New rules now align with CDC recommendations.
Despite challenges with attendance this week, the legislature moved a few bills forward that AzHHA is tracking. HB2453 was sent to Governor Doug Ducey, who is expected to sign it into law. The measure prohibits a government entity (city, town, school district, etc.) from ever having a mask mandate, but it does exempt special healthcare districts. The Senate also approved Representative Shah’s HB2431, which deals with emergency medical services and patient transfers. The bill specifically prohibits EMTs from counseling patients to decline medical transportation to a hospital (with some exceptions).
All told, the legislature has sent 255 bills to Governor Ducey this year, and approximately 250 bills remain in play for potential passage before legislators adjourn for the year. Budget negotiations are ongoing, although skepticism is increasing that the legislature is any closer to an agreement than they were three weeks ago.
New tuberculosis screening rules are in effect
At the request of AzHHA and its members, the Arizona Department of Health Services proposed rules to update the tuberculosis screening requirements to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations. The CDC recommendations for tuberculosis screening remove the requirement for annual screening if certain conditions are met. New tuberculosis rules are now final and have been in effect since May 4, 2022.
CMS to host a webinar on continuous enrollment requirements
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will host a webinar May 25 that will provide background information on the Medicaid continuous enrollment requirements, efforts underway to connect people to coverage, discuss strategies to engage people with Medicaid and CHIP and review resources currently available for partners to begin sharing information on preparing for the Medicaid and CHIP redetermination process within their communities. Once the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, states will be required to restart Medicaid and CHIP eligibility reviews meaning that beneficiaries could lose their health coverage due to procedural reasons. To register for the webinar, click here.
Community assistor organizations may use the resources on AHCCCS’ Return to Normal Renewals web page to share with community members as the state prepares to transition back to post-COVID-19 eligibility requirements.
RAND Report released with incomplete data
The RAND Corporation released its hospital pricing report this week. The report relies on limited data which leads to broad claims about pricing. In addition, the report overlooks the impact the pandemic had on hospitals by dismissing cost pressures and Medicare rates being lower than the cost of providing care. In a statement, Rick Pollack, President and CEO of the American Hospital said “Researchers should expect variation in the cost of delivering services across the wide range of U.S. hospitals – from rural critical access hospitals to large academic medical centers. Tellingly, when RAND added more claims as compared to previous versions of this report, the average price for hospital services declined. This suggests what we have long suspected: you simply cannot draw credible conclusions from such a limited and biased set of claims.”
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is accepting volunteer applications
The free and confidential 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline will become available to anyone experiencing a suicidal or mental health-related crisis beginning July 16. Leading up to the expansion of services, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is seeking volunteers and employees to serve as crisis counselors. Volunteers and employees will serve as crisis counselors answering phones, chats and texts from people in crisis. To learn more, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/jobs.
Save the Date: AzHHA Annual Leadership Conference
Mark your calendars the 2022 Annual Leadership Conference will be held October 19-21, 2022. After two years of putting the conference on pause to focus on the pandemic response, we will meet in 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 days of education, recognition and networking. Registration will become available in the coming months.
June 14 – Annual Arizona Rural Health Conference
For the past 47 years, the Arizona Center for Rural Health has hosted the Annual Arizona Rural Health Conference in collaboration with the Arizona Rural Health Association, making it one of the longest continually running rural health conferences in the United States. The Arizona Rural Health Conference provides an environment for networking and dissemination of pertinent information among professionals and community members from rural Arizona and the Southwest. Register here.
June 21- 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. Register here.
In the News
FDA clears COVID booster shot for healthy kids ages 5 to 11
Inside the global hunt for a culprit in mysterious hepatitis cases
The Washington Post