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Connection newsletter 7-27-23

Check out information about two health threats, and deadline extensions for the Transition to Practice Program RFP and the AzHHA Quality Awards.

National public health threat: Fentanyl combined with xylazine

Last week, the White House released a National Response Plan to address the emerging threat of fentanyl combined with xylazine (animal tranquilizer). Xylazine has been detected in nearly every state in the country. In a new report released last month, the monthly percentage of illegally manufactured fentanyl-involved deaths with xylazine detected increased 276% (from 2.9% to 10.9%) between January 2019 and June 2022.

Though xylazine impedes the effects of naloxone, naloxone is still the recommended overdose intervention.

Read the FDA alert for healthcare professionals.

Health threat: Fungal meningitis outbreak

New information: A highly resistant strain of Fusarium solani was isolated from one patient’s tissue culture specimen. Fosmanogepix, which is an experimental antifungal drug in phase II clinical trials, is recommended in addition to liposomal amphotericin B (Ambisome®) and voriconazole.

Background: Public health officials are responding to a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis among patients who received procedures under epidural anesthesia at River Side Surgical Center or Clinica K-3 in Matamoros, Mexico from Sunday, Jan. 1 to Saturday, May 13, 2023.

What providers should do if they have patients presenting for care: Contact your local health department.

Where to get the latest details and guidance: Visit the CDC website.

🚨 Deadline extended to Wednesday, Aug. 2 – 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: Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Deadline extended – AzHHA Quality Awards

 Notice: Due to high demand, behavioral health and long-term care hospitals are now eligible to apply for these awards. Therefore, the application deadline has been extended to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023.

AzHHA’s inaugural Quality Awards celebrates and recognizes Arizona’s leaders committed to advancing healthcare with exceptional quality performance, community engagement and a culture of continuous improvement.

Applicants must be able to highlight a recent project in:

  • Patient Safety
  • Community Engagement
  • Emergency Management

Winners will be selected from three classifications:  

  • Top critical access hospital/small rural hospital (≤ 100 beds)
  • Top general acute care (101+ beds)
  • Top federal hospital (VA, IHS)

Please note: Behavioral health and long-term care hospitals will be evaluated in one of the above classifications based on their size.  

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Submissions are due Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Apply today! Read the application instructions.

AzHHA releases DataGen report

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. The below report was recently sent to members:

  • Medicare Hospital FFY 2025 Preliminary Wage Index and Occupational Mix Data Analysis (sent 7/24/2023)

Contract labor market rate analysis

AzHHA’s affiliated partner and endorsed vendor, Adaptive Workforce Solutions, has just released its second quarter Contract Labor Market Rate Analysis Report for healthcare. The free report highlights labor union activity, staffing legislation and average bill rates at both the national and regional levels.

For more information about AzHHA’s partnership with Adaptive Workforce Solutions, which is truly a vendor-neutral managed service provider (MSP), please contact Laura Dickscheid, vice president of member services at [email protected].

AzCHER 2023 Annual Report

The Arizona Coalition for Healthcare Emergency Response (AzCHER) is proud to share the 2023 Annual Report for FY 2023 (Friday, July 1, 2022 to Friday, June 30, 2023).

What you’ll find in the report: A summary of activities and accomplishments related to AzCHER’s mission to unify Arizona’s healthcare and public health systems for continual development and improvement of relationships, plans and actions that meet the needs of the whole community before, during and after emergencies.

A special shout-out: Thank you to the AzCHER members and community partners for another successful year.

FDA and Pfizer assessing supply impact of storm damage to sterile injectables plant

What happened: Last week, a tornado damaged a Pfizer plant in North Carolina that makes sterile injectables for U.S. hospitals.

What Pfizer is saying: More than 30 drugs could experience supply chain disruptions due to the tornado that damaged Pfizer’s plant. Last Friday, in a letter sent to its hospital customers, Pfizer said it identified about 65 formulations for those drugs that could experience “continued or new supply disruptions in the near-term.” Read more.

The latest: The FDA is continuing to work with Pfizer to complete a more extensive assessment on the potential impacts to supply.

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

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for the 2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference, Oct. 25-27 at the beautiful Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson. 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.

AHCCCS launches chatbot to help members update their contact information  

What’s new: Last week, AHCCCS launched Sam, a chatbot, as an additional tool to help members update their contact information in less than three minutes, on average. The chatbot can be found on the Medicaid eligibility website.  

Why this is important: During most of the public health emergency, AHCCCS members were not required to go through the renewal process, and many members’ contact information may have changed during that time. AHCCCS has been trying to get the word out about the importance of individuals updating their contact information so that they do not lose coverage if they still qualify.

Help spread the word about the renewal process: Use the messaging toolkits AHCCCS has developed to build awareness of the regular renewal process.


Thursday, Aug. 31 - 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 of the workshops 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.
  • Learn the process of submitting healthcare planning documents to the Arizona Healthcare Directive Registry.

Register now.

Friday, Sept. 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]. 

Friday, Oct. 13 – Arizona Burn Symposium 
The Arizona Burn Symposium is an opportunity for medical professionals to gather, learn and connect with experts in the field of burn care. The symposium features engaging speakers, informative panel discussions and interactive workshops that provide the latest advancements in burn care. Register today.


Primary care providers say field is ‘crumbling’ (

Cigna Sued Over Algorithm Allegedly Used To Deny Coverage To Hundreds Of Thousands Of Patients (

Prior authorization denials could limit access in Medicaid managed care, OIG reports (

Staying safe in Arizona’s heat – ADHS Director’s Blog (

This year will not bring ‘full rebound’ for nonprofit hospitals (