Federal Work Requirement Executive Order

Last week the President issued an Executive Order to the US Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Housing charging them with reviewing the eligibility regulations for all of their public assistance programs (e.g. Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, WIC, Section 8 Housing etc.) and check to see whether they have work requirements.  

If they don’t currently have work requirements, the Order charges them with determining whether the current law would allow them to do so.  Then, in 90 days, they’ll need to turn in a list of policy recommendations to “strengthen existing work requirements for work-capable people and introduce new work requirements”. The Order is of course more complex than I’ve described here- but you can read the whole thing here.

BTW: we expect AHCCCS' directed waiver that will require many (about 200,000) AZ Medicaid members to meet their work/school/community engagement requirements starting 10/1 to be approved any day now.

 

Phoenix Complete Streets

If you live or work in Phoenix, click here to send an email to the City Council members asking them to adopt and implement the Complete Streets Design Guidelines. Please be sure to send your email before the council meeting this Wednesday, April 18, and feel free to share this call to action with Phoenix friends. 

The Complete Streets Advisory Board recommended these design guidelines to the Council in 2015, but weren’t given the opportunity to vote and adopt them. It is now more than two years later, and we need your help to urge them to adopt the guidelines and move forward in protecting everyone who walks, bikes, uses public transportation, and drives on our streets. Thank you to Pinnacle Prevention for the heads up about this.

Send an email with one click!

 

Legislative Session Update

A Bill Called SB 1519 protective orders; schools; appropriations was proposed late last week by Senator Smith. It contains many of the things outlined by the Governor a few weeks ago related to firearms, schools and protection orders. The centerpiece is something called a “Severe Threat Order of Protection” which outlines a process to restrict firearm access for people who are a danger to themselves or others. The process is complicated and outside my area of expertise, so I’m trying to learn more about the proposal.  There are also measures that would require AHCCCS to develop and post suicide prevention training.  A statewide school safety hotline would also be established.

There’s no provision in the bill for comprehensive background checks or restrictions on things called “bump stocks” which makes guns fire quicker. Here’s a link to the introduced version of the bill.  You might need to sit down with somebody with a legal background if you really want to understand it. 

Hardly any organizations or persons are signed up either for or against the bill so far, and no hearing has yet been set in the Senate (It’s assigned to the Commerce and Public Safety Committee).  There’s no mirror bill in the House at their point.  Stay tuned.

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women is in the home stretch.  It’s cleared the full Senate but still needs a House Rules hearing and a floor vote. It will require some appropriation (to provide oral health coverage to pregnant Medicaid members)… so much of the discussion right now is about how much it would cost.

The direct cost to the state is estimated to be a little less than $268K.  However, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee believes that it could have secondary costs. Their thinking goes like this: some pregnant Medicaid enrollees that are not yet receiving prenatal care will discover that there is an oral health benefit and that the hygienist or dentist would inform their health plan of their pregnancy. These women would then switch their eligibility category to one with a higher state match rate (and presumably begin receiving prenatal care- which if it happened would be a good thing).  

Their analysis assumes that 25% of the estimated 5,000 pregnant women currently enrolled in the expansion population will switch their eligibility to the pregnant category generating a $3.7M refinancing cost because of the dental benefit.  It just seems to me that it’s unlikely that women that aren’t getting prenatal care from an OBGYN will present to a dentist or hygienist for a cleaning.  I can see it if they have a toothache, but that would likely be from the existing emergency dental benefit- not this new proposed preventative oral health benefit.  We’ll see what happens during the upcoming budget process.

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification is in the home-stretch.  It succeeded in the Senate’s Committee of the Whole (a voice vote) but wasn’t brought up for a final vote in the Senate as we had hoped (called 3rd Read) last week.  We hope to get on the Senate 3rd Read (final floor vote) calendar this week.

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization basically looks dead for this year. The bill that passed the House was great- providing clear decriminalization of needle exchange programs (needle exchange programs are technically a class 6 felony right now).  The version that passed the Senate only decriminalizes syringe exchange programs when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of infectious diseases. 

It went to a Conference Committee this consisting of Rivero, Navarrete, Udall, Borelli, Brophy McGee, and Mendez… but Wednesday, Brophy McGee was replaced with Petersen, basically killing the House version- and the bill was dropped from the Conference Committee agenda- basically killing it.  Honestly, the Senate version of the bill wouldn’t have helped public health much if it all. Maybe next year.

