regular audits of prior authorization determinations for post-acute care (PAC) and ensure network adequacy of PAC providers.

🚨Deadline extended: Cohort three Arizona Transition to Practice Program applications


The application deadline for the third Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses cohort beginning in September 2024 has been extended to Sunday, June 30, 2024.

Apply now

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: Arizona abortion law

AzHHA members are invited to join us for a webinar titled “Arizona Abortion Law: Status Report and a Look at Tough Provider Issues.”

  • The webinar will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

Why it matters: On Tuesday, April 9, 2024, the Arizona Supreme Court issued its opinion on Planned Parenthood of Arizona v. Mayes, declaring that Arizona’s near total abortion ban, whose criminal penalties originated during the Civil War, is the law of the state.

  • The webinar will address the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayes’ litigation, the status of the territorial abortion ban, the details of Arizona’s 15-week abortion laws, how EMTALA interacts with the territorial abortion ban and the 15-week ban, recent litigation regarding the FDA’s approval of mifepristone and the upcoming ballot initiative that would make abortion legal through viability.

For more information, please email [email protected].


ADHS: Extreme heat safety

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) offers helpful information for heat safety on a dedicated page on its website.

You’ll find links to:

  • AZ Cooling Centers.
  • Heat-Related Illness Dashboard.
  • Heat-related illness prevention, symptoms and treatment.
  • Safety messages for: Older adults, outdoor workers and schools.

As the weather heats up, use this page to access and share important resources.



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.




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