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Connection Newsletter - Healthcare workforce bill passes House Appropriations Committee

The need to address the healthcare workforce shortage was heard in House Appropriations Committee leading to its passage.

Healthcare workforce bill passes House Appropriations Committee

The House Health Committee advanced nearly a dozen bills Monday. HB2635 the healthcare worker assault bill, a repeat measure for the last three years, passed the House Committee unanimously. A mirror bill in the Senate has yet to be considered due to the Senate Health Committee’s, particularly lengthy agenda. The Senate Committee will reconvene in a special meeting on Monday, February 21 to finish hearing bills on the agenda.

The House Appropriations Committee heard AzHHA priority bill HB2691 Wednesday, the same day Healthcare Workforce Day was recognized at the Capitol. AzHHA along with other healthcare partner organizations participated in the event. Representatives from member hospitals Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital East Valley, Yuma Regional Medical Center, Northern Cochise Community Hospital and Tucson Medical Center joined AzHHA at the Capitol to advocate for this important bill through meetings with state legislators and giving testimony. The need for the state to step in and help address the workforce shortage was made abundantly clear. HB2691 was approved in the Appropriations Committee by a vote of 10 yes, 2 no and 1 present. Next, the bill will be considered on the House floor. Before that happens, there is additional work to be done.

This week was the last week to consider bills in committee in their chamber of origin, other than Appropriations which gets an additional week. At this stage, will begin to see many bills moving to the floor to cross over to the opposite chamber. Once crossover happens, the week of March 25 will be the last week for House committees to consider Senate bills and vice versa.

EMTALA Manual - 2022 Edition

The updated Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) 2022 manual is now available to Arizona hospitals to provide practical education and recommendations to improve EMTALA compliance. AzHHA commissioned Coppersmith Brockelman’s Health Care Practice Group to update the manual and we are pleased to share the 2022 edition to assist hospitals with nuanced protocol including COVID-19 testing in the emergency department and interfacility patient transfers. As the federal penalties for violating EMTALA are severe, including civil monetary penalties, exclusion from the Medicare program, and potential exclusion from other federal healthcare programs, hospitals must continue to comply with their EMTALA obligations.
AzHHA offers the 2022 EMTALA Manual to those signing its License Agreement. Click here to sign the agreement and download your copy.

AHCCCS posts revised CYE 2023 differential adjusted payments preliminary public notice

AHCCCS posted a revised Differential Adjusted Payment (DAP) Contract Year Ending 2023 (October 1, 2022-September 30, 2023) preliminary public notice on February 10. The revision separates the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Closed-Loop Referral Platform whereby hospitals must participate and utilize a SDOH closed-loop referral platform into a separate category and adds additional information and requirements for all hospital types, excluding Indian Health Service (HIS)/Tribal 638 facilities. It expands on what is needed to enter into a Care Coordination Agreement between a non-IHS/Tribal 638 facility and IHS/Tribal 638 facility. It also adds an explanation for what is required for Home and Community Based Services Providers. Feedback on the proposed DAP measurements may be emailed to AzHHA’s Director of Policy and Reimbursement,  Amy Upston, at [email protected] by February 23

Upcoming DAP deadlines

AzHHA would like to remind members of the upcoming DAP deadlines for hospitals that receive AHCCCS payments: 

  • Care Coordination Agreement (CCA) DAP - By March 15, hospitals interested in receiving the CCA DAP must submit a letter of intent (LOI) to enter into a CCA with an IHS/Tribal 638 facility to [email protected] and [email protected]. A signed CCA must be submitted to the same two email addresses by April 30. IHS/Tribal 638 facilities must enter into a CCA with a non-IHS/Tribal 638 facility and submit an LOI and CCA by the same dates. 
  • Health Information Exchange DAP - By April 1 hospitals and other eligible healthcare providers must submit a Health Information Exchange LOI to Health Current at [email protected]. LOI templates may be found on the Health Current website
  • Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) DAP - By April 1, hospitals, except IHS/Tribal 638 facilities, wishing to receive the SDOH DAP must complete an SDOH registration form and SDOH addendum found on the Health Current website and submit it to [email protected].

More information on the DAP program can be found on AHCCCS’ website

Health Current hosts differential adjusted payments webinars

Health Current will be hosting a series of webinars regarding the Differential Adjusted Payments (DAP) related to the Health Information Exchange (HIE). The webinars will cover the HIE components of the DAP program, HIE milestones, social determinants of health (SDOH) milestones and HIE data quality metrics. Webinars for hospitals are on March 7 and March 14. Registration is available on the Health Current website. Participation in the HIE and SDOH DAP programs can increase AHCCCS payments by as much as 2.5% for most hospitals (10% for critical access hospitals).

AzCHER Annual Conference – Collaboration, Coordination and Cooperation

Have you reserved your seat at our upcoming annual conference March 24, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Phoenix? The one-day conference theme is Collaboration, Coordination, and Cooperation. Our agenda features a range of topics including partner integration, healthcare workforce, supply chain integrity, resiliency and more. Attendees will hear from and directly interact with speakers from real-world events such as Colorado’s New Year wildfire. For more information and to register, visit our conference webpage here.

New study shows COVID-19 booster efficacy

A study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), February 11, showed the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 87% effective at preventing emergency and urgent care visits and 95% effective at preventing hospitalizations in adults who received a third dose in the prior two months. Another study found that adverse reactions were less frequent after a third dose than a second dose when they received the same vaccine for all doses.

Maternal COVID-19 vaccination has also shown to be effective according to a CDC study released February 15. The study found that infants under six months old whose mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy were 61% less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

CDC is accepting comments on opioid prescribing guidelines

The CDC’s updated draft of clinical practice guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain is now posted for public comment in the Federal Register through April 11, 2022. Through the public comment process, the agency is looking to understand the experience of patients, caregivers, providers and others who care about safe, effective and informed pain care.

Upcoming Events

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, Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, 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.

March 12 - Psychiatry for Non-Psychiatrists Conference

In response to the alarming rise in mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, and suicide – and the need for mental health providers – the University of Arizona College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry created a conference to train primary care physicians to more confidently care for their patients with these conditions. Learn more and register here.

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