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Connection Newsletter - September 17, 2020

In this week's Connection Newsletter we talk about CMS's MFAR withdrawal, COVID-19 vaccine onboarding and other timely healthcare-related news.  

Seema Verma announces CMS’ MFAR withdrawal

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma withdrew the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR) this week from its regulatory agenda. Administrator Verma announced over Twitter on Monday: “We’ve listened closely to concerns that have been raised by our state and provider partners about potential unintended consequences of the proposed rule, which require further study.” Although increased transparency and reporting in the Medicaid program are laudable goals AzHHA supports, we applaud Administrator Verma for eliminating this serious threat to the administration of Medicaid throughout the country during the current national health emergency. Read

ADHS initiates pandemic vaccine onboarding

Although it is unknown if or when a COVID-19 vaccine will become available, the Arizona Department of Health Services has initiated onboarding for providers who would like to administer future COVID-19 vaccines. As an initial step, providers must complete the Vaccine Provider Onboarding Tool on the ADHS website. Onboarding is not an instantaneous process. It will take the department’s Immunization Program Office time to add providers to ASIIS and review requirements. ADHS recommends providers initiate the onboarding process as soon as possible.

The onboarding tool has high-level requirements for the signatory provider. Provider staff can go to AIPO Train to learn how to order, receive, store, administer, document and account for pandemic vaccines in ASIIS.

Important guidance on immunization for COVID-exposed individuals

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued interim guidance for immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the guidance, the CDC recommends individuals suspected to have or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not be scheduled for vaccinations until their quarantine and/or isolation period is over. Although maintaining up-to-date vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential, CDC says these individuals should postpone vaccination appointments to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other patients to the virus that causes COVID-19. Read

Vote like your health depends on it; information for staff and patients

As the 2020 elections approach, it is essential our healthcare community has the necessary resources to vote and understands the importance of voting.

As healthcare professionals, we dedicate our lives to improving the health and well-being of our community. This is true in our daily work, but we encourage you to bring this frame of reference to the forefront when exercising your right to vote. Vote for the Health of it! is an initiative by Tucson Medical Center which focuses on encouraging healthcare employees and patients to vote in the 2020 General Election. In addition, this initiative helps educate voters on key initiatives and public policy issues that impact hospitals and healthcare. We encourage you to share this information among your staff so they too can Vote for the Health of it this November. Learn more by visiting

Fund to aid affected healthcare workers by Oregon wildfires is now available

Wildfires in Oregon have caused immense destruction and impacted the lives of healthcare heroes and first responders who are on the frontlines of the wildfires and the pandemic. As a result of the disaster, hospitals have been evacuated and healthcare heroes have lost their homes, belongings and in some cases, loved ones. The Oregon Hospital Association Research & Education Foundation (OREF), a 501(c)(3) organization, has established the OREF Health Care Heroes Relief Fund to aid Oregon hospital and health system employees who suffered significant property loss to their homes or residences during Oregon’s catastrophic wildfires. By donating to the OREF Health Care Heroes Relief Fund, you can help ensure displaced health care workers have access to shelter, clothing, and other essential items, and begin to help them get back what the fires took away. If you are so inclined, please consider donating to the Oregon Caregiver Relief Fund which can be found at

Providing a little extra care for our frontline healthcare workers

The Frontline Impact Project connects health care workers and first responders with non-PPE items such as food, beverages, housing, skincare and mental health services for employee teams as small as 10 to 30,000 team members or more. Hospitals should designate a single point person to submit and manage requests through Products are donated by leading brands at no charge. Products are shipped directly to the hospital.

Cover Arizona to host its annual enrollment assister training virtually

Cover Arizona’s enrollment assister trainings are scheduled to begin October 1 followed by session 2 on October 8 and session 3 on October 14. The workshops will feature health insurance marketplace updates and training, AHCCCS updates as well as tactics, best practices and lessons learned from local experts. To register for one or all of the three workshops, click here.

Valleywise Health Medical Center named among the nation's “100 Top Hospitals”

AzHHA member Valleywise Health Medical Center has been recognized as one of Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals. This is the first time Valleywise Health Medical Center has been recognized as one of the top-performing major teaching hospitals in the US and is the only teaching hospital in Arizona to be honored. In addition, Valleywise Health Medical Center was the only Arizona hospital to receive an “Everest Award,” which recognizes hospitals that have earned the “100 Top Hospitals” designation and ranked among the top 100 hospitals in the nation for fastest rate-of-improvement during a five-year period.

The IBM Watson Health Top Hospitals study spotlights top-performing hospitals based on evaluation of 3,134 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals in the US. The annual list recognizes excellence in clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, patient experience and financial health.

ADHS is seeking new bureau chief for the ADHS Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System is seeking a new bureau chief. This position manages a staff charged with licensing, monitoring, inspecting and enforcing statutes and rules for emergency medical care technicians (EMCTs), EMCT training programs, base hospitals, trauma centers, air and ground ambulance organizations and vehicles. To learn more about the position or to apply, click here.

Upcoming Events

October 2, 9 & 16 - Fall 2020 CSR education workshop

The Continuous Service Readiness (CSR) program will be hosting its fall 2020 education workshop virtually in a series of 2-hour webinars on October 2, 9, 16 and 22. To learn more or register download the 2020 CSR workshop brochure.

October 6 - ASU’s Palliative Care ECHO: Non-Pain Related Symptom Management

ASU College of Health Care Solutions wants to enhance provider capacity in the use of palliative care best practices to better diagnose, manage and provide quality care for patients with complex serious illness through its Palliative Care ECHO. Palliative Care ECHO is a virtual learning series held every other Tuesday through October 2021 to discuss emerging best-practices for patients with complex serious illness and engage in case-based learning with palliative care experts.

October 15 – Arizona Health Equity Conference

There is still time to register for this year’s Arizona Health Equity Conference. This year’s keynote Dr. Veenod L. Chulani, MD, MSED, FSAHM, CEDS, will address Racism and its Impact on Child and Adolescent Health: from Awareness to Action. The Arizona Health Equity Conference will bring together hundreds of individuals across the state to discuss, promote, and take action towards health equity. Whether you are a care provider, researcher, professor, community leader, social worker, community health worker, student or simply passionate about health equity, the Arizona Health Equity Conference is the event for you.

October 22, 1 p.m. – Introduction to POLST webinar

The one-hour introduction to POLST workshop equips healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using POLST, a “portable medical order,” 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.

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