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Connection Newsletter - Find out which bills AzHHA is watching this legislative session

Members who wish to learn more about the bills are encouraged to attend our weekly legislative update calls held on Fridays.

Find out which bills AzHHA is watching this legislative session

With more than 1,600 bills introduced, lawmakers are hard at work attempting to pass legislation at the state capitol. AzHHA is currently tracking over 200 bills which can potentially impact hospitals. A list of key bills can be found on our website by visiting Members who wish to learn more about the bills are encouraged to attend our weekly legislative update calls held on Fridays.

HHS Announces PRF reporting portal registration

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced it will be amending the reporting timeline for the Provider Relief Fund Program (PRF) due to the passage of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. HHS has been working to provide updated reporting requirements that comply with the legislation. Consequently, PRF recipients will now be required to submit their reporting requirements on their use of these funds later than previously announced. However, relief fund recipients may begin registering for gateway access to the Reporting Portal where information will be submitted in compliance with the new reporting requirements HHS is issuing.

Republican Senators outline COVID-19 relief proposal; Democrats file budget resolution on President’s $1.9 trillion plan

Ten Republican senators have released highlights from their $618 billion COVID-19 relief proposal, which includes $35 billion for the Provider Relief Fund, with 20% set aside for rural hospitals; $20 billion for vaccine efforts and $50 billion for testing, among other provisions. 

The American Rescue Plan, revealed by President Biden on January 14, amounts to roughly $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief and includes a number of provisions that would affect hospitals and health systems. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have filed a joint budget resolution for fiscal year 2021 giving Congress an additional legislative tool to potentially pass President Biden’s plan through a process called budget reconciliation. If both the House and the Senate pass identical budget resolutions, both chambers can begin work on the reconciliation bill. Under reconciliation, a simple majority in the Senate is needed to approve the legislation compared to the 60 votes that are needed to pass most legislation.

President Biden provides details on COVID-19 strategies for vaccination

President Biden on Tuesday announced details on several initiatives designed to combat COVID-19. The Biden administration is expanding the supply of vaccines by increasing the number of weekly allocated doses to 10.5 million. This minimum supply level will be maintained for the next three weeks, after which the administration hopes to increase the number of available doses.   
Meanwhile, the administration is kicking off Phase 1 of its federal retail pharmacy program for vaccinating local communities against COVID-19. At the onset, the public-private partnership will enlist 21 national pharmacy partners as vaccination sites, as well as networks of independent pharmacies.

In the announcement, President Biden also directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, to fully reimburse states for the use of National Guard personnel and other emergency costs. The estimated reimbursement is expected to total $3 billion to $5 billion, which is separate from the $350 billion Biden requested from Congress in currently discussed relief legislation.

CDC updates recommendations on who should not receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccines

In a recent publication the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated recommendations on who should not receive the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Among the groups of individuals who should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine are those who have had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of the vaccine or those who are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate. If an individual has had an immediate non-severe allergic reaction after the first dose it is recommended by the CDC to forego the second dose unless it has been determined by an allergist-immunologist that it is safe for the patient to receive the second dose. To view all of the updated recommendations, click here.

V-safe after vaccination health checker

V-safe is a smartphone-based tool developed by the CDC that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after a person receives a COVID-19 vaccine. With this tool, vaccine recipients can quickly tell the CDC if they have any side effects after getting the COVID-19. Depending on the responses, the CDC may follow up by phone to get more information. The CDC asks healthcare providers to give patients the v-safe information form at the time of vaccination encouraging patients to enroll and fill out the surveys when prompted to do so.

Attend one of our upcoming Introduction to POLST workshops. Register at no cost

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. Click a date below to register for a workshop.

ArMA’s peer support program for Arizona physicians

The Arizona Medical Association (ArMA) in partnership with Corporate Counseling Associates Inc. has launched its program Virtual Doctors’ Lounge providing physicians the chance to talk with their peers about stressors they are encountering. The Virtual Doctors’ Lounge will allow physicians to share concerns with someone who understands the daily strain of being a physician. This program is free, confidential and available to any physician in Arizona.


Upcoming Events

February 10 & 11 - Cybersecurity tabletop exercise – free virtual presentation

AzCHER has joined the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to present a tabletop exercise on February 10 and 11, 2021 that is completely free to AzCHER members and partners. The target audience for this event includes information technology staff, emergency management staff, public information officers and healthcare executives. There is no limit to the number of participants who can attend from the same organization. To register for the February 10 exercise, click here. Or to register for the February 11 exercise, click here. The same exercise will be offered on Feb 10 and 11. Attendees should register for their preferred date.

February 10 - Advance Care Planning: Train the Trainer

This workshop prepares community representatives and volunteers to facilitate the 1 or 2-hour community Advance Care Planning workshop. Participants will learn the basic steps needed for effective advance care planning, Arizona regulations governing advance care planning, facilitation strategies and community/state/national resources. Click here to register.

February 11 - 5 key innovations driving outcomes during pandemics

In this webinar, Adventist Health White Memorial shares strategies and technologies leveraged to maintain and improve quality metrics and staffing wellness, while addressing the challenges it faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to register.

In the News

Expert: COVID-19 cases may have leveled off after deadly winter surge
Cronkite News

Thousands of new COVID-19 vaccine appointment slots in AZ booked in less than an hour
Fox 10

UPDATED Coronavirus tracker: FEMA to deliver $1.7B to localities for vaccine distribution
Fierce Healthcare