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Connection Newsletter - AHCCCS releases hospital profitability report

While the report highlights higher statewide profitability in 2020 compared to 2019, there is great variability among hospitals.

AHCCCS hospital profitability report

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) on Friday released its annual Report on Uncompensated Hospital Costs and Hospital Profitability. While the report highlights higher statewide profitability in 2020 compared to 2019, there is great variability among hospitals, with approximately 25% of hospitals having a negative operating margin. AzHHA President and CEO Ann-Marie Alameddin spoke to media outlets this week noting the report is a snapshot in time; we will need to look at each year through 2022 and beyond to see the true financial impact of COVID-19 on hospital operations.

Listen to Ann-Marie on KJZZ and read her interview with the Arizona Republic:

Arizona hospitals saw big profits in 2020, but officials say it's only a partial picture - KJZZ

Profits were up at Arizona hospitals in 2020, new analysis shows – Arizona Republic (subscription required)

2021 AzHHA legislative report – download your digital copy today

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is proud to present its 2021 Legislative Report. This report is an important snapshot of our collective work at the state capitol during this year’s state legislative session. Although COVID-19 was a key focus throughout the session, AzHHA accomplished many of its key objectives which are featured in our report.

CMS grants one-year extension of 1115 waiver authority

AHCCCS announced October 1 that CMS extended its 1115 Waiver Demonstration authority for one year, through September 30, 2022. Programs such as the target investment program were also granted to continue for a sixth year. If approved, in part or in full, the next five-year 1115 waiver will run from October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2027.

HRSA portal for additional COVID-19 relief funds is now open

The Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation portal is open for healthcare providers to apply for a portion of $25.5 billion in COVID-19 relief funds. Applications will be accepted until October 26. Health Resources & Services Administration will host a webinar session October 13 at 3 p.m. EDT for Phase 4 and American Rescue Plan Rural applicants, featuring guidance on how to navigate the application portal. To register for the webinar, click here.

HHS issues workplace guidance on HIPAA and COVID-19 vaccination disclosure

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released workplace guidance September 30 on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) applicability to disclosures and requests for information about whether a person has received a COVID-19 vaccine. According to HHS, the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies only to covered entities such as health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, healthcare providers that conduct standard electronic transactions and, to some extent, their business associates. It does not apply to employers or employment records. 

The guidance outlines how the HIPAA privacy rule would or would not apply in different circumstances. For example, the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not prohibit a covered entity or business associate from requiring or requesting each workforce member to provide documentation of their COVID-19 or flu vaccination to their current or prospective employer. On the other hand, the guidance explains that other federal or state laws may address whether an employer may require a workforce member to obtain any vaccinations as a condition of employment and provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination.

Webinar - Managing critically ill COVID-19 patients

Telligen, a hospital quality improvement contractor with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is offering a webinar on Friday, October 8 at 1 p.m. discussing the management of critically ill COVID-19 patients in small, rural and critical access hospitals. Attendees will learn about strategies for improving the delivery of care as well as be provided with up-to-date approaches to care for vulnerable patients. To register for the webinar, click here.


Upcoming Events

October 8-9 – Teaching Health Center - Is it the right fit for your organization?

Community health centers, critical access hospitals, rural health clinics and Indian Health Service tribal health center staff involved in primary care students and resident training and education are encouraged to attend the Teaching Health Center hybrid conference October 8-9, 2021. There is no cost to attend. However, registration is required. There is a limit of 60 in-person attendees. Click here to learn more and register.

October 12-13 – ACHIEVE 2021, 14th Annual Health Current Summit & Trade Show

Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., National Coordinator for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), will kick off the 14th Annual Health Current Summit & Trade Show on October 12. This year's Summit is a hybrid event, so we look forward to coming together either in-person or online. Join us on October 12-13 – either in-person or virtually. Click here to learn more and register.

October 14 – 2021 Arizona Health Equity Conference

AzHHA is a proud sponsor of the statewide movement to promote resiliency and health equity, the 2021 Arizona Health Equity Conference. This conference is a great opportunity to understand current health equity research, outreach and policies taking place in Arizona and to connect with partners who are working in the field of health equity or interested in reducing health disparities. To view the conference program, click here.

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