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Connection Newsletter - August 27, 2020

CMS releases regulation making COVID-19 data reporting a Medicare condition of participation for hospitals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Tuesday issued an unexpected interim final rule that, among other provisions, makes collecting and reporting COVID-19 data a condition of participation (CoP) for hospitals that participate in Medicare. By making this data reporting a CoP, the penalty for a hospital’s noncompliance potentially may mean termination from the Medicare program if appropriate corrective action is not taken. Read

ADHS benchmarks update

At the time of publication, we await the weekly update to the ADHS dashboard that tells us if our Arizona counties meet the metrics needed to resume business operations and the allowed occupancy. Entities wishing to resume operations are required to submit an attestation to ADHS stating they are in compliance with COVID-19 guidance related to business operations. Our COVID-19 data has been improving in the state and, as a result, we expect to see more and more businesses resuming operations. AzHHA encourages everyone to keep up the great work we’ve been doing together to slow the spread of COVID-19. Continue to follow public health guidance by washing your hands, avoiding those who are sick, wearing a mask and continuing to distance from large groups.

AzHHA’s 2020 legislative report, a document worth reading

As we adjust to the new the school year and the end of an unprecedented summer, it is important we highlight and celebrate our collective successes from the 2020 legislative session. The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is proud to present you with AzHHA’s 2020 Legislative Report. This report is an important snapshot of the work we did at the state capitol during this state legislative session. Although COVID-19 response efforts took priority for most of this year, AzHHA accomplished many of its key objectives which are featured in our 2020 Legislative Report. Download the report to learn more about our accomplishments this session.

RNconnect 2 Wellbeing – Resources for nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response

In caring for others, healthcare professionals need to take care of their own well-being too. A new statewide initiative, RNconnect 2 Wellbeing, is a free resource from the Arizona Nurses Association for nurses. This initiative is aimed at connecting nurses to resources such as counseling, easy self-care activities, and opportunities to connect with other nurses facing the same challenges. Nurses who text RNconnect to 31996 will receive twice-weekly text messages with links to free evidence-based support and resources for them to de-stress and strengthen their mind and body. To learn more, visit

Coding clinic updates for health information management professionals

AzHHA’s affiliated partner, NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions is offering AzHHA members access to its 2020 Coding Clinic Updates: Everything you really need to know on October 14 at 1 p.m. EST. As part of its partnership with AzHHA, NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions offers members exclusive webinars for health information management professionals throughout the year. Click here to sign up for the 2020 Coding Clinic Updates webinar or click here to view all upcoming events from NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions.

AzHHA releases DataGen reports

In relationship with DataGen, AzHHA issues reports to hospitals based on information submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This data can help hospital 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 reports hospital-specific reports are sent to AzHHA hospital members as part of their membership. Click here to view the list of reports recently sent to members. 


AzPHA report: All-cause mortality during Arizona’s COVID-19 pandemic

The Arizona Public Health Association has released a report which examines the magnitude of the increase in all-cause deaths in Arizona during the SARS CoV2 pandemic. Data from the population health and vital statistics reported to the Arizona Department of Health Services was collected from 2011 to 2020 and calculated for total mortality rates per 100,000 populations. A profound increase in all-cause mortality in Arizona in the first half of 2020 when compared to previous years. July had the largest percent change with a 58% increase in July 2020 when compared to 2019. From 2011-2019, all-cause mortality death data were consistent from year to year with increased total mortality from December through March. All-cause mortality increased significantly in 2020, with an increase in deaths beginning in April 2020 and overwhelming increases in June and July. To read the full report, click here.

Upcoming Events

September 16-17 - Healthcare 2021: What now? What next?

Join AZ HFMA in its 2020 fall conference where speakers will provide real-time updates and case studies - providing answers, guidance and a plan forward for local hospitals, physician groups, health plans and partners.

September 17, 10 a.m. – Introduction to POLST webinar

The one-hour introduction to POLST workshop equips healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using POLST 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.

October 1 – Second Annual Arizona Telemedicine Policy Symposium

Join the Arizona Telemedicine Program in its Second Annual Arizona Telemedicine Policy Symposium. This event will focus on reporting to Arizona telehealth stakeholders about the current policy landscape of telemedicine in the state.

In Other News

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Hospital operating margins down 96% since start of 2020

Officials change virus testing advice, bewildering experts
Associated Press