AzHHA strongly believes in the effectiveness of the vaccines and programs our members have put in place to protect patients and staff and urged OSHA to withdraw the ETS.
OSHA seeks to rescind ADOSH’s oversight of federal safety rules under the Arizona State Plan
On Tuesday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) acting assistant secretary released a letter stating the agency is taking steps to rescind its 1985 decision to allow the Industrial Commission of Arizona to oversee enforcement of federal safety rules via the Arizona State Plan. Under the State Plan, Arizona is considered a “home rule state” in that the Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH), a division of the Industrial Commission of Arizona, may adopt and enforce standards varying from the OSHA standards as long as certain criteria are met.
In its letter, OSHA alleges that ADOSH is not yet enforcing the Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard interim final rule (ETS), which includes masking requirements, and has not met the applicable standard to be permitted to enforce federal safety laws. If OSHA rescinds the authority granted to ADOSH, it will have enforcement authority in Arizona over new COVID-19 rules including the ETS as well as all other regulations concerning worker safety.
In August, AzHHA sent a letter to OSHA stating strong concerns about the ETS, and AzHHA has consistently communicated an appreciation for careful deliberation in the implementation of new standards that may not be consistent with already applicable rules and regulations. AzHHA strongly believes in the effectiveness of the vaccines and programs our members have put in place to protect patients and staff and urged OSHA to withdraw the ETS.
Ask your U.S. State Representatives to sign the Dear Colleague letter on surprise billing regulation
A Dear Colleague letter is circulating in the U.S. House of Representatives urging the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor to amend the interim final rule (IFR) issued September 30 known as “Part 2” of implementation of the No Surprises Act. The letter, led by Representatives Tom Suozzi (D-NY), and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), maintains that the parameters of the independent dispute resolution (IDR) process in the IFR are inconsistent with the Act and do not create a balanced process to settle payment disputes. The letter urges the Administration to revise the IFR to align with the Act by specifying that the certified IDR entity should not default to the median in-network rate as the appropriate payment for out-of-network services and should instead consider all the factors outlined in the statute without disproportionately weighting one factor. The American Hospital Association and AzHHA encourage hospitals to reach out to their representatives today and urge them to sign the letter by October 29.
HHS renews public health emergency
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra extended the public health emergency due to COVID-19 for an additional 90 days. As a result, the extension will help hospitals and health systems combat COVID-19 in their communities. The public health emergency renewal went into effect October 18, 2021.
FDA recommends J&J booster for individuals 18+
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met October 14-15 to discuss early data from a study sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases evaluating the immunogenicity of each of the three authorized COVID-19 vaccines following immunization with the same or a different booster dose. During the meeting, the committee voted 19-0 recommending the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization as a booster dose in individuals aged 18 and older at least two months after an initial single dose. The committee meeting recording is accessible on the FDA’s website.
Recall: Abbott Molecular Inc. SARS-CoV-2 test kits
The FDA issued a recall October 15 on the Abbott Molecular, Inc. SARS-CoV-2 test kits. Software in the test kits is potentially issuing false-positive results when being used to detect SARS-CoV-2. The FDA has identified this as a Class I recall, the most serious type. Clinical laboratory staff and healthcare providers were alerted by the FDA about the potential for false-positive results and recommended they consider presumptive any positive results from the tests, among other actions.
Amy Upston joins AzHHA as the new director of financial policy and reimbursement
AzHHA welcomes Amy Upston, as its new Director of Financial Policy and Reimbursement. Within the AzHHA Policy and Advocacy team, Upston will lead AzHHA’s Hospital Financial Advisory Group as well as provide support to members on issues impacting hospital finances and reimbursement. Prior to joining AzHHA, Amy served at AHCCCS for more than seven years as the hospital financial administrator where she worked with AzHHA and hospitals to establish a second hospital assessment. Upston also has experience working at the state legislature in the Joint Legislative Committee as the principal fiscal analyst where she analyzed proposed legislation and its fiscal impact. Please help us welcome Amy to the team. Amy may be reached at [email protected].
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 they 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 azhha.org/telehealth.
Hospital and healthcare resource guide for Arizona healthcare consent laws and regulation
The 2020 AzHHA Consent Manual, reviewed and updated by Coppersmith Brockelman’s Health Care Practice Group, is available for purchase. This manual is the only comprehensive resource guide for Arizona healthcare consent laws, rules and guidelines. Learn more about consent manual updates or submit a purchase request form here.
November 11 and December 2 - 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 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.
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