Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

April 20, 2017

Connection is a weekly e-newsletter from the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. You can subscribe to our daily blog where we discuss pressing healthcare topics, such as the alarming rate of young people with diabetes.

In This Week's Issue of Connection:

In The News


2018 Hospital Assessment
Jim Haynes, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Yesterday AHCCCS notified hospitals that the hospital assessment for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 will be $290 million. This is $10 million less than the assessment announced in December, but is still an increase over 2017 of $25 million. The increase is due to the loss of the strategic contribution fund component of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of $21 million, changes in populations covered by this assessment, and a change in the Federal contribution. AHCCCS will work with Navigant Consulting, Inc. to determine the hospital assessment allocation. They are planning on using the same methodology and base period, to determine the assessment for each individual hospital. Information will be provided to each hospital in May as the first payment will be due August 15, 2017. In addition AHCCCS will look into rebasing the hospital assessment for state fiscal year 2019. They will use a consultant, and will work with a hospital workgroup. They plan on beginning this work this summer followed by workgroup meetings in the fall.

CMS Releases IPPS and LTCH Proposed Rule
Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development

Last Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its FY 2018 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System (PPS) proposed rule. The Agency proposes a 1.6 percent payment increase for hospitals and estimates a 3.75 percent decrease for LTCHs for FY 2018. The decrease is a result of full implementation of the two-tiered payment system for LTCHs, which includes a standard LTCH PPS component for higher-acuity cases and a site-neutral payment component for lower-acuity cases. CMS proposes delaying the 25 percent LTCH rule while it evaluates the necessity of this policy. The rule also includes several proposals intended to reduce the regulatory burden on hospitals, such as:

  • Shortening the electronic health record (EHR) reporting period in CY 2018
  • Reducing in FY 2019 the number of quality reporting requirements for hospitals that have implemented EHRs
  • Addressing concerns over the Critical Access Hospital 96 hour certification requirement.

Finally, CMS is asking for feedback on policy changes to increase transparency, flexibility and innovation. Comments will be accepted on the proposed rule though June 13, 2017. The CMS summary of the proposed rule can be found here.

National Healthcare Decisions Week
Sandy Severson, Vice President of Care Improvement

National Healthcare Decisions Day has now become a week-long effort to educate and empower people in our communities to have a conversation about their wishes and complete advance directives. Earlier this week our Thoughtful Life Conversations initiative also wrote this blog about the importance of having these conversations and shared resources on their website. Additionally, AzHHA held a community event providing Advance Directive forms as well as tools to get the conversation started. We encourage everyone to share their stories (both video and text) of how they are starting the conversation with their loved ones and AzHHA’s Facebook page.

CMS Publishes Final Market Stabilization Rule
Debbie JohnstonSenior Vice President of Policy Development

Last Thursday, CMS published the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Market Stabilization final rule. The rule shortens the annual open enrollment period, makes changes to promote the maintenance of continuous coverage, transfers network adequacy oversight to the states, and gives additional flexibility to insurers to remain in the insurance exchanges. The changes are effective June 19, 2017. An overview from the CMS website can be found here.

Point of Pride: Benson Hospital

Making healthcare accessible is a key component of providing the right care at the right time. With the current shortage of providers in their community, Benson Hospital is helping fill the need by providing accessible healthcare to their community. The grand opening of their new care clinic will be April 28th.