The Supreme Court found the trial court was correct to disqualify certain signatures and upheld the trial court’s decision to disqualify the initiative.
Legislative update – Day 95
As we approach 100 days of session, it appears highly unlikely legislators will be able to adjourn Sine Die before the 100th day. Encouraging reports of progress on budget negotiations have recently emerged, as many believe a final agreement is weeks away.
While a budget agreement is in the works, the legislature has been working hard on passing legislation. To date, approximately 300 bills are still progressing through the legislative process while 220 have been signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey including many of AzHHA’s legislative priorities.
Visit azhha.org/azhha_priority_and_key_legislation to see which bills have been signed into law and other bill status updates.
Mask mandates legislation signed into law
House Bill (HB) 2770, mask mandates; business exception, was signed into law by Governor Ducey late in the day on Friday, April 9, 2021. The one-sentence bill language states, “notwithstanding any other law, a business in this state is not required to enforce on its premises a mask mandate that is established by this state, a city, town or county or any other jurisdiction of this state.” With the Governor’s signature, the bill will become law 90-days after the end of legislative session.
CMS releases IRF and IPF proposed rules
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) proposed rule on April 8 in which CMS proposes to increase IRF payments by 1.8% ($160 million) in fiscal year 2022. CMS also released the Inpatient Psychiatric Facility (IPF) proposed rule in which CMS proposes to increase IPF payments by 2.3% ($90 million) in fiscal year 2022. See the American Hospital Association’s summaries for more information.
Arizona Supreme Court releases full opinion on striking down ballot initiative
The Supreme Court of Arizona has issued its full opinion in Leach v. Hobbs, the case regarding the validity of the “Stop Surprise Billing and Protect Patients Act” ballot initiative. The opinion, issued March 31, explains the Supreme Court’s decision order issued over the summer disqualifying the initiative from appearing on the November 2020 ballot. Specifically, the Supreme Court found the trial court was correct to disqualify certain signatures and upheld the trial court’s decision to disqualify the initiative.
In the opinion, the Supreme Court did not consider the issue of whether the 100-word summary was improper. However, in a concurring opinion, Justice Clint Bolick addressed the issue stating he would have affirmed the trial court’s finding that multiple parts of the 100-word summary were misleading to signers. Justice Bolick also took the opportunity to discuss the important role initiatives play in Arizona’s system of government and discussed various ways in which the petitioners could have fixed the 100-word summary to resolve the confusion.
State, local public health support pause of single-dose vaccine
Shortly after the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Tuesday to pause the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, state and local public health officials weighed in on the decision. In a news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services, the public health agency says it agreed with the CDC and FDA recommendation to pause in the use of the vaccine based on six reported U.S. cases, out of 6.8 million doses administered nationally, of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Officials in Maricopa, Pima, Navajo, Mohave and Cochise counties also said they will suspend administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pending more investigation.
President Biden signs Medicare sequester relief legislation
President Joe Biden signed into law, H.R.1868, the Medicare sequester relief bill Wednesday a day after the House of Representatives passed the bill with a vote of 384-38. The bill that among other healthcare provisions, will eliminate the 2% across-the-board cut to all Medicare payments, known as sequestration, until the end of 2021. To pay for the change, the bill will increase the fiscal year 2030 sequester cuts. The Senate passed the bill last month.
COVID-19 vaccination site updates
Beginning April 19, NAU’s University Union Fieldhouse will become an indoor, state COVID-19 vaccination site. The indoor vaccination site will operate seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the potential to expand hours to 7 p.m. ADHS says the site will offer around 1,000 appointments per day to start but will be able to administer more than 4,000 doses daily.
Earlier this week, the Phoenix Municipal Stadium site transferred indoors to the Desert Financial Arena in Tempe. Individuals who received their first dose at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium will automatically be assigned to Desert Financial Arena for their next dose.
Arizonans interested in scheduling an appointment may do so by visiting podvaccine.azdhs.gov. ADHS's COVID-19 Vaccine Navigation Help Desk offers additional registration support and bilingual assistance. The help desk may be reached by calling at 1-844-542-8201. AHCCCS members who need assistance scheduling an appointment, as well as transportation to and from that appointment, may also call the COVID-19 Vaccine Navigation Help Desk from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Working together: Forging the future of serious illness care
In collaboration with partners from California and Hawaii, AzHHA will 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 and connect with colleagues and friends in breakouts and group discussions. Registration is now open here.
Tomorrow is National Healthcare Decisions Day
National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) held April 16 each year, was created to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. Having these thought-provoking conversations—and then documenting them for healthcare providers to access in real-time—ensures your wishes are honored in almost every possible medical situation.
[email protected] - Care transitions for COVID-19 patients
The [email protected] Care Transitions Program is providing COVID-19 discharged to patients ages 18-59, in Maricopa County, with a disability or age 60+ with comprehensive care transitioning services. [email protected] will focus, for a period of at least 30 days and up to 90 days based on need, on providing timely access to in-home social support, psychosocial support services and health care coordination services based on need.
Eligibility is limited to individuals age 60 or older and those age 18-59 with disabilities who are discharged with a COVID-19 diagnosis from a hospital or skilled nursing facility (except Division of Developmental Disabilities and Arizona Long Term Care System members). Individuals with COVID-19 struggling to manage symptoms at home but have not been admitted to a hospital may also be referred.
Health plan staff and case managers may refer eligible patients by calling 602-883-3527 or sending an encrypted email to [email protected]. Discharged clients may also self-refer. For additional program information, contact VP of Program Development, Christine Liberato at 602- 280-1050.
May 24 - Developing a Telemedicine Program
This course is ideal for individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding their services. It is also a great course for those new to telehealth who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the growing industry. The course fee is waived for Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Nevada residents. Register here.
July 14 - 2021 coding clinic: Quarter 1 updates
AzHHA Affiliated Partner, NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions, is offering member health information managers and coding specialists a series of coding webinars, 2021 Coding Clinic Updates - Everything You Really Need to Know held quarterly. The webinar series provides a concise overview of the current issue of Coding Clinic and allows participants an opportunity for discussion and Q&A. The second quarter session is scheduled July 14. Register here.