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Connection Newsletter - HHS updates distribution process for Monoclonal Antibodies

"Transitioning to a state/territory coordinated distribution system will give health departments maximum flexibility to get these critical drugs where they are needed most," said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS updates distribution process for Monoclonal Antibodies

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday it has updated the distribution process for Monoclonal Antibodies (mAb). As of Monday, HHS transitioned from the direct ordering process to a state/territory-coordinated distribution system, similar to that used from November 2020 – February 2021. HHS says, "Transitioning to a state/territory coordinated distribution system will give health departments maximum flexibility to get these critical drugs where they are needed most." The federal government will determine the weekly amount of mAb products each state and territory receive based on COVID-19 case burden and mAb utilization. The agency will continue to monitor product utilization rates, COVID-19 case burden and overall availability of mAbs to determine when a shift back to the normal direct ordering process may be possible.

In the meantime,

  • administration sites no longer order directly from AmerisourceBergen;

  • weekly distribution amounts for each state/territory will be determined by HHS based on weekly reports of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in addition to data on inventories and use submitted in HHSProtect and 

  • state/territorial health departments will determine where the product goes in their jurisdictions.

WEBINAR - COVID Emergency Temporary Standard

The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) is hosting a webinar on October 5 at 8:30 a.m. to discuss the federal COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration this summer. Under Arizona’s state plan, ADOSH is the state agency charged with developing and enforcing state standards that align with the federal standards. To register, click here.

UPDATE: Prior authorization and concurrent review standards during the public health emergency

Standards for managed care and fee-for-service providers regarding prior authorization and concurrent review during the public health emergency were updated by the Arizona Health Care Cost and Containment System (AHCCCS) according to an announcement from the agency on Monday. The September 8 guidance for managed care organizations (MCOs), and August 20 guidance for fee-for-service providers are available on the AHCCCS website’s  AHCCCS COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page under Clinical Delivery question 1. 

Fee-for-service questions may be directed to [email protected]

UPDATE: Provider Relief Fund

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) last week announced it will release Phase 4 distribution of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). Healthcare providers may apply for funds on September 29. At the same time, the HHS released detailed information about the methodology used to calculate Phase 3 payments. Providers who believe their Phase 3 payment was not calculated correctly according to this methodology may request reconsideration. Information on the reconsideration process is forthcoming. Previously, HRSA released a fact sheet outlining the various personnel-related costs that may be covered by PRF dollars. Specifically, it states PRF “payments can be used for a wide variety of direct and indirect costs of recruiting and retaining personnel during the pandemic.”

Finally, as a reminder, the deadline for PRF reporting is fast approaching. Providers who received PRF payments from April 10, 2020, through June 30, 2020, have until September 30, 2021, to submit the required information to HRSA. Hospitals and other healthcare providers that received PRF money after June 30, 2020, will need to report on the use of the funds at later dates as outlined in HRSA’s June 11 update on PRF requirements. Visit the HRSA website for the latest updates on the PRF. 

UPDATE: Infection prevention and control guidance for healthcare settings

Guidance on COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) for healthcare settings was updated on September 10 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The updates are meant to further clarify, consolidate and simplify existing healthcare IPC guidance. Setting-specific guidance documents such as those for dental offices, assisted living communities, EMS and dialysis clinics have been streamlined and combined into the main IPC guidance for healthcare settings. Vaccination, testing, use of source control by healthcare personnel, patients and visitors, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) by healthcare personnel caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections continue to be emphasized.

The IPC guidance for healthcare settings may be found in the following web pages:

WEBINAR: Certified coding specialist exam preparation

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is excited to partner with the New Jersey Hospital Association to bring Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) Exam Preparation courses to Arizona coding specialists.

Four sessions will be offered in two parts and will provide an ICD-10 overview and review by body system, as well as a current procedural terminology (CPT) overview and review by body system. Offerings will occur October 14 and 15 (Part I) and October 21 and 22 (Part II). 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 at [email protected]

Upcoming Events

September 23-24 - AZ HFMA 2021 Virtual Fall Conference – Get Back in the Game

The AZ HFMA Fall Conference brings together payers and providers from both Arizona and the Southwest Region as a whole. With three breakout tracks (finance, value-based care, and revenue cycle), an executive panel and keynotes on AHCCCS and innovation in healthcare. To learn more about the virtual conference click 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, 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.

October 14 – 2021 Arizona Health Equity Conference

AzHHA is a proud sponsor of the statewide movement to promote resiliency and health equity, the 2021 Arizona Health Equity Conference. This conference is a great opportunity to understand current health equity research, outreach and policies taking place in Arizona and to connect with partners who are working in the field of health equity or interested in reducing health disparities. To view the conference program, click here. Both virtual and limited in-person registration options are available.


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