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Connection Newsletter - August 6, 2020

Primary Election Upsets, Impact on Healthcare Policy Unclear

More than 1.2 million voters cast ballots in the Arizona Primary Election on Tuesday. While the results are not yet final, it appears two incumbent Republican State Senators have been defeated and partisan control of one or both legislative chambers may be up for the taking. It is unclear what impact these results will have on implications for health policy. Read

FDA issues guidance on extending ‘in-use time’ for shortage drugs

Healthcare facilities or providers facing inadequate supplies of certain drugs needed to treat patients with COVID-19 should not use the products more than four hours beyond the labeled “in-use time” for refrigerated storage or two hours beyond the labeled “in-use time” for room temperature storage, according to the Food and Drug Administration announcement this week. The guidance applies to 10 specific drug products. Read

HHS and DoD partner with Johnson & Johnson to produce COVID-19 investigational vaccine doses

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense announced an agreement with Johnson & Johnson, to demonstrate large-scale manufacturing and delivery of the company's COVID-19 vaccine candidate for use in clinical trials, or to vaccinate Americans if authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. This partnership builds toward the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed goal to begin delivering millions of doses of safe and effective vaccines by the end of the year.

340B Drug Pricing Program Recertification

The 340B Program (Health Resources and Services Administration) HRSA Recertification period for Hospitals will be August 17-September 14, 2020. There will be a recertification webinar held by the HRSA Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) on August 12 from 1 -2 p.m. EST. Read

AzHHA’s Affiliated Partners Program welcomes Medical Air Services Association as its newest member

The AzHHA Affiliated Partners Program is pleased to announce Medical Air Services Association (MASA) as its newest member. This new partnership provides all eligible AzHHA members with the opportunity to enroll in a MASA Medical Transport Solutions (MTS) membership plan. MASA MTS offers a membership providing coverage for all three emergency transportation methods (ground, helicopter, and fixed-wing air ambulances) regardless of ambulance provider. There are no deductibles, no claim forms, no health questions and best of all, all providers are considered "in-network.” Read

Care transitions for COVID-19 patients

Through the new Healing@Home Care Transitions Program, the Area Agency on Aging is providing COVID-19 discharged patients with comprehensive care when transitioning to their home environment.

Healing@Home will focus, for a period of 30 days from discharge date, on providing COVID-19 discharged patients with timely access to in-home social support services and psychosocial support services that are of greatest need including:

  • Home-delivered meals
  • Telephone reassurance calls
  • Assistance with prescription pick-up or delivery
  • Arrangement of follow up visits with primary care providers
  • Reinforcement of discharge plan instructions

Eligibility is limited to individuals age 60 or older and those age 18-59 with disabilities who are discharged following a COVID-19 diagnosis. Read

Arizona LTC Task Force Formed as CMS Gives Raise to Nursing Homes & Hospices Plus Data on Impact of COVID on Medicare Members

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Nursing homes, hospices, and inpatient psych facilities are getting some long overdue attention and can expect to see pay bumps come Oct. 1, slightly less than previously proposed by CMS. 

The final rule finalizes a 2.2% increase in overall payments to skilled nursing facilities in fiscal 2021. CMS says this means payments will increase by $750 million in 2021 compared to 2020, according to Inside Health Policy. Read

Upcoming Events

August 12, 10 a.m. - Introduction to POLST virtual workshop

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.

September 14-16 - Health Care Leaders Confront the Future: A Virtual Conference on COVID-19 from Recovery to Rebuilding

Join the American Hospital Association for a virtual event brought to you by the AHA Center for Health Innovation and the Society for Health Care Strategy and Market Development that will convene the field’s leading thinkers, strategists and doers who are looking to share, learn, innovate and strategize for the new era of care delivery post-COVID-19.

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