Skip navigation

Connection Newsletter - HHS updates COVID-19 guidance for hospital reporting

Hospitals will no longer need to report influenza data, inventory and usage data for bamlanivimab administered alone as part of daily data reporting related to COVID-19, effective June 10.

Legislative update

Today marks day 144 of legislative session and hopes for a timely sine die have all but evaporated. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed their respective budget bills last week on party-line votes but neither the House nor Senate were able to secure the necessary 31 and 16 votes, respectively, to pass the budget. Both chambers have adjourned to June 10; however, they may return earlier if they can reach an agreement.

The impasse came as a result of moderate Republicans being concerned with the significant tax cuts and conservative Republicans opposing increased spending. No Democrats expressed support of the budget proposal. Legislators have until June 30 to pass a state budget.

The draft budget includes a $1.9 billion annual tax cut to be implemented over three years - more than $339 million for road construction and $112 million for universities. Health-related components of the draft budget, although subject to change, include:

  • $6 million for graduate medical education funding continued from fiscal year 2021 – this is supposed to increase to $9M in fiscal year 2023;

  • $2 million for medical student loan repayment;

  • $500,000 to implement expanded newborn screening;

  • $300,000 to reduce radiation control fees paid by hospitals and others using radiation-emitting devices and
  • $300,000 for additional high-risk perinatal visits.

Although not included in the current budget, it is possible federal funds will be used for broadband grants as seen in a previous version of the draft budget.

View bill status updates by visiting

HHS updates COVID-19 guidance for hospital reporting

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Tuesday that hospitals will no longer need to report influenza data, inventory and usage data for bamlanivimab administered alone as part of daily data reporting related to COVID-19, effective June 10. As of this date, reporting for these fields will become optional. The Food and Drug Administration last month revoked its emergency use authorization for bamlanivimab when administered alone, which prompted the HHS to make the fields optional. The influenza data fields may become mandatory again after October 1, when acute respiratory illnesses are likely to increase.

HHS states these are the only substantive reporting changes in the new guidance, but additional changes may be released next month. The Arizona Department of Health Services is expected to make changes to EMResource to align with the HHS changes.

White House releases FY 2022 budget request

President Joe Biden on May 28 submitted to Congress his non-binding budget request for fiscal year 2022. The budget primarily includes proposals from the president’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan it also includes healthcare policy proposals such as a public option, lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 and reducing the costs of prescription drugs. More information can be found in the American Hospital Association’s Special Bulletin. Detailed information about health-related policy proposals can be found in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Budget in Brief document.

President Biden announces National Month of Action to mobilize COVID-19 vaccination efforts

President Biden announced Wednesday a National Month of Action to mobilize the nation to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The White House’s goal is to get 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least one shot by July 4. The National Month of Action will include free childcare for individuals getting vaccinated and extended hours at pharmacies across the country in June to offer more flexible appointment availability. During the Month of Action, the Administration will continue working with employers to make it even easier to set up workplace vaccination clinics and call on more businesses to encourage and incentivize vaccinations. To view the full news release, click here.

Cognitive impairment - CMS increases payment for cognitive patient assessment

Providers with patients who show signs of cognitive impairment during a routine visit, Medicare may cover a separate visit to thoroughly assess the patient’s cognitive function and develop a care plan. Effective January 1, 2021, Medicare increased payment for cognitive assessment services to $282 (may be geographically adjusted) when provided in an office setting, added these services to the definition of primary care services in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and permanently covered these services via telehealth. More details about cognitive assessment and care plan services may be found here.

Moderna files for full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna submitted a Biologics License Application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Monday seeking full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for people age 18+. Thus far, 124 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Moderna’s request for a priority review of its Biologics License Application includes data submitted on a rolling basis collected from its ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial. Pfizer submitted its Biologics License Application for full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine on May 7.

Types of masks for unvaccinated individuals

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. The CDC recently announced fully vaccinated people may resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations. When appropriate or necessary, wearing the right type of mask will help protect those around you. The CDC has created a webpage listing the types of masks you can use to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading COVID-19. Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated should wear a facemask and continue to physically distance. Find a COVID-19 vaccination location by visiting the Arizona Department of Health Services’ website.

