AHCCCS has increased the payment rates for COVID-19 vaccine administration for dates of service on and after August 9, 2021.
COVID-19 vaccine fee-for-service administration rate increase
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has increased the payment rates for COVID-19 vaccine administration for dates of service on and after August 9, 2021, to $83 for the administration of a single dose vaccine and $83 per dose for COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. For dates of service between March 15, 2021 and August 8, 2021, AHCCCS adopted the Medicare payment rates as follows:
The AHCCCS fee-for-service rate for COVID-19 vaccine administration is $40 to administer single-dose vaccines.
For a COVID-19 vaccine requiring a series of two doses, the initial dose administration payment rate is $40 and the second dose administration payment rate is $40.
CDC COCA call TODAY - Therapeutic options to prevent severe COVID-19 in immunocompromised people
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be hosting a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Call today, August 12 at 2 p.m. ET addressing therapeutic options to prevent severe covid-19 in immunocompromised people. During the call, presenters will discuss the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) role in issuing emergency use authorization for certain monoclonal antibodies, options for compassionate use, the process for ordering and distributing monoclonal antibodies and current data on using monoclonal antibodies for both non-hospitalized and immunocompromised patients. To join the call, click here.
COVID-19 update from Dr. Joe Gerald
As of August 1, new cases were being diagnosed at a rate of 195 cases per 100,000 residents per week making this the eighth consecutive week with increasing rates according to Dr. Joe Gerald’s Weekly Arizona COVID-19 Data Report. The rate is increasing at a concerning 51 cases per 100,000 residents per week. Another wave of cases and hospitalizations, caused by the increasing prevalence of the Delta variant is now certain as the Delta variant accounts for >75% of all cases. The state is experiencing about 50 deaths per week. Dr. Gerald’s report suggests this amount will increase in the coming weeks and will almost certainly exceed 100 per week by the end of August. To read the full report, click here.
Vaccination continues to be the best way to slow the transmission of the virus and prevent individuals from getting seriously if COVID-19 is contracted. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated may find a vaccination site at AZDHS.gov/FindVaccine.
CPT code for a potential third dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
The American Medical Association published July 30 a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code for providers administering a potential third dose of the current Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The provisional CPT code was announced in advance to facilitate updating U.S. healthcare electronic systems and would be effective for use on medical claims if the FDA approves or authorizes a third dose of the vaccine.
National pediatric readiness assessment
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), Bureau of EMS & Trauma System's EMS for Children program is inviting Arizona hospitals to participate in the National Pediatric Readiness Project (NPRP) 2021 Assessment, an initiative to help ensure that emergency departments (EDs) across the U.S. are equipped to care for children.
The assessment should take about 20-30 minutes to complete and is geared towards ED Nurse Managers and/or Medical Directors. Responses will help the department to understand how they can help emergency departments across the state to become pediatric ready. Once a hospital submits its response, it will receive immediate feedback in the form of a gap report with details about its pediatric readiness. Responses will be kept confidential and will be combined with the results of other participating emergency departments for reporting purposes. The assessment is now open and will remain open until August 31, 2021.
To access the assessment, visit pedsready.org. Only one representative per hospital may complete the assessment.
Ground ambulance rules - Survey closes August 22
AHDS continues to work on revisions to the ground ambulance rules, with the expectation of releasing a new draft later this month. The most recent draft may be found on the ADHS website. While the Department has resolved many issues with stakeholders, there is still no consensus over issues relating to response and arrival time variances. To assist in addressing these concerns, ADHS has developed a survey that will be accessible until August 22.
Bipartisan infrastructure bill passes Senate
The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill on August 10 with a 69-30 vote sending to the House a package containing provisions that align with hospitals’ and health systems’ priorities. The $1 trillion bill includes funding for broadband internet deployment, equity and affordability, investments to improve federal coordination and assistance with response and recovery from significant cybersecurity incidents. It also does not rescind Provider Relief Funds as offsets but does extend the Medicare sequester through Fiscal Year 2031.
Senate adopts $3.5 trillion budget resolution
The Senate approved Wednesday a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which included reconciliation instructions providing the majority party with the means to pass a comprehensive reconciliation package with 51 votes in the Senate. The House will reconvene August 23 to consider the budget resolution.
Among the Democrats’ planned expenditures are subsidized child care, expanded Medicare benefits, and paid family and medical leave benefits. With respect to healthcare, the resolution’s assumptions include action on:
a continuation of expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies;
filling the “Medicaid coverage gap”;
addressing healthcare provider shortages through action on Graduate Medical Education;
an expansion of Medicare to cover hearing, dental and vision benefits and lowering the eligibility age;
home healthcare benefits for seniors and persons with disabilities;
addressing inequities in health care;
reducing prescription drug costs and certain workforce investments, including the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education.
August 17 – Silent Retreat (virtual): Mindfully Navigating the Post-Pandemic Landscape
Experience the joy of honoring who you are, where you have been and where you want to go post-pandemic based on your personal experiences, strengths and your desire to live every day on purpose. Give yourself the gift of silence and reflection through this virtual retreat led by the Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience at Arizona State University and the Pruitt Center for Mindfulness & Well-Being at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Register here.
August 26 - 2021 Arizona Public Health Conference
Get the latest updates from county health officials about their post-pandemic workforce needs and hear from the state and regional Area Health Education Centers as they develop plans to meet Arizona’s post-pandemic public health and healthcare system needs. Register here.
October 7, November 11 and December 2 - Introduction to POLST
Interested in learning how to use the Arizona POLST form with your patients? 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. To register for a workshop, click on a date below.