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Connection Newsletter - Lawmakers push to hear bills before crossover week comes to an end

The House and Senate each heard over 200 bills in caucus this week and spent significant hours on the floor moving bills through the legislative process.

Legislative update

We’ve almost made it through “crossover week,” where the legislature holds very few Committee hearings and attempts to move as many bills as possible through the full chamber. The Senate Health Committee completed its agenda from last week in a rare Monday morning hearing. They advanced a problematic bill, SB1078, which attempts to prevent employers from disclosing employee health information. As drafted, the measure would put hospitals in conflict with reporting requirements from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The House and Senate Appropriations Committees also held their last hearings to consider bills from their chambers of origin.

At this point, any measures that have not received a hearing in committee in their chamber of origin can’t move forward unless the chamber suspends their own rules. It is important to remember that no idea or bill is truly “dead” until sine die, as it can always be revived if the rules are waived. The House and Senate each heard over 200 bills in caucus this week and spent significant hours on the floor moving bills through the legislative process. The House Committee of the Whole will be considering AzHHA’s top priority on workforce development funding today. Stay tuned for exciting updates on this bill as we continue to move it through the process.

Senate passes act authorizing grants for behavioral health services for front-line healthcare workers

The Senate passed and sent to President Biden, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, H.R. 1667. This legislation would authorize grants for programs that offer behavioral health services for front-line healthcare workers. Named after a doctor who led the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, the bill also would require the Department of Health and Human Services to recommend strategies to facilitate healthcare provider well-being and launch a campaign encouraging healthcare workers to seek assistance when needed. The House passed the bill last December and the president is expected to sign it into law.

Legislation to fund federal government through March 11 is signed into law

President Biden signed a continuing resolution Friday that prevented a government shutdown and funds federal programs through March 11. The House and Senate have arrived at an agreement on overall funding levels for fiscal year 2022. Work is underway on details of the omnibus funding bill that Congress intends to pass by the March 11 deadline.

National emergency declaration is extended

The national federal emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic was extended by President Biden February 18. Originally declared on March 13, 2020, the emergency declaration will continue past March 2022 with no end date according to the published Presidential document.

CMS to hold stakeholder call - Request for comments on Medicaid, CHIP access

A stakeholder meeting will be held by CMS on March 1 seeking feedback on barriers to accessing healthcare coverage and services through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask high-level questions about the request for information and the online form. To register, click here.

Last call, February sale on job postings –

Human Resources Leaders, are you seeking a new avenue to get in touch with jobseekers? Reach a targeted audience and secure high-quality candidates by posting on AZ Health Jobs, AzHHA’s job board dedicated to the state’s healthcare workforce. AzHHA members can take advantage of a February sale with significant discounts off already low member pricing. Save 25% on unlimited packages and 10% on 30-Day local postings! To purchase a package or receive more information, email AzHHA’s Vice President of Member Solutions at Laura Dickscheid.

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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