AzHHA releases DataGen reports

In relationship with DataGen, AzHHA issues reports to hospitals based on information submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This data can help hospitals understand the financial impact of proposed changes and annual updates. The reports can also assist in preparing budgets or benchmarking results with other similar organizations. DataGen generates hospital-specific reports which are sent to AzHHA hospital members as part of their membership. Below is the list of reports recently sent to members.

  • Federal fiscal year 2022 wage index and occupational mix analysis - sent 5/6/2021

  • Federal fiscal year 2022 inpatient prospective payment system proposed rule analysis - sent 5/19/2021

  • Federal fiscal year 2022 Medicare long-term care hospital proposed rule - sent 5/20/2021

  • Outpatient prospective payment system observation and emergency department utilization analysis - sent 5/25/2021

  • First-quarter 2021 quality measure trends analysis - sent 6/1/2021

Community health workers rulemaking – Comments due June 6

ADHS released draft rules on May 19 for community health workers and is seeking comments by June 6. The draft rules include requirements for the scope of practice and core competencies necessary for certification; minimum qualifications; standards for continuing education courses; trainer qualifications; standards for education and training programs; initial and renewal applications and enforcement. Comments may be submitted through the ADHS online survey until June 6. If you would like to address a particular section of the draft rules, be sure to provide the exact section.

Improving health equity in your community? The Arizona Health Equity Conference wants you to share your work.

The Arizona Health Equity Conference (AzHEC) is accepting breakout session proposals for the 2021 conference Building Pathways for Successful, Resilient, Healthy & Equitable Communities. AzHEC is a great platform to showcase how your hospital or organization is advancing solutions to create healthy and equitable communities. This year’s conference will be held both virtually and in-person with limited seating on October 14, 2021. To learn more about the conference visit or submit a breakout session proposal click here. Submissions are due June 30.

Upcoming Events

June 15 and 16 – 47th Annual Arizona Rural Health Conference

University of Arizona’s Center for Rural Health will be hosting its 47th Annual Rural Health Conference June 15 – 16 both in-person and virtually. Arizona's rural, tribal and Southwestern communities and stakeholders will share best practice models, discuss funding opportunities on the horizon, strategies for building partnerships and how to build and sustain the rural economy and healthcare workforce. Register here.

June 22 and 23 - Working together: Forging the future of serious illness care

In collaboration with partners from California and Hawaii, AzHHA will hold a virtual summit, Working Together: Forging the Future of Serious Illness Care, on June 22 and 23. Attendees will hear from inspiring speakers, get the latest information on the state of serious illness care from thought leaders and connect with colleagues and friends in breakouts and group discussions. Register here.

July 14 - 2021 Coding Clinic: Quarter 1 Updates

AzHHA Affiliated Partner, NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions, is offering member health information managers and coding specialists a series of coding webinars, 2021 Coding Clinic Updates - Everything You Really Need to Know held quarterlyThe webinar series provides a concise overview of the current issue of Coding Clinic and allows participants an opportunity for discussion and Q&A. The second quarter session is scheduled July 14. Register here.

July 19 – Arizona Telemedicine Program: Telemedicine Applications

The Telemedicine Applications workshop offers a more detailed approach for telemedicine programs, providing a more in-depth look at the clinical applications of such programs. Individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding services are encouraged to attend.  Speakers will cover advanced telemedicine topics through an in-depth look at real-world clinical applications of telemedicine and telehealth, including telepsychiatry, infectious Disease, teleradiology, telehealth physical therapy and telehealth nursing. Register here.

In the News

China confirms world's first human case of H10N3 bird flu but says it's highly unlikely to spread widely among people
CBS News

Don’t let misinformation about fertility and COVID-19 vaccines stop teens from getting the shot

Mixing and matching COVID-19 shots in fully vaccinated people is subject of new study
The Wall Street Journal