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Connections newsletter 10-5-23

Read about how the government shutdown was avoided for now, hospital operating margins continuing to struggle, and the deadline to register for the 2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference.



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Connection Newsletter

By AzHHA Communications ● Oct. 5, 2023

Smart Brevity® count: 4.5 mins...1211 words

This week, read about:

  • How the government shutdown was avoided for now.
  • Hospital operating margins continuing to struggle.
  • The deadline to register for the 2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference.

Shutdown avoided…for now

US Capitol: Photo By Syed F Hashemi

What’s new: Congress did what conventional wisdom suggested was impossible over the weekend—they agreed to continue funding the government for 45 days (through Friday, Nov. 17) and avoided a shutdown.

  • The Continuing Resolution (CR) was ‘clean,’ which means there were no policy riders and federal agencies and programs continue to operate at current funding levels.
  • As far as healthcare, the CR temporarily stops the DSH funding cuts to safety net hospitals and continues funding community health centers and teaching health centers.
  • Arizona’s congressional delegation was split on the CR vote—Senator Kelly and Senator Sinema supported it, Arizona Democratic Representatives were joined by Rep. Juan Ciscomani in their support of the CR, but five of six Republican representatives opposed the CR.

What’s next: The path forward is not clear yet.

  • As a result of the bipartisan nature of the spending agreement, members of the House voted to remove Speaker McCarthy from his position, and Representative Patrick McHenry is now the interim Speaker of the House.
  • Stay tuned for more updates as we head towards our next deadline in just a few short weeks.

Hospital operating margins continue to struggle

Animated GIF of two hospitals merging, with a dollar sign appearing in between them

What’s new: KaufmanHall released its August 2023 financial report which shows data from more than 900 hospitals nationwide.

  • After more than a year of negative operating margins, hospitals had six months of positive operating margins, but just barely.

By the numbers: August’s operating margins were 1.1%, the second time they have exceeded 1% in 2023.

  • Unfortunately, these low operating margins are still troubling since most experts agree that hospitals need to have operating margins of approximately 4%-6% to be able reinvest in their facilities and equipment.

Key takeaways from the report were that lengths of stay are beginning to decline, returning to normal and increased expenses were offset by increased revenue.

👉The report also recommends that hospitals consider re-engaging in strategic financial and capital planning efforts since waiting too long “could threaten the long-term relevance and viability of organizations as they fall behind the needs of their communities and actions of their competitors.”


Deadline to register is fast approaching!

2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference logo

Time is running out to register for the 2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference! Deadline is Friday, Oct. 13. Register today.

What you need to know:

  • 📅 Oct. 25-27, 2023

  • 📍 Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson

  • 📄 Review the agenda


Survey highlights issues with denied health insurance claims

What’s new: A Kaiser Family Foundation survey of adults with health insurance found that roughly six in 10 insured adults experience problems when they use their insurance.

  • Problems studied include denied claims, network adequacy issues, preauthorization delays and denials, and others.
  • Additionally, the survey explored how often consumers can successfully resolve health insurance problems when they arise as well as the consequences of insurance issues.

Go deeper: Read more insights from this survey.


Vicki Buchda recognized with Contexture award

Contexture Award

🏆Vicki Buchda, SVP, Care Improvement at AzHHA, received this year’s Contexture Excellence Award - Leader at the Contexture 2023 Summit.

Vicki was recognized for her work with the Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry (AzHDR) Rural Hospital Incentive Program.

Congratulations, Vicki!

Read more



📢Here we grow again! 🙌

AzHHA is looking for two exceptional individuals to join the team!

➡️AzCHER Southern Region and Statewide Planning Manager. Read the job description and apply.

➡️Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) Program Manager - RN. Read the job description and apply.


ADHS COVID-19 dashboard updates

What’s new: The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) COVID-19 data dashboard is now updated to represent trends and data in a way that will allow for quick analysis of trends in Arizona and its counties.

👉Data that will remain visible within the dashboard, but with a new look:

  • Cases by week
  • Demographics
  • Deaths
  • Hospitalizations
Learn more



Ageism Awareness Day is Saturday, Oct. 7

📢This day is an opportunity to draw attention to the existence and impact of ageism in our society and how we can reframe aging in our communities.

Why it matters: It’s important to promote age inclusion and advocate against ageism.

  • Ageism is defined by the World Health Organization as “the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) toward others or oneself based on age.”

Go deeper: Check out additional information and resources:

  • A guide on creating age-inclusive imagery.
  • Learn more about the American Society on Aging’s work to combat ageism through advocacy efforts.


Tuesday, Oct. 10 - Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements - Leadership commitment webinar
CDC’s partners will share real-life examples, strategies and best practices to help organizations successfully implement the new core elements, with a focus on dedicating the necessary human, financial and information technology resources. Register today.

Wednesday, Oct. 11 - Improving maternal and neonatal safety webinar
This webinar will highlight the sobering statistics for both maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in the U.S. This will be paired with current high reliability strategies of deference to expertise, high performance practices and continuous process improvement that can be used to optimize maternal and neonatal care. Register here.

Friday, Oct. 13 - Arizona Burn Symposium
The Arizona Burn Symposium is an opportunity for medical professionals to gather, learn and connect with experts in the field of burn care. The symposium features engaging speakers, informative panel discussions and interactive workshops that provide the latest advancements in burn care. Register today.

Monday, Oct. 16 - Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements - Accountability and multi-professional expertise webinar
CDC subject matter experts and partners explore the importance of appointing a leader responsible for program outcomes, the benefits of setting concrete program goals and how to engage key partners throughout the organization. Register now.

Thursday, Oct. 19 - Introduction to POLST 
Join physician orders for life-sustaining treatment paradigm (POLST) for their one-hour virtual workshops equipping healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using POLST in Arizona. Register here.

Oct. 25-27 - 2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference
The 2023 Arizona Hospital Leadership Conference will once again be held at the exquisite Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson on Oct. 25-27. This will be an inspirational gathering of more than 200 hospital and healthcare executives seeking opportunities for continuing education, meaningful discussion and relationship building. Register now.

Thursday, Nov. 2 - Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements - Action webinar
Gain valuable insights from CDC subject matter experts and partners about how to implement effective structures and processes to improve sepsis identification, management and recovery. Register today.

Thursday, Nov. 16 - Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements - Tracking and reporting webinar
CDC subject matter experts and partners discuss how to measure sepsis epidemiology, outcomes, program goals and the impact of sepsis initiatives. Register now.

Thursday, Dec. 7 - Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements - Education webinar
Discover the impact of sepsis education for healthcare professionals during onboarding and as an annual refresher. Register today.




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