Learn about the latest rise in respiratory illness that is prompting a call for action, guidance for hospitals experiencing a pediatric surge, interim guidance for antiviral treatment of influenza and more.
Rise in respiratory infection calls for action
The current rise in respiratory infection both locally and nationally continues to plague Arizona communities in what is now referred to as the tripledemic: flu, RSV and COVID-19 cases. Healthcare workers urge you to take care of yourself and your family to prevent the spread of viral illness. Take the necessary precautions to avoid viral infection—get vaccinated and recognize the signs of respiratory illness; stay home when sick and wear a mask around others to help reduce the spread of viral infection. While hospitals are experiencing a surge in patient visits, consider your options for care before heading to the emergency room including urgent care, telehealth or a visit to your primary care provider.
ADHS guidance for hospitals experiencing pediatric patient surge
ADHS sent a memorandum to all acute care facilities on December 12 outlining resources available to hospitals as they manage surges in pediatric and other patients. The memorandum includes information on CMS blanket waivers, state licensure over-capacity guidance, new transfer resources, triage and care coordination recommendations, including links to clinical and pharmaceutical guidance, and pediatric surge resources from the Department of Health and Human Services.
CDC releases interim guidance for antiviral treatment of influenza
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wednesday released interim guidance for clinicians to prioritize antiviral treatment of influenza in the setting of reduced availability of oseltamivir. In its announcement, the CDC reported there have been at least 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations, and 7,300 deaths from influenza (Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report | CDC). The agency’s Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory provides clinicians and public health officials with guidance for prioritizing oseltamivir for treatment and information on other influenza antivirals that are recommended for treating influenza in areas where oseltamivir is temporarily unavailable.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) makes important methodology change
BCBSAZ has agreed to shift its payment methodology for behavioral health services from a DRG/case rate basis to a per diem rate, subject to new contract negotiations and concurrent review. Behavioral health hospitals and providers across the state have requested the change in payment methodology for several years as it aligns with other payors, including Medicare and Medicaid. AzHHA recently initiated a discussion with BCBSAZ over the methodology, and we are pleased BCBSAZ has agreed to the change. Required system changes will start taking place in the first quarter of 2023 (around March) with the implementation of contract amendments and completion of system changes by the end of 2023. If you are a behavioral health provider, you should have received communications directly from BCBSAZ on this topic, but if you haven’t, reach out to your provider relations representative.
Applications now being accepted for the Student Nurse/New Graduate Clinical Placements & Preceptor Training Program
The Arizona State Board of Nursing announced yesterday that they are now accepting applications for the Student Nurse/New Graduate Clinical Placements & Preceptor Training Program. The program goal is to expand the capacity of preceptor training programs at healthcare institutions, including assisted living facilities, centers, or nursing care institutions for nursing students and newly licensed or certified nurses. The grant program’s purpose is to increase the placement of student nurses. The Arizona State Board of Nursing received approval from AHCCCS to administer this 3-year, $25 million per year program.
More information and the application for healthcare institutions to receive grant funds can be found at azbn.gov/1803Grant.
Hospital Assessments and HEALTHII Payments 101
AzHHA will host its annual Hospital Assessments and HEALTHII payments 101, January 26, for hospital members interested in learning about the two hospital assessments and the quarterly HEALTHII payments. The presentation will include an overview of why the assessments were created, which types of hospitals are exempt from the assessments, how the amounts have changed over time, why hospitals receive quarterly HEALTHII payments, HEALTHII reconciliations and HEALTHII quality metrics. AzHHA members who have not received an invitation but are interested in attending may contact Amy Upston, director of financial policy and reimbursement, at [email protected].
AzHHA is looking for an outstanding communications professional to join the team. View the job description and apply for our Communications Manager job opening on one of the following platforms: LinkedIn - Indeed
January 18, 10 a.m. – Introduction to POLST workshop
Join physician orders for life-sustaining treatment paradigm (POLST) for their one-hour virtual workshops equipping 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. Register here.
January 26 - Hospital Assessments and HEALTHII payments 101
AzHHA will host this annual event for members interested in learning about the two hospital assessments and the quarterly HEALTHII payments. Learn why the assessments were created, which types of hospitals are exempt from the assessments, how the amounts have changed over time, why hospitals receive quarterly HEALTHII payments, HEALTHII reconciliations and HEALTHII quality metrics. AzHHA members who have not received an invitation but are interested in attending may contact Amy Upston, director of financial policy and reimbursement, at [email protected].
March 23 – Save the Date: 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.
May 2 – Save the Date: HEOA Collaborative Conference
AzHHA’s Care Improvement team is planning its first Health Equity Organizational Assessment (HEOA) Collaborative Conference on May 2, 2023, to celebrate the efforts and successes of the HEOA Collaborative members. This interactive conference will give attendees the opportunity to share accomplishments, processes, stories, lessons learned and garner inspiration to continue the journey of health equity.
IN THE NEWS
Nearly all of Arizona has 'high' COVID-19 spread, flu cases remain high – 12News
'Tripledemic' continues in Arizona as flu, RSV and COVID cases remain higher than last year – KJZZ The Show
‘The situation in the hospitals is grim’: States face brutal virus fallout - POLITICO
Biden’s potential first veto (axios.com)
Congress urged to pay $2B more to safety-net hospitals, AHA says (beckershospitalreview.com)