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Connection newsletter - workforce funding opportunities, CMS finalizes select inpatient rates

Nearly $15 million in federal funds are now available to grow the nursing workforce, improve access to nursing education, and advance health equity.

Work Force Funding Opportunities

AzHHA and other stakeholders have met over the past few weeks to work on the implementation of H.B. 2691, which provides grants to hospitals and other healthcare institutions to develop and expand clinical rotation programs, upskill nursing staff and develop and expand transition to practice programs. The program, funded at $27 million annually for the next three years, will be administered by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)—with $2 million set aside for a statewide, standardized transition to practice program. AzHHA will update members as more detail on the application process becomes available.

In the meantime, the Health Resources and Services Administration has announced the availability of nearly $15 million in federal funds to grow the nursing workforce, improve access to nursing education, and advance health equity. The funding opportunities include:

  • The Clinical Faculty and Preceptor Academies Program: This funding opportunity will provide awards totaling $10 million over four years to grow the nursing workforce by recruiting, training and supporting clinical nursing faculty and preceptors. 
  • The Registered Nurse Training Program: This funding opportunity will provide awards totaling $4.75 million over three years to increase the number of nursing students trained in acute care settings, with an emphasis on addressing and responding to social determinants of health factors and improving health equity.

To apply for these grants, visit Applications are due August 19, 2022.

Monkeypox considerations for children and adolescents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday published considerations for the clinical management of monkeypox in children and adolescents younger than 18 years old. The CDC says monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.

CDC website resources include a section dedicated to healthcare professionals and a situation summary with case counts from around the world.

CMS finalizes Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Rates

On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities (IPF) Prospective Payment System (PPS) final rule and FY 2023 Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) PPS final rule. Both rules are effective October 1, 2022.

CMS is increasing the IPF PPS by 3.8% (a market basket update of 4.1% less a 0.3 percentage point productivity adjustment). However, CMS is also updating the outlier threshold so that outlier payments remain at 2.0% of total payments, which results in an aggregated 1.2 percent point payment decrease. Together, these adjustments result in a total increase of only 2.5%. Additionally, a 5% cap on decreases will be applied in FY 2023 and subsequent years.

IRF PPS rates will be increased by 3.9% (a market basket update of 4.2% less a 0.3 percentage point productivity adjustment). Their outlier payments will be maintained at 3.0% of total payments, resulting in a 0.6 percentage point decrease. Once the outlier payments are accounted for, the overall IRF PPS will increase by only 3.2%. Like the IPF PPS rates, CMS is applying a 5% wage cap on decreases in FFY 2023 and the following years. Additionally, CMS is expanding the quality data reporting requirements to include all patients. 

CMS releases OPPS proposed rule

On July 15, 2022, CMS released the calendar year 2023 Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) proposed rule. CMS proposes to increase its rates by 2.7% increase for 2023, using a market basket update of 3.1% offset by 0.4 percentage point productivity cut.

For hospitals that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program and that were affected by the center’s OPPS cuts in recent years, the agency announced it would restore the Medicare outpatient payment to average sales price (ASP) plus 6% for CY 2023, given the recent Supreme Court decision. CMS also noted it is evaluating how to apply the Supreme Court’s decision to the prior year’s cuts and is seeking public comment on potential remedies affecting cost years 2018-2022. 

In addition, CMS proposes to exempt rural sole community hospitals from the site-neutral clinic visit cuts and instead pay for clinic visits furnished in excepted off-campus provider-based departments of these hospitals at the full OPPS rate.

Comments for the proposed rule are due to CMS on September 13, 2022.  For more information or to provide feedback on the proposed rule, please contact Amy Upston, AzHHA’s Director of Financial Policy and Reimbursement. 

National COVID-19 public health emergency renewed

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency July 15 for an additional 90 days. The first U.S. public health emergency declaration for COVID-19 was signed in January 2020 and has been renewed every 90 days. Renewal of the COVID-19 public health emergency means expanded telehealth services, state support and Medicaid coverage protections will continue at least through October. HHS has previously stated it would provide at least 60 days’ notice if the public health emergency is not going to be continued.


Design Summit focused on Wellbeing for Health Professionals in Arizona

In partnership with DesignConvo, the AZ Wellbeing Collaborative for Health Professionals is hosting a digital design summit on Friday, August 12th, 2022 from 9:30am-3:30pm. This summit will convene a broad group of Arizona health system, public health, and professional organization leaders to share common experiences and develop sustainable strategies for health professional wellbeing. Participants you will leave the summit with an engaged network of peers, an expanded set of skills, and the ongoing opportunity to participate in this unique, cross-sector collaboration committed to the wellbeing of Arizona health professionals.

Please register HERE by Monday, August 1, 2022. For any questions, please reach out to Anca Castillo at [email protected] or Mark Carroll at [email protected].

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.

Click on your preferred date to register for the virtual workshop:

September 22 – AIM Collaborative Conference

Join us for the 2022 AIM Collaborative Conference on September 22, 2022, at Creighton University School of Medicine-Phoenix campus. This year’s conference theme, 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. Register by September 8, 2022, to secure your seat.

September 14-16 - Arizona HFMA 2022 Fall Conference

The Arizona Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) will be holding its 2022 fall conference in Scottsdale, Arizona September 14-16, 2022. Room reservations must be made by August 15, 2022. Book your room today and learn more about the conference on their website.     

  • AIM conference – Sept 22
  • AzHHA conference – Oct 19-21

October 19-21 – 2022 Annual Leadership Conference

Mark your calendar for AzHHA’s premiere event - the 2022 Annual Leadership Conference October 19-21, 2022 at the majestic Lowes Ventana Canyon in Tucson. The AzHHA Annual Leadership Conference brings together hundreds of healthcare CEOs, leaders, legislators and community partners from across the state for two and a half days of education, recognition and networking. Registration will become available in the coming weeks.

Sponsorship opportunities are now available. Download the sponsorship prospectus, here. Questions about sponsorship may be sent to Laura Dickscheid at [email protected].

October 26 – 28, 2022 - National Pediatric Disaster Conference – California Earthquake Response

This two-day Significant Event Readiness Forum (or SERF) will provide an environment for exploring opportunities along the disaster response continuum. SERFs are not exercises. However, objectives and evolving scenarios foster needed discourse. This year’s conference will be virtual. Click here to learn more about the event and watch for registration to open soon.


CDC set to make monkeypox a nationally notifiable condition

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