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Connection Newsletter: Executive Order issued to capture COVID-19 data

A new enhanced surveillance advisory requires hospitals to capture COVID-19 related data. 

Executive Order issued to capture COVID-19 data
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Friday issued an Enhanced Surveillance Advisory (ESA) under his executive order authority. The advisory gives the Arizona Department of Health Services authority to continue to collect specific COVID-19 related data from hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories and vaccine administrators. The department’s authority to collect this data had expired with the expiration of the previous ESA. The ESA is adding new reporting requirements relating to ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and requires hospitals to continue to implement surge staffing plans and prohibits state and local governments from mandating COVID-19 vaccines.

OSHA emergency temporary standard update
The Industrial Commission of Arizona last week held a hearing to discuss whether to adopt the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s healthcare emergency temporary standard (ETS) under the commission’s emergency standards authority or to proceed with a regular rulemaking, which could be done on an expedited basis. AzHHA presented testimony at the hearing, as did representatives from National Nurses United. After much discussion, the commission decided to proceed with a more standard rulemaking, which will allow for public feedback on the standards. AzHHA members will receive a more detailed Advisory in the coming days.

The Arizona Division of Safety and Health (ADOSH) held a webinar concerning the ETS. While ADOSH will not begin enforcement until the corresponding Arizona rules have been promulgated, ADOSH encouraged employers to begin compliance with the ETS. Additionally, ADOSH noted that many CDC guidelines have been incorporated into the ETS by reference and will be equally enforceable as the rest of the ETS.

Merck and Ridgeback submit EUA for oral COVID-19 treatment
Biopharmaceutical company Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics submitted their application for emergency use authorization (EUA) Monday of its investigational oral antiviral COVID-19 drug. Molnupiravir, the oral medication, is meant for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in at-risk adults. According to Merck’s announcement, an interim analysis of its ongoing phase 3 clinical trial yielded positive results for non-hospitalized adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who were at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. The data showed that molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%.

Pfizer requests COVID-19 vaccine EUA for children 5-11
Pfizer and BioNTech formally requested the Food and Drug Administration to amend its COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization to allow vaccinations of children between the ages of 5 and 11. According to an American Hospital Association publication, the Food and Drug Administration plans to discuss the request on October 26 when the agency will convene its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. If approved, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet to discuss specifics regarding the vaccine’s administration among the newly approved age group.

New CPT code for pediatric COVID-19 vaccine doses
In preparation for the possible approval of the EUA for the administration of the Pfizer vaccine among children ages 5-11, the American Medical Association updated its current procedural terminology (CPT) code set to include vaccine and administration codes for pediatric doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer. The codes will only be effective if the EUA is approved.

Wondering how to get a replacement vaccination card?
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has an Immunization Record Request Form posted to help individuals searching for their vaccination records.

AHCCCS launches new opioid services locator
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) announced Wednesday a new web-based opioid services locator. The agency says the tool will “help Arizonans who are looking for services to treat Opioid Use Disorder and where to find Naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.” Find the locator at

Member news

Medicare Open Enrollment - Affiliated Partner Well Advised can help
Advocacy for patient access to healthcare insurance coverage and health equity is something that we all share as we continuously put people and patients first in all we do. AzHHA Affiliated Partner, Well Advised, is a consumer resource that assists Medicare beneficiaries with selecting the plan that provides the best possible coverage for the individual. Directly serving the Medicare patient, Well Advised supports hospitals by assuring optimal clinical coverage that is best matched to the patient’s financial abilities, which in turn reduces uncompensated care.

With Annual Open Enrollment beginning October 15, AzHHA is proud to endorse Well Advised and the free services it can provide to your Medicare patients to pave the way for ideal clinical and financial coverage. 

AzHHA’s Affiliated Partners Program (APP) brings vetted and endorsed vendors offering solutions to members to address their most pressing business needs. For more information about APP, contact Laura Dickscheid, AzHHA’s vice president of member solutions and program services.

New TMC CEO and TMC HealthCare President and CEO
The Tucson Medical Center HealthCare Board of Trustees announced Tuesday Judy Rich, R.N., current president and chief executive officer, has taken on the expanded role as system president and chief executive officer. In addition, the board tapped Mimi Coomler, R.N., to serve as chief executive officer of Tucson Medical Center. Read more about TMC’s announcement here.

Upcoming Events

October 21-22 - CCS Exam Preparation Part 2: CPT Overview and CPT Review by Body System
AzHHA is excited to partner with the New Jersey Hospital Association to bring Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) Exam Preparation courses to Arizona coding specialists. These sessions provide an ICD-10 overview and review by body system, as well as a current procedural terminology (CPT) overview and review by body system. The cost is $150 per person per program part. To learn more about the exam preparation course download the program flyer. Questions can be addressed to Chris Russo.

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.

In the News

Coronavirus cases in Arizona, mapped by county: Oct. 12

Nearly 18% of new COVID-19 infections in Arizona last month were 'breakthrough' cases
Arizona Republic

People who received a J. & J. vaccine may be better off with a Moderna or Pfizer booster, a study finds.
New York Times

HHS Study Finds COVID-19 Vaccine Linked to Saving Lives for Older Americans
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services