Telemedicine Parity Legislation Introduced by AzHHA

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

The bill, introduced by Senators Heather Carter, Kate Brophy McGee and Rep. Nancy Barto among many others, seeks to expand access to telemedicine services across Arizona. Currently, Arizona law only requires commercial health insurers cover 10 specialties such as pulmonology and dermatology. With the proposed legislation, any healthcare service covered in-person by a commercial insurer will also be covered when provided through telemedicine.

“Telemedicine, in the limited areas where it’s been used, has profoundly impacted the health of patients and communities,” said bill prime sponsor Senator Heather Carter. “Telemedicine technology has advanced to the point where clinically effective treatment can be provided via telemedicine for hundreds of medical services.”

“Telemedicine is priority for many communities; especially, those in rural areas facing access to care obstacles and physician shortages,” said Carter. “Increasing access to telemedicine will help improve patient safety and the health of Arizonans.”

In addition to AzHHA, the measure has the support of nearly all healthcare groups including the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers, the Arizona Medical Association, the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, and the Health System Alliance of Arizona. 

Telemedicine coverage of all health services by commercial insurers, known as ‘full telemedicine parity,’ exists in at least 23 other states and Washington, DC. It helps bring critical healthcare resources to more communities, particularly in rural areas. In addition, it address healthcare workforce shortages throughout our state by making providers available through virtual means to provide consultation, exams, and training.

Arizona is Leading the Way in Improving End-of-Life Care by AzHHA

Sandy Severson, Vice President of Care Improvement

AzHHA’s Thoughtful Life Conversations (TLC) initiative made great strides to improve end-of-life care across our state in 2018. Last year also brought us new statewide data that has helped us understand where we are currently and will help inform our goals for the future. In December TLC released its first End-of-Life Care Report that includes five different types of data:

  • Medicare Data – This section shares data points that are impacting the experience we have at the end-of-life. 

  • Hospice Data - Inpatient days, Emergency Department visits, and ICU Days prior to death are opportunities for improved conversations about prognosis and treatment options the last year of life.

  • Physician Views - In this survey 450+ Arizona physicians participated, 68% of which care for patients near their end-of-life.

  • Advance Directory Registry - Is the Advance Directive Registry data a reliable measure of success for work being done in the field?

  • Statewide Public Survey - Roughly 900 Arizonans were asked about who is having end of life care conversations.

If you would like to receive updates about our TLC program, please click on the subscribe button below.

Latest DataGen Reports by AzHHA

Ann-Marie Alameddin, Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel

DataGen reports are sent to hospitals as a part of AzHHA membership. DataGen utilizes Medicare analytics to create hospital-specific reports that support hospital operations, finance and enhance quality initiatives.

The following DataGen reports were sent by AzHHA Analytics to our members:

  • S-10 Uncompensated Care Distribution Analysis                      Sent 12/06/18

  • CY2019 Home Health Final Rule Analysis                               Sent 01/04/19

  • Outpatient Prospective Payment System Drugs and Biologicals Analysis   
    Sent 01/16/19

  • Outpatient Claims Analyses               To be sent on 01/17/19

  • 2019 Critical Access Hospital Payment Comparison Analysis    Pending

If you would like a copy of your hospital report sent to you, please email AzHHA Analytics. For more information on the 2018 DataGen schedule for release of DataGen reports, click here.

The 2019 Arizona Hospital Directory Is Online by AzHHA

Genesis Verduzco, Communications Manager

The 2019 Arizona Hospital Directory provides an updated listing of Arizona hospitals across the state. Hospitals are listed by city and type of facility. AzHHA members have a staff listing and have special notation. You are also able to find more information about the AzHHA Affiliated Partners Program, giving members access to thoroughly pre-screened vendors providing tools such as workforce solutions, hospital cost reduction and more. You can view the digital copy of the 2019 directory here.

Point of Pride: Northwest Healthcare by AzHHA

Last week Northwest Healthcare announced the development of a new hospital on the east side of Tucson. This new 7-bed hospital is expected to have are an emergency room, labor and delivery services, orthopedics and cardiology. This hospital will help increase access to healthcare and also provide about 600 new jobs. Pending city of Tucson approval of the incentive, the hospital could be open by 2021.