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Connection Newsletter - September 3, 2020

This week's issue of the Connection Newsletter highlights AzHHA's efforts to urge U.S. Senator Martha McSally, U.S. Representative Debbie Lesko and U.S. Representative Andy Biggs to intervene with the White House to stop MFAR from being finalized.

Coalition asks McSally, Lesko, Biggs to stop Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule

AzHHA, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, and associations representing Arizona’s nurses, behavioral health providers, long-term care facilities, Medicaid health plans and large hospital systems have formed a coalition against implementation of the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR). On August 28, 2020, the coalition sent letters to U.S. Senator Martha McSally, U.S. Representative Debbie Lesko and U.S. Representative Andy Biggs, urging immediate intervention with the White House to stop the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from finalizing the rule. The letters explain MFAR would shift billions of dollars of healthcare costs to state budgets nationwide and would upend Arizona’s healthcare delivery system, all during a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. Since CMS has taken position that the rule could become effective immediately upon implementation, the coalition maintains the threat posed by the MFAR is both grave and imminent.

Ordering, referring, prescribing and attending providers must be enrolled with AHCCCS by January 1

Beginning January 1, 2021, referring, ordering, prescribing, and attending providers MUST be registered with the Arizona Health Care Cost and Containment System (AHCCCS) in order for their claims for payment to be reimbursed. Although Arizona providers who regularly see Medicaid members are already enrolled as an AHCCCS provider, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the 21st Century Cures Act require all healthcare providers providing services to order, refer, prescribe or certify healthcare services for AHCCCS members to be enrolled as an AHCCCS provider. The AHCCCS website contains detailed information and a FAQ about these requirements. In addition, AHCCCS has launched an online Provider Enrollment Portal to facilitate enrollment. If you need assistance or have any questions regarding enrollment, email our Director of Policy, Elizabeth Lorenz at elorenz@azhha.org.

AzHHA releases hospital financial survey results for June 2020

Hospital financial survey results for June 2020 show an operating margin of $215 million or 19.4%. These figures include the recording of $160 million in federal funding from the CARES Act as operating income for the month of June. Without this financial support, hospitals would have made $55 million, or 5.8%. The data reported shows inpatient discharges for the month were higher than they were in June in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Emergency room visits were still lower than they were in past years. View full report.

AzHHA will convene workgroup to discuss price transparency mandates and requirements

AzHHA will host an educational webinar next week with its hospital member workgroup to discuss price transparency mandates and requirements. The educational webinar will focus on understanding the price transparency mandates and the requirements for hospitals to be compliant by January 1, 2021. Following the webinar, the workgroup will convene to discuss approach and implementation. Questions regarding the workgroup or the price transparency mandates can be emailed to John D. Strasser, director of finance policy and reimbursement at jstrasser@azhha.org.

Spreading the word about sepsis is more important than ever

Each year, at least 1.7 million adults in the United States develop sepsis, and sadly nearly 270,000 individuals die as a result. In these unprecedented times, it is vitally important for people to know how to prevent infections that can lead to sepsis and recognize the signs and symptoms. As sepsis awareness month begins, we ask you to help spread the word about sepsis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created tools and resources for both healthcare professionals and community members which are available on its website. Read

Webinar series - 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. Upon completion of the webinar series, participants will be able to

  • identify effective use of Robust Process Improvement tools to break down barriers to compliance during all survey cycle activities
  • describe opportunities for improvement while complying with standards, updates, and emergency management
  • implement learned information to update management plans and the Emergency Operations Plan and EOC/LS standards
  • identify challenging Medicare Conditions of Participation

To learn more or register download the 2020 CSR workshop brochure.

Mayo Clinic teams up with county public health department for the COVID-19 antibody project

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) announced Wednesday its partnership with the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University to estimate how many people currently have antibodies for COVID-19 through its new COVID-19 antibody project. The project team will collect samples from volunteers in 29 communities across the county to estimate how much of Maricopa County’s population has been infected with COVID-19. According to MCDPH’s announcement, this project will provide public health with important information to help understand when current health guidelines that are put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 can start being relaxed. To learn more about the program, visit maricopa.gov/5607/COVID-19-Serosurvey.


Upcoming Events

September 16 - 2020 Public Health Law Virtual Summit: COVID-19 Response and Recovery

While the profound impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on all Americans’ health and livelihoods may hopefully diminish in the months ahead, legal repercussions will leave lasting impressions. Public health laws and policies are under substantial scrutiny against the backdrop of significant failures to control COVID-19 cases across the U.S. coupled with constitutional and other objections to efficacious legal interventions. Some legal reforms designed to improve the public’s health are already underway; others are under consideration. Join the Western Region Office of the Network for Public Health Law for live, real-time question & answer session on September 16 as part of the Network’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery National Summit.

September 16-17 - Healthcare 2021: What now? What next?

Join AZ HFMA in its 2020 fall conference where speakers will provide real-time updates and case studies - providing answers, guidance and a plan forward for local hospitals, physician groups, health plans and partners.

September 17, 10 a.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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