Legislative Update: Calm Before the Committee Deadline Storm by AzHHA

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

Today is the 60th day of legislative session and work continues at the Legislature. Noticeably absent is the frenzy that surrounded the last week to hear bills in their chamber of origin and crossover week; however, that is about to change. After today, most committees will only have two meetings left before the March 29th deadline to hear all remaining assigned bills. 

Below, please a sample of the legislation AzHHA is tracking.

AZHHA PRIORITY LEGISLATION

SB1089: INSURANCE; TELEMEDICINE

Sponsored by Sen. Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), SB1089 is intended to expand telemedicine coverage. The bill requires commercial health insurers to cover medical services provided by telemedicine if they cover the same service when provided in person.

AzHHA strongly supports the bill.

STATUS: The bill unanimously passed the senate on February 25th. It will be heard in the House Health and Human Services Committee this morning.

SB1352 Health Care Directives Registry; Transfer

Sponsored by Senator Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), SB1352 is intended to improve healthcare provider access to healthcare directives like living wills. The bill moves the Arizona Health Care Directive Registry from its current location at the Secretary of State to the state’s Health Information Exchange organization Health Current.

AzHHA strongly supports the bill. Increase provider access to healthcare directives is consistent with the policy priority of improving end-of-life care.

STATUS: The bill unanimously passed the Senate on February 27th. It was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee in the House.

SB1354: GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION; APPROPRIATION

Sponsored by Senator Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), SB1354 is intended to make a significant dent in the physician shortage affecting Arizona - especially in rural and medically underserved areas. As amended, the bill appropriates: 1) $20 million to AHCCCS for Graduate Medical Education (GME); 2) $11 million to U of A Medical School; 3) $10 million for costs related to nurse training and to encourage retired doctors to return to practice; 4) $4 million to Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) for the primary care provider loan repayment program; and, 5) $5 million to the Board of Medical Student Loans program.

Arizona has not appropriated state general funds for GME in approximately a decade. In 2018, AHCCCS provided more than $239 million in GME payments to Arizona hospitals. Of that amount, $205 million in federal matching funds were triggered by $88 million from local, county, tribal jurisdictions, hospitals and universities. If passed, more than $66 million ($20 million state funds + $46 million federal funds) will be available for medical residencies and rotations in rural and medically underserved areas.

STATUS: AzHHA strongly supports the bill. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 28-2 on March 4th. It was assigned to the Appropriations and Health and Human Services Committees in the House.

OTHER LEGISLATION

HB 2041: HOSPITAL ASSAULTS; TESTING; REPORTING; SANCTIONS

Sponsored by Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), HB2041 is intended as a state-level response to the nationally recognized issue of healthcare workplace safety. The bill: 1) Allows hospital employees, volunteers, and others who have been assaulted petition a court to require the assailant get a blood test; and, 2) Requires a hospital to report an assault to the ADHS within 72 hours of an assault.

UPDATE: The bill was amended by removing the statutory reporting requirement and replacing it with nonbinding language expressing the Legislature’s intent to encourage hospitals to keep and report statistics on workplace safety to public policy researchers. AzHHA is now neutral on the bill. The bill passed the House 57-2 on February 26th. It passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee by a vote of seven “Yes” and one “Not Voting.”

H2122: DO-NOT-RESUSCITATE ORDERS; MINORS; PARENTAL CONSENT

Sponsored by Representative Nancy Barto (R-Cave Creek), HB2122 is intended to prohibit healthcare providers from placing do-not-resuscitate (D-N-R) orders on minors against the will of the parents or guardians. As amended the bill: 1) Prohibits providers from implementing a D-N-R order without the written or oral consent of both parents or guardian of a minor; 2) If the parent or guardian orally consents to implement a do-not-resuscitate order, two witnesses other than the parent, guardian or physician must be present and willing to attest to the consent; and, 3) Prohibits a healthcare provider from withholding care even if, using reasonable medical judgement, they believe that care will harm the patient and/or cause unnecessary pain or suffering.

UPDATE: The bill was passed by the house 58-0 on March 4th. It was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee in the senate.

