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Connection Newsletter - Arizona expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

Expanded eligibility is only available within state-operated vaccination sites in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma counties.

Legislative update - Day 74 of session

Today marks day 74 of the state legislative session. The legislature is rapidly approaching its second major deadline, committees have until Friday to hear all bills. Those not heard by Friday will be dead although bills are not effectively dead until sine die. To date, nearly 700 bills are still progressing through the legislative process while 89 have been signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey.

Key legislators have indicated budget work should begin in earnest next week. One prominent item on the governor and conservative legislator’s budget wish list is a $500 million to $1 billion tax cut. However, the American Rescue Plan Act recently passed by Congress may make it difficult to include a tax cut in the final state budget. The American Rescue Plan Act prohibits states from using any of the federal funding to reduce taxes directly or indirectly. Irrespective of the new federal law, many conservative legislators plan to proceed with the tax cuts.

Bill update

SB1096: APPROPRIATION; AHCCCS; CHIP - signed into law by Governor Ducey on March 18.

Visit to view all bill status updates.

Deadline for participation in HIE incentive payments is April 1

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) proposed health information exchange (HIE) differential adjusted payment (DAP) increases for hospitals and other providers in its DAP CYE 2022 Preliminary Public Notice applicable to dates of service beginning October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022. To be eligible to receive these payment increases, ranging from 2.5% to 10%, a facility must submit a letter of intent to both AHCCCS and Health Current by April 1, 2021. Templates of the letter of intent are available on the Health Current website. Questions may be emailed to Christy Dye, chief business development officer at Health Current, at [email protected].

More information about the HIE DAP as well as other 2022 DAP deadlines and milestones can be found in this 2022 DAP Summary. AzHHA members may email Liz Lorenz, director of policy, with any questions at [email protected].

HHS updates hospital COVID-19 data reporting guidance

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated its guidance on March 19 to hospitals on the reporting of COVID-19-related data. The updates reflect the new COVID-19 therapeutic and the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine which received emergency use authorization since HHS last updated its reporting guidance. HHS also converted one of the personal protective equipment (PPE) data fields from mandatory to optional reporting.

The guidance document also includes many new frequently asked questions addressing several aspects of the vaccination reporting process, including how HHS is using the reported data and how facilities should count personnel who work across multiple sites. The reporting of the vaccination data fields remains optional.

Arizona expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) this week opened COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to all Arizonans age 16 and older beginning March 24. Expanded eligibility is only available within state-operated vaccination sites in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma counties. Arizonans interested in registering for an appointment may do so by visiting podvaccine.azdhs.govADHS offers a bilingual COVID-19 Vaccine Navigation Help Desk at 1-844-542-8201 for those needing extra assistance with registration and answers to questions.

ADHS launches COVID-19 vaccine PSA

New public service announcements (PSA) were released Tuesday by ADHS to encourage Arizonans to get their COVID-19 vaccine. The PSAs are available in English featuring Governor Doug Ducey and ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ and David Adame, president and CEO of Chicano Por La Causa in the Spanish version. The messages are being distributed on television, radio, and social media. Additional communication resources about the vaccine are available on the ADHS website.

CMS extends special enrollment period

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services extended Tuesday the special enrollment period until August 15 the federally facilitated marketplace in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The American Rescue Plan Act made more people eligible for marketplace subsidies and increased the amount of the subsidies, including allowing those making between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level and those receiving unemployment compensation in 2021 to pay no premium for certain Marketplace plans. Individuals looking to enroll in a plan or make changes may do so on the website.


Upcoming Events

April 16 – Introduction to POLST workshop

The one-hour Introduction to POLST workshop equips healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using POLST, a portable medical order, in Arizona. The objectives 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 and learn the process of submitting healthcare planning documents to the Arizona Healthcare Directive Registry. Register here.

April 15 & 16 – AzCHER virtual conference

AzCHER’s premiere conference will occur on April 15 and 16, 2021. The two-day event (9 a.m. - 12 p.m. each day) features a packed agenda with keynote speakers addressing the recent Estes Park, Colorado wildfire and the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. Eight breakout sessions will also be offered. Visit the AzCHER website to register and view the full agenda.

Save the date: June 22 & 23 - Working Together: Forging the Future of Serious Illness Care

In collaboration with partners from California and Hawaii, AzHHA is working to hold a virtual summit, Working Together: Forging the Future of Serious Illness Care, on June 22 and 23. Attendees will hear from inspiring speakers, get the latest information on the state of serious illness care from thought leaders, connect with colleagues and friends in breakouts and group discussions and have the opportunity to rejuvenate the mind and spirit with a variety of activities. Registration is coming soon.

In the News

AstraZeneca commits to more vaccine data after concerns from NIH

COVID-19 cases in Arizona drop 58% from February numbers
AZ Big Media

Ransomware attack exposes 27,000+ Arizona health plan members' data for 2.5 weeks
Becker’s Health IT