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability was passed by the Senate and transmitted to the Governor.  It will direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver request that asks for CMS permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

SB 1394 Abortion reporting was passed by the House and signed by the Governor.  It will require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ.

_______

Here’s a snapshot of where the various bills we’re working on are in the system. 

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records (Signed into Law)

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats (Stalled in Senate)

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use (Now called SB 1290 as Striker) 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program (Now called SB 1087 as Striker)

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data (Ready for Senate Floor Vote)

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (Effectively dead)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (Sent to Governor)

HB 2323 Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses (Ready for Senate Floor Vote)

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification (Needs Senate floor vote)

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization (Effectively dead)

HB 2484 local food tax; equality (Signed by Governor)

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products (Signed by Governor) 

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods (Passed and Signed)

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match (Needs Rules Committee & Budget Line)

SB 1261 Texting while driving (Now HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school)

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation (Needs House Rules)

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women (Needs House Rules Committee)

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation (Failed in House now HB2235 in Senate)

SB 1394 Abortion reporting (Signed by Governor)

SCR 1005 Voter Initiative Sunset (striker in the House)

 

Public Health-related bills that have been passed and signed so far:

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records was passed and signed last week.  Once it takes effect later this year, law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request. 

HB 2484 local food tax; equality, which will ban Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention.

SB 1022  DHS; homemade food products ADHS will be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. 

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods was passed and signed!  Beginning next school year K-3 will need to have at least 2 recess periods. Grades 4 and 5 will need to have 2 recess periods the year after that.

SB 1394 Abortion reporting was passed by the House and signed by the Governor.  It will require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ.

____

 

House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed and Signed

Law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Stalled in Senate

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  No action has yet been taken in the Senate so this bill is effectively dead.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Stalled in Senate- now SB1290 in House

This bill had been languishing in the Senate after passing the House by a 45-15 vote. Because of its lack of movement in the Senate it had appeared to be dead again this year.  However, this week it reappeared as a Strike All amendment in the House again as SB 1290.  It got a unanimous pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last Thursday- so was back in business but is now being held in House Rules. 

 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Stalled in Senate- now SB 1087 in House

After passing the House, this bill had been languishing in the Senate and appeared dead.  However, it was resurrected this week in the form of SB 1087 and was passed again by the House Health Committee last Thursday.  It still needs another House floor vote before it goes back to the Senate again.  It would remove the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  

It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Ready for Senate Floor Vote

This bill is looking good and ready for a final Senate floor vote.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

 

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Died in Senate

This one would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 but stalled in the Senate.  Honestly, it looks dead.

 

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Transmitted to Governor

This would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

 

HB 2323  Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

Ready for Senate Floor Vote

This bill adds contracted nurses to the list of people who are authorized to provide emergency inhaler medication in case of respiratory emergencies. Some charter and independent schools don’t employ nurses directly but engage them through contracts. Ready for a final Senate floor vote.

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Still needs Senate 3rd Read (Passed COW)

This succeeded in the Senate’s Committee of the Whole (a voice vote) but wasn’t brought up for a final vote in the Senate as we had hoped (called 3rd Read).  To get through COW, we supported an amendment to “grandfather” current CHWs who’ve worked for 6 months over 3 years as a CHW & to prohibit the state and subdivisions from offering preferential public contracts for voluntarily certified CHWs. We hope to get on the Senate 3rd Read calendar this week.

 

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Effectively Dead

The bill that passed the House was great- providing clear decriminalization of needle exchange programs (needle exchange programs are technically a class 6 felony right now).  The version that passed the Senate only decriminalizes syringe exchange programs when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of infectious diseases. The bill died in a conference committee.

Maybe next year.

 

HB 2484 local food tax; equality

Signed by Governor

The Governor signed this bill, which bans Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention. The bill doesn’t specifically mention taxes on sugary drinks, but states that any tax on food needs to be uniform.  products must be uniform. Right now, there aren’t any Arizona cities or counties that are taxing soda and other sugary drinks, and this new law will ensure that it stays that was.  

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Signed by Governor

ADHS will be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.

 

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Signed by Governor

This was passed and signed!  Beginning next school year K-3 will need to have at least 2 recess periods.  Grades 4 and 5 will be added the following year. This makes AZ a national leader in state school recess policy. A big shout out to AzPHA member Scott Turner and Christine Davis from Arizonan’s for Recess for their heavy lifting to make this happen!

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Needs House Rules Committee and Budget Line Item

This Bill needs House Rules review before a House floor vote (and of course needs to make it through the budget process). This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program. 

