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Connection newsletter – Legislation update & bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters available

Learn about the state of hospital finances, 2022 legislation general effective date, AzHHA comments on the proposed OPPS Medicare rule and more in this week’s Connection newsletter!

General Effective Date for 2022 Legislation is THIS WEEK!

This Saturday, Sept. 24 is the general effective date for the 2022 legislative session. The general effective date is the day when all legislation (without an emergency clause) technically becomes law of the land. The date is always 90 days from adjournment sine die of the legislature, which is amazing considering there are just over 100 days until the 2023 legislature convenes. If you need a refresher on what happened this legislative session and what new laws on hospitals, patients and healthcare go into effect on Saturday, download your copy of AzHHA’s 2022 Legislative Report.

Current state of hospital finances

Last week KaufmanHall, which tracks data from more than 900 hospitals, released “The Current State of Hospital Finances: Fall 2022 Update” which discusses the current hospital and hospital system financial landscape and projects what will happen for the remainder of 2022. Key findings include:

  • Over half of hospitals are expected to have negative operating margins in 2022
  • Labor expenses in 2022 are expected to increase by more than $57 billion over 2021
  • Costs associated with contractual labor are up nearly 500% from pre-pandemic levels

All expense categories are expected to remain at 20-25% above pre-pandemic levels.

FDA - Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters available

Keep your protection up to date by getting an updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccine booster. The updated vaccine boosters are authorized to help provide better protection against COVID-19. Search in your zip code for a COVID-19 vaccine booster near you and visit COVID-19 Bivalent Vaccine Boosters | FDA for more information.

COVID-19 vaccines can help protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. As the virus changes and your immunity naturally decreases over time, you may lose some of that protection. The updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccine boosters are designed to give you broad protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

AzHHA submits comments to CMS on proposed OPPS Medicare rule

Last week AzHHA submitted comments on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment Systems (OPPS) Proposed Rule. AzHHA’s letter expressed concern for the woefully inadequate rate update of 3.1% in light of the unprecedented inflationary environment. AzHHA asks the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to take action to increase the market basket in the final rule and review the specific productivity gains that are the basis for a 0.4 productivity offset. 

CDC guidance to prevent Monkeypox infection in healthcare personnel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance focused on Monkeypox infection prevention and control for healthcare workers. In a report released Sept. 16, the CDC states there are more than 61,000 reported cases of infection worldwide. View the agency’s Healthcare Professionals website for the latest clinical guidance, infection control and answers to clinician frequently asked questions here.

Coming in Platinum is… Envision Physicians Services

AzHHA is proud to announce Envision Physician Services as a Platinum sponsor for the 2022 Annual Leadership Conference taking place Oct. 19-21, 2022, at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson. Envision Physician Services is committed to transforming healthcare by being the leader in innovating, integrating and optimizing the continuum of care. By leveraging focused expertise, proven workflows and the latest best practices, Envision Physician Services boosts facility performance while improving clinician satisfaction and patient experience. Practice areas include anesthesiology, emergency care, hospital medicine, radiology, surgical services and women’s and children’s care. Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor!

Register now for AzHHA’s premier event bringing together healthcare executives, trustees, thought leaders, legislators and community partners from across the state for two and a half days of education and networking. Find details on the conference agenda here. Book your room by TOMORROW Friday, Sept. 23 to take advantage of our group rate discount!

CMS Request for Information Public Comment to Promote Efficiency, Reduce Burden, & Advance Equity within CMS Programs

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released Sept. 15 a request for information (RFI) seeking public input on accessing health care and related challenges, understanding provider experiences, advancing health equity and assessing the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

CMS is encouraging comments from, patients and their families, providers, clinicians, consumer advocates, and health care professional associations. CMS will close commenting on Nov. 4, 2022.  

Save the date - 2023 AzCHER Annual Conference

Join us for our third AzCHER Annual Conference at the Arizona Broadway Theatre, Thursday, March 23, 2023. Our theme “Safety, Security and Situational Awareness” promises a great opportunity to learn, network and collaborate. More information regarding the conference and registration will be available soon. 

September is Sepsis Awareness Month

Sepsis continues to be a leading cause of mortality in hospitals, affecting millions worldwide. Early identification and treatment are critical to improving patient outcomes. The Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International Guidelines for Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock 2021 published updated recommendations to enhance your organization’s sepsis program in November 2021. The Surviving Sepsis Campaign also shared new infographics for hospital staff with recommendations for antibiotic timing and vasoactive agent management. The Sepsis Alliance has shared an inquisitive infographic for patients and staff detailing different potential sources of infection.


September 27, 2022 – Introduction to POLST

This one-hour virtual workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at 10 a.m., equips healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using POLST (Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment paradigm) 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. Register for the virtual workshop here.

October 19-21, 2022 – 2022 Annual Leadership Conference

Register now for AzHHA’s premiere event - the 2022 Annual Leadership Conference Oct. 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.


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