The workforce bill passed in June; read our update on the progress of implementation of the funding and associated programs.
Implementation of workforce legislation
Following the passage of the healthcare workforce bill, HB2691, AzHHA has been working diligently with stakeholders and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to implement the funding allocated to grow and sustain our nursing workforce. As a reminder, the measure is subject to the general effective date, September 24, so there are still a few weeks before the legislation technically goes into effect. There are several ‘buckets’ of money in the legislation, and AzHHA has been focused on implementing $25 million in clinical rotation dollars. This money was given to AHCCCS to disseminate. AHCCCS is working with the Board of Nursing for implementation since the board has the expertise and a statewide focus on the education and training of nurses. We have emphasized that it is critical to begin pushing money out the door as quickly as possible once program design and outcome metrics are established. We anticipate at least some of the funding will become available before the end of the calendar year. AzHHA will keep you up to date on implementation and the application process once it is available.
You may always contact AzHHA Director of Government Relations Meghan McCabe with questions or ask for additional details about this or other legislative matters.
AzHHA letter to CMS shares input related to Medicare Advantage
AzHHA submitted comments this week to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service on the agency’s Request for Information seeking input on ways to strengthen the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. In its comment letter, AzHHA outlined several areas of concern that members have expressed regarding MA plan practices and policies and urged CMS to require MA plans to align medical necessity and coverage criteria with Traditional Medicare rules to ensure Medicare patients have equal access to care regardless of their coverage type. Such alignment will also reduce unnecessary delays and administrative burdens associated with inappropriate or excessive use of prior authorization.
CSPMP Task Force
The State Board of Pharmacy’s Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program (CSPMP) Task Force met this week to discuss a number of issues relating to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, including legislative changes, program integration with electronic health records and prescriber compliance with CSPMP requirements. Board staff highlighted S.B. 1469, which will require law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant to access information from the CSPMP. Also of note, the Pharmacy Board and professional licensing boards have been collaborating to better educate prescribers on CSPMP obligations to improve prescriber compliance. As a result of this collaboration, unregistered prescribers decreased by nearly 37% between November 2021 and June 2022.
Register now to meet Friday’s Early Bird deadline – AzHHA annual conference
The AzHHA 2022 Annual Leadership Conference is October 19-21, 2022, at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson. The Early Bird registration deadline ends this Friday. Take advantage of our Buy Five – Get One Free for teams when you register by September 2. We also offer Early Bird member ($550) and non-member ($850) rates.
This year’s conference theme is centered on Leadership and Resiliency as we bring healthcare leaders together for a stronger Arizona. Conference attendees will hear from a dynamic lineup of speakers and network with fellow healthcare executives, trustees, thought leaders and community partners from across the state. View our 2 ½ day agenda, including breakout session tracks with best practices in health equity, hospital finance and our workforce resiliency, and learn more about our local and national speakers here.
CDC issues health advisory on variant influenza virus infections
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory related to variant influenza virus infections recently reported in three states: West Virginia (3), Oregon (1), and Ohio (1). The agency reports these cases of human infection with influenza viruses are usually spread only in pigs. Read more on this advisory including CDC’s recommendations for identification, treatment and prevention of variant influenza virus infection.
No Surprises Act Final Regulations Issued
The final regulations address how arbiters in the Federal Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process must consider various factors when making a payment determination; information that must be included in IDR entities’ written decisions; and information that payers must disclose about the “qualifying payment amount” (QPA) when they have down-coded a claim.
According to the Administration, these changes are being made in large part to conform with the February and July 2022 rulings by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. These rulings vacated portions of the interim final regulations, including those that directed IDR entities to begin with the presumption that the offer closest to the payer’s QPA was the appropriate out-of-network payment amount. These provisions also are the subject of ongoing litigation brought by the AHA and the American Medical Association in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
In addition to the final rule, the Administration issued additional resources late last week, and more this week.
AzCHER Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans now available
With the help of regional planning workgroups, AzCHER annually updates two major plans: the Emergency Preparedness Plan and the Emergency Response Plan. The Coalition met its overall goal to have representation from each core member type (hospital/healthcare, public health, emergency management, and EMS) and aligned AzCHER plans with member plans. View each plan to learn more about risks your facility is facing, a gap analysis and updates on a medical surge plan.