 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Now HB 2159 and Moving Again in House

This has been languishing for the last few weeks because it hasn’t been called up for a floor vote in the Senate.  Last week, the language from SB 1261 was added as an amendment onto HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school.  This bill, with the addition of the texting language, is now in the House awaiting a final vote.  

This would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.

 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Stalled in House now HB 2235

This bill failed to get a Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week (5-4) and is now HB 2235 as a striker.  It would have set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill.  

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Signed by Governor

This one would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).

 

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Needs House Rules Approval

This would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week and was given a Pass recommendation by the House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs Committee this week.

 

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

Needs House Rules and Floor Vote & a Budget Line Item

This unanimously cleared the House Appropriations committee last week.  We were hoping to get a Rules committee hearing next week, (Monday April 9) but it’s not on the agenda, sadly.  The big hurdle will be getting an appropriation to cover the state match into the budget.

 

SB 1470  Sunrise process; health professions

After a dramatic start, this bill looks like it will have a consensus ending.  The sunrise process bill stakeholders negotiated changes to the current scope of practice sunrise process that everybody seems to be able to live with.  It passed in House this week by a 59-0 vote. It’s now ready for the Senate to concur in the House’s amendment.

____________

 

Thanks to all of you that planned, sponsored, exhibited, presented, or attended our conference last week.  We still need to input the data from the evaluations- but we think it was a real success!

 

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 3, 2018 for our fall conference and annual members meeting.  Our topic will be about engaging public and behavioral health to improve outcomes.  It'll also commemorate our 90th anniversary!

 

 

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: April 9, 2018

AzPHA Spring Conference is Wednesday!

We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at our Conference on Wednesday: Together for Tomorrow: Protecting Arizona’s Children at the Desert Willow Conference Center. Here’s the Conference Program with all the particulars. Check in starts at 7:30 am with the agenda starting at 8:30 am (breakfast is provided). We hope many of you will stay for our hosted reception immediately following the conference!

New Immigration Rule Could Damage Public Health

The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is in the final stages of proposing a new Rule that would require the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to consider a much broader range of factors when determining whether immigrants or their U.S.-citizen children are using public benefits (using certain public benefits hurts applicant’s chances at changing their legal immigration status).

Currently, the INS uses information about whether applicants for legal permanent residency (and other immigration categories) receive cash assistance as a factor when considering applications. Applicants that receive have received cash assistance are less likely to be approved.  Proposed new changes expected to be out for public comment shortly that will broaden the benefits considered to include non-cash assistance like WIC, SNAP, Medicaid, CHIP, school lunch programs, and perhaps even participation in the Vaccines for Children program.

In 1999, the INS issued Rules to "address the public’s concerns about immigrant fears of accepting public benefits for which they remained eligible, specifically medical care, children's immunizations, basic nutrition and treatment of medical conditions that may jeopardize public health.” Here's that final Rule from 1999. 

The (1999) Rule states that "Other non-cash public benefits that will not be considered include Medicaid; CHIP; emergency medical assistance; other health insurance and health services for the testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases; emergency disaster relief; nutrition programs, such as Food Stamps and WIC; housing benefits; energy benefits; job training programs; child care; and non-cash benefits funded under the TANF program." 

The new proposed Rule is expected to be released shortly and says that: "DHS does not believe it is appropriate to set aside such benefits in its public charge analyses. DHS, therefore, proposes to consider cash and non-cash public benefits that are means-tested or otherwise used to meet basic living requirements” as they consider applications (e.g. WIC, SNAP, Medicaid, CHIP, school lunch programs, and perhaps even VFC).  These kinds of changes will have a chilling effect on whether people who can now legally participate in these programs would continue to do so. It would also make it less likely that folks will participate in other kinds of public health programs like disease control and childhood vaccinations.

We’ll keep an eye on the Federal Register (DHS Docket No. USCIS 2010-0012) and comment on the package at www.regulations.gov from a public health perspective.

 

School Safety Bill Expected this Week

We expect somebody from the legislature to propose a school/firearm safety bill this week. A couple of weeks ago the Governor floated the idea of a new law that would do several things related to school safety like: 1) Increase behavioral health resources in schools; 2) Increase school resource officer funding and training and increases the presence of law enforcement on school grounds; 3) Severe Threat Order of Protection orders that would restrict firearm access for people who are a danger to themselves or others; and 4) Establish a “Center for School Safety” with a centralized reporting tip line to report and investigate concerns of school safety.  There was no discussion of a universal background check provision.

