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Connection Newsletter - OSHA issues COVID-19 ETS for healthcare

The ETS is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. Employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days of publication, and with the remaining provisions within 30 days.

OSHA issues COVID-19 emergency temporary standard for healthcare

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) June 10 for occupational exposure to COVID-19 requiring certain healthcare employers to help protect their workers in settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated.

The ETS, if not already implemented, requires covered healthcare employers to develop and implement a COVID-19 plan to identify and control COVID-19 hazards in the workplace. Covered employers must also implement other requirements to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in workplaces. Among other provisions, ETS requires employers to provide reasonable time and paid leave for employee vaccinations and side effects.

OSHA posted related summaries, fact sheets and compliance assistance materials and tools. The ETS incorporates by reference a number of consensus standards and evidence-based guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the American National Standards Institute.

The ETS is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. Employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days of publication, and with the remaining provisions within 30 days.

Legislative update

Work on the state budget has been superseded by a legislative special session to address wildfire funding. While the special session is likely to wrap up by the end of the day, it remains unclear when the state budget will be adopted.

After an unsuccessful attempt to pass the budget last week, Senate and House Republican leaders have shared that a budget vote will not be held until the necessary 31 and 16 votes required are secured. There continue to be two budget holdouts - Representative Cook and Senator Paul Boyer (R-District 20).

The current draft budget includes a $1.9 billion annual tax cut to be implemented over three years - more than $339 million for road construction and $112 million for universities. Health-related components of the draft budget, although subject to change, include:

  • $6 million for graduate medical education funding continued from fiscal year 2021 – this is supposed to increase to $9M in fiscal year 2023;

  • $2 million for medical student loan repayment;

  • $500,000 to implement expanded newborn screening;

  • $300,000 to reduce radiation control fees paid by hospitals and others using radiation-emitting devices and

  • $300,000 for additional high-risk perinatal visits.

View bill status updates by visiting

Feedback requested on ADHS ground ambulance rulemaking

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is holding informal workgroups to discuss proposed changes to ground ambulance regulations. Among the substantial proposals being considered is establishing maximum ground ambulance response times for both 911 calls and interfacility transfers in a new Table 9.1 on page 34 of the draft rules. In conjunction with Table 9.1, ADHS is exploring various urbanicity definitions including those in the current rules, those in the draft rules and nationwide standards including the standards of the National Emergency Medical Services Information System and the National Center for Education Statistics. 

In addition, ADHS is soliciting feedback on a new definition of arrival time for interfacility transfers. The next workgroup meeting is scheduled June 23 from 1-4 p.m. Contact AzHHA Director of Policy, Liz Lorenz before June 23 with feedback and/or to request call-in information for the workgroup meetings. 

COVID-19 supportive care

Patients with acute or chronic COVID-19 symptoms and related complications are discovering COVID-19 supportive care – at no cost to them. “This is the first medical professional who has acknowledged my long COVID symptoms,” said a patient recently referred to the palliative care telehealth service. Prior to discovering the COVID-19 supportive care program, this patient noted the challenges faced when trying to find the right care. “I’ve had the virus for eight months and had more than 40 doctor consultations!!! So, thank you.”

The service is open to people suffering with the complexities of COVID-19 related symptoms, or those chronic conditions exacerbated by COVID-19. Patients do not need a physician’s referral to receive this specialized, palliative care. Learn more at

Accepting applications - HRSA Vulnerable Rural Hospital Assistance Program

The Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH), a technical advisory center, is accepting applications for its Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Vulnerable Rural Hospital Assistance Program. CORH provides technical assistance via a multi-tier system of support to a national cohort of 30 rural hospitals each cohort year. Five hospitals will receive technical assistance including site visits, mentoring via monthly calls, a variety of educational courses, a comprehensive recruitment assessment, facilitated peer-to-peer Project ECHO network education and webinars. Twenty-five hospitals will receive remotely facilitated technical assistance including mentoring via monthly calls, a variety of educational courses, facilitated peer-to-peer Project ECHO network education and webinars. Hospitals not accepted into one of the first two tiers will have self-directed access to webinars and documented best practices, resources and tools via the CORH toolkit. All critical access hospitals and rural hospitals meeting the HRSA rural health grants eligibility requirements may apply by July 31.

FDA approves shelf-life extension for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson announced June 10 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s authorization to extend the shelf-life of its COVID-19 single-dose vaccine. Based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 4.5 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 – 8 degrees Celsius) led to the final approval. Providers may use to view or confirm the latest expiration dates of the vaccine.

Upcoming Events

July 14 - 2021 Coding Clinic: Quarter Updates

AzHHA Affiliated Partner, NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions, is offering member health information managers and coding specialists a series of quarterly coding webinars called, 2021 Coding Clinic Updates - Everything You Really Need to KnowThe webinar series provides a concise overview of the current issue of Coding Clinic and allows participants an opportunity for discussion and Q&A. The second quarter session is scheduled July 14. Register here.

July 19 – Arizona Telemedicine Program: Telemedicine Applications

The Telemedicine Applications workshop offers a more detailed approach for telemedicine programs, providing a more in-depth look at the clinical applications of such programs. Individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding services are encouraged to attend. Speakers will cover advanced telemedicine topics through an in-depth look at real-world clinical applications of telemedicine and telehealth, including telepsychiatry, infectious Disease, teleradiology, telehealth physical therapy and telehealth nursing. Register here.

In the News

Arizona reports 423 new COVID-19 cases, passes 3M fully vaccinated

CDC issues guidance for treating ‘long COVID’ patients
Roll Call

Workers push back against hospitals requiring COVID vaccines
Associated Press