AZCOVIDTXT-RH - a texting service for rural Arizona’s resilience
AZCOVIDTXT-RH is a bilingual texting system designed to distribute timely and verified information to rural healthcare workers. With the idea of increasing the resilience and success of health systems in our rural communities across Arizona, this service will provide rural healthcare workers with relevant and useful information to support their communities in the fight against COVID-19 and other critical health challenges faced by rural Arizonans. To use, text JOIN to 833-937-2974.
The AZCOVIDTXT-RH team is comprised of staff, faculty, and students across multiple colleges at the University of Arizona, including the College of Public Health, the College of Medicine-Tucson, the Department of Communications, the Department of Linguistics, and more. AZCOVIDTXT-RH is supported by the Arizona Center for Rural Health, as a component of the AHEAD AZ grant.
P2P: Innovating the Road A.H.E.A.D.
Arizona’s Provider-to-Provider (P2P) Warmline is an educational resource for rural providers regarding COVID-19. The P2P warmline is a novel platform, which allows providers to contact specialists and get information about the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on COVID vaccines, treatment of acute infections, and the latest on Long-COVID care. Within 24 hours, specialists will respond to queries with up-to-date guidance and educational information. Here is a flyer to post and share with your providers.
Notice of Funding Opportunity Regional Ebola and Other Special Pathogen Treatment Centers
The New Regional Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Center (RESPTC) Cooperative Agreement Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is posted on Grants.gov. The purpose of this NOFO is to sustain and improve health care system preparedness for emerging special pathogens through implementation of the National Special Pathogen System of Care Strategy (NSPS of Care Strategy) and to expand the regional hospital network serving as part of the NSPS. As regional hubs for special pathogen readiness, RESPTCs are a resource for patient care and clinical operations among the region’s health care organizations. Applications are due September 22, 2022, at 5 p.m. ET.
September 14-16 - Arizona HFMA 2022 Fall Conference
The Arizona Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) will be holding its 2022 fall conference in Scottsdale, Arizona September 14-16, 2022. Learn more about the conference on their website.
September 15-16 - Mayo Clinic Solid Organ Transplant 2022 CNE Conference
This live and livestream conference from the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale will provide an overview of new and advancing solid organ transplant clinical practices. Sessions will focus on living donor updates, pre-transplant treatments, ethics, patient education, and patient stories. Mayo Clinic Arizona is approved by the ABTC to offer 12.75 Category 1 CEPTCs for this conference. (Please note that COVID Guidelines for in-person attendance applies – see website for requirements.) Target Audience: This CNE conference is designed for nurses and healthcare professionals caring for solid organ transplant patients. Register here.
September 22 – AIM Collaborative Conference
Join us for the 2022 AIM Collaborative Conference on September 22, 2022, at Creighton University School of Medicine-Phoenix campus. This year’s conference theme, Push for Change, will focus on the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM)’s maternal hypertension bundle. Attendees will learn about the newest evidence and strategies for timely treatment of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and integration of health equity into patient care. Register by September 8, 2022, to secure your seat.
October 19-21 – 2022 Annual Leadership Conference
Register now for AzHHA’s premiere event - the 2022 Annual Leadership Conference October 19-21, 2022, at the majestic Lowes Ventana Canyon in Tucson. The AzHHA Annual Leadership Conference brings together hundreds of healthcare CEOs, leaders, legislators and community partners from across the state for two and a half days of education, recognition and networking. Register here.
October 26 – 28, 2022 - National Pediatric Disaster Conference – California Earthquake Response
This two-day Significant Event Readiness Forum (or SERF) will provide an environment for exploring opportunities along the disaster response continuum. SERFs are not exercises. However, objectives and evolving scenarios foster needed discourse. This year’s conference will be virtual. Click here to learn more about the event and watch for registration to open soon.
IN THE NEWS
Copper Queen Community Hospital planning expansion, a boon for southern Arizona rural health care
Q&A: AzHHA President & CEO Ann-Marie Alameddin says workforce and financial stability are biggest issues in Arizona hospitals right now
State of Reform
Mike Sheldon named CEO of Arizona State Hospital, ADHS deputy director