A virtual informal public hearing will be held April 27.
This week one of AzHHA's top priority bills, HB2691, received unanimous support in the Senate Appropriations Committee. HB2691 makes a significant investment in workforce through a comprehensive approach to support nurses from education to practice. Thank you to Tucson Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer, Joy Upshaw, for her compelling testimony in support of this bill. Ultimately, the bill must be included in the 2022 budget, which will be negotiated in the upcoming months.
Similarly, AzHHA supported SB1311, the healthcare worker assault bill was approved Monday by the House Health Committee. The House Judiciary Committee considered several troublesome bills on their Wednesday agenda. SB1514, a problematic bill on hospital visitation, was approved by a party-line vote. Negotiations are ongoing with the bill sponsor. With that, committees, other than Appropriations which meets next week, are completed for this year. Action now moves to floor consideration and budget negotiations.
Differential adjusted payments updates and upcoming deadlines
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) posted last week the differential adjusted payments (DAP) final notice. AHCCCS added a new 0.25% DAP payment for hospitals (except for behavioral health hospitals) that commit to ongoing capacity reporting. Upon the end of the state’s public health emergency, the hospital must submit a letter of intent (LOI) in which it agrees to continue reporting adult and pediatric bed capacity to the Arizona Department of Health Services. AzHHA members will receive a financial advisory with additional information.
Additionally, the April 1 DAP deadlines are quickly approaching. AHCCCS providers must submit a LOI annually to meet certain health information exchange deadlines. Hospitals that do so are eligible for at least a 2% increase on all AHCCCS payments. LOIs are due April 1 to [email protected]. Templates may be found here. By April 1, hospitals, except IHS/Tribal 638 facilities, wishing to receive the new SDOH DAP must complete an SDOH registration form and SDOH addendum found on the Health Current website and submit it to [email protected].
Questions about DAP may be directed to AzHHA’s Director of Policy and Reimbursement, Amy Upston.
OSHA reopens ETS comment period
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced March 22 it has reopened a 30-day comment period on its COVID-19 Health Care Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). It also announced that a virtual informal public hearing will be held April 27 to gather additional information from health care stakeholders. AzHHA submitted a comment letter to OSHA last year asking the agency to withdraw healthcare COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS), originally issued June 21. As a “home rule” state, AzHHA also submitted comments last December to the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) expressing concern over the federal ETS. AzHHA will keep members informed as this develops.
Deactivation of Crisis Standards of Care
Arizona has met the criteria for deactivating crisis standards of care, as outlined in the state’s Crisis Standards of Care Plan according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. The email sent by ADHS announcing the deactivation stated that “hospitals in Arizona are able to meet patient demand using contingency or conventional standards and conditions have been improving substantially over several weeks,” therefore the deactivation would be effective Monday, March 21, 2022. Should conditions in Arizona significantly change, consideration of reactivation may occur.
HRSA programs to stop accepting COVID-19 claims
The COVID-19 Uninsured Program has stopped accepting claims for testing and treatment on March 22 to a lack of sufficient funds. The Health Resources and Services Administration also announced the program will stop accepting vaccination claims after April 5, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET. Eligible claims submitted by the deadline “will be paid subject to the availability of funds.”
2022 Arizona AIM Collaborative Conference – Registration is now open
Reserve your virtual seat for the 2022 AIM Collaborative virtual conference held May 26. This year’s conference theme, A 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. The conference target audience includes:
- data coordinators
- quality directors
- unit/team leads
Hear from experts about evidence. Learn from each other. Leave with ideas you can implement and next steps. Register for the free, virtual conference here by May 18.
Request for proposals – Arizona Health Equity Organizational Assessment Collaborative
AzHHA is seeking a consultant to lead the development and/or facilitation of the Arizona Health Equity Organizational Assessment Collaborative (HEOA). The focus of the HEOA Collaborative is to reduce health disparities in approximately 22 rural hospitals, FQHCs, post-acute care providers and other healthcare providers. Proposals are now being accepted.
Qualified bidders will have a background in virtual collaboration, program design, data analytics, marketing and communication, meeting facilitation and will have demonstrated experience and/or ability to work expediently and independently. To obtain a copy of the request for proposal, email [email protected]. The deadline to submit proposals is April 8.
Learn more about the program by visiting azhha.org/AzHEOA.
Join AHRQ's safety program for MRSA prevention
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most invasive and deadly multidrug-resistant organisms. As a subset of antibiotic-resistant infections, MRSA incidence continues to be a serious threat, with more than 323,000 cases detected in hospitalized patients and over 10,000 deaths annually. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Program for MRSA Prevention is offering a free, 18-month national program that offers participating intensive care units (ICUs)/Non-ICUs with expert coaching, online training, tools and resources to help you protect patients and strengthen your unit’s patient safety efforts. ICUs and non-ICUs are encouraged to join the 18-month program that starts April 2022. For more details on this program and to find out if your facility qualifies to participate, visit https://safetyprogram4mrsaprevention.org/.
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.
May 7 - Communication in Serious Illness Workshop
The objectives for this 2.5-hour didactic session are to review the need for a systematic approach to having more, better and earlier conversations about patient values and priorities in serious illness, defining a population with serious illness for whom improved communication holds many benefits, applying a structured communication tool to facilitate communication with patients with serious illness, and reviewing the value of summarizing, follow up and documentation. Learn more and register here.
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 conference 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.
In the News
Homelessness jumps 35% in 2 years in biggest Arizona county
Prefilled Saline Flush Syringe Conservation Strategies - Letter to Health Care Personnel
U.S. Food and Drug Administration