Proposed Rule Seeking Providers to Disclose 'Secret' Prices by AzHHA

Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking public comments on whether it should require healthcare providers to disclose reimbursement rates negotiated with health insurers. Prices that insurers pay for medical services to providers are typically negotiated and considered confidential. The HHS proposal was released as part of a larger proposed rule that aims to give patients greater access to their electronic health information. While some consumer advocates have heralded the proposal, it is unclear whether it would actually help consumers. Many industry experts argue that instead of driving down prices, disclosing negotiated rates could increase prices as lower-reimbursed providers seek payments similar to their higher paid competitors. In addition, mandating disclosure could violate antitrust and contract laws. Comments on the proposal are due May 3rd.

A Cost Effective and Efficient MSP Locums Program For AzHHA Members by AzHHA

John Koeneke, Vice President of Business Development

Forget utilizing agencies. Improve direct hire recruitment and drive down vacancies with AzHHA’s new Talent Management Solution program. This program provides the following benefits:

  • Market Driven Rates - Our methodology is to engage all suppliers in a transparent, competitive bidding process where suppliers are continually and objectively evaluated based on bill rates, staffing capabilities and quality of service. This process delivers cost savings and higher fill ratios, without sacrificing supply and staff quality. This approach is critical when building a program across geographic markets and staffing modalities where there can be significant variation in vendor performance.

  • Next Generation Technology - Vendor Management Software (VMS) is the go-to for handling all temporary staffing modalities, compliance management and timekeeping integration. This cutting-edge direct hire disruptive technology offers better engagement and job search experience that integrates with AzHHA member websites. 

  • Program Resources - Experienced staffing experts dedicated to supporting participating AzHHA members are available 24/7. The program team will assist with candidate screening, job postings, credentialing, and invoicing to ensure a successful partnership.

  • Direct Hire Optimization - Redefine job-seeker engagement and boost your efforts to attract high quality talent through our Professional Exchange platform that will deliver a higher volume of quality candidates and increase applicant traffic.

If you are interested in learning more about this program, please email AzHHAMSP@HWLmsp.com  or click here and a member of the AzHHA team will contact you. 

Updated Newsletter Means Readers Need to Take Action by AzHHA

Shayna Diamond, Director of Community Affairs

We are updating our Connection Newsletter format starting next week, Thursday March 21st. Please take the necessary steps to ensure you receive our newsletter by following these 3 easy steps:

  • Add communications@azhha.org to your list of contacts.

  • Ask your IT department to whitelist the following IP addresses: 147.253.211.103, 147.253.211.101, 147.253.211.107, 147.253.211.104, 147.253.211.106, 147.253.211.108, 147.253.211.102, and 147.253.211.105

  • If you don’t receive the Connection newsletter next week, and the IP addressed have been whitelisted, please check your spam/junk folders.

Still haven’t received the Connection Newsletter by 3/28/19? Please send an email to Communications@azhha.org.

Medicare BFCC-QIO Webinar by AzHHA

Genesis Verduzco, Communications Manager

For participants in the Medicare Program, Livanta, is hosting a series of provider focused webinars for FY2019. The first in this provider education series will be a webinar centered on compliance with and best practices for delivering the “Important Message from Medicare” or IM. The IM is required to be delivered to all Medicare patients upon admission and again upon discharge. During this webinar, participants will:

  • Learn about compliance with Medicare regulations

  • Learn best practices

  • Question and answer session

  • Discover provider resources and tools to prevent readmission

Space is limited. To register, click here. If you have questions or would like more information about this webinar, please contact communications@livanta.com.

Point of Pride: Donor Network of Arizona by AzHHA

The Donor Network of Arizona is not only breaking records in registering organ donors for a third consecutive year, but they are also breaking ground at their new facility in Tempe. As the volume of organ, tissue and cornea donation increases, both nationally and in our state, Donor Network of Arizona requires more space and more people to perform their mission. Not only will this new facility help in saving more lives, but it will also add over 200 jobs. Congratulations to our members on one of many successes. If you are interested in becoming a tissue or organ donor, click here and register today!