We’ll withhold our judgment about whether to support the bill until after it’s released and we have a chance to talk to some subject matter experts about the nuances of the proposal.

 

Legislative Session Update

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods was passed and signed!  Beginning next school year K-3 will need to have at least 2 recess periods. Grades 4 and 5 will be added the following year. This makes AZ a national leader in state school recess policy. A big shout out to AzPHA member Scott Turner and Christine Davis from Arizonan’s for Recess for their heavy lifting to make this happen!

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women unanimously cleared the House Appropriations committee last week.  We were hoping to get a Rules committee hearing next week (Monday April 9) but it’s not on the agenda for today. The big hurdle will be getting an appropriation to cover the state match into the budget.

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification succeeded in the Senate’s Committee of the Whole (a voice vote) but wasn’t brought up for a final vote in the Senate as we had hoped (called 3rd Read).  To get through COW, we supported an amendment to “grandfather” current CHWs who’ve worked for 6 months over 3 years as a CHW & to prohibit the state and subdivisions from offering preferential public contracts for voluntarily certified CHWs. We hope to get on the Senate 3rd Read (final floor vote) calendar this week.

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization passed the full Senate 2 weeks ago but in a substantially weakened form. The original bill would’ve decriminalized needle exchange programs. The amendment only decriminalizes syringe exchange programs when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of infectious diseases. When the amended bill went back to the House for concurrence- it was refused (a good thing) and it’ll now go to a conference consisting of Rivero, Navarrete, Udall, Borelli, Brophy McGee, and Mendez. We sent information to the urging the conference committee members to drop the amendment requiring a ARS 36-761 emergency to provide prosecutorial protection for syringe exchange programs.

SCR 1005 is troubling new Resolution that’s a Strike Everything amendment in the House. It states that voter initiatives that have any kind of money attached need to go back to the ballot every 10 years. It’s unclear whether it’s intended to be prospective or whether it applies to previously approved measures (it’s quite cryptic).  Here’s what it says: “AN INITIATIVE (which has money attached) IS REPEALED TEN YEARS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE INITIATIVE UNLESS AN EARLIER REPEAL DATE APPLIES TO THE INITIATIVE”. 

If it makes it through the Legislature it would still need to be approved by voters- but it’s a troubling proposal indeed as things like First Things First, the Smoke Free Arizona Act, and Proposition 204 which provides a lot of Medicaid funding could get caught up in the requirement. Fortunately, there are a few steps left in the process so perhaps we can stop this in its tracks.

_______

Here’s a snapshot of where the various bills we’re working on are in the system. 

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records (Signed into Law)

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats (Stalled in Senate)

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use (Now called SB 1290 as Striker) 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program (Now called SB 1087 as Striker)

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data (Ready for Senate Floor Vote)

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (Effectively dead)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (Passed Senate COW, Needs 3rd Read)

HB 2323 Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses (Ready for Senate Floor Vote)

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification (Senate floor vote this week)

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization (Passed Senate- going bk to House)

HB 2484 local food tax; equality (Signed by Governor)

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products (Signed by Governor) 

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods (Passed and Signed)

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match (Needs Rules Committee & Budget Line)

SB 1261 Texting while driving (Now HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school)

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation (Needs House Rules)

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women (Needs House Rules Committee)

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation (Failed in House now HB2235 in Senate)

SB 1394 Abortion reporting (Ready for House Floor Vote)

SCR 1005 Voter Initiative Sunset (striker in the House)

 

Public Health-related bills that have been passed and signed so far:

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records was passed and signed last week.  Once it takes effect later this year, law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request. 

HB 2484 local food tax; equality, which will ban Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention.

SB 1022  DHS; homemade food products ADHS will be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years.

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods was passed and signed!  Beginning next school year K-3 will need to have at least 2 recess periods.

____

 

House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed and Signed

Law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Stalled in Senate

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  No action has yet been taken in the Senate so this bill is effectively dead.

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Stalled in Senate- now SB1290 in House

This bill had been languishing in the Senate after passing the House by a 45-15 vote. Because of its lack of movement in the Senate it had appeared to be dead again this year.  However, this week it reappeared as a Strike All amendment in the House again as SB 1290.  It got a unanimous pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last Thursday- so was back in business but is now being held in House Rules. 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Stalled in Senate- now SB 1087 in House

After passing the House, this bill had been languishing in the Senate and appeared dead.  However, it was resurrected this week in the form of SB 1087 and was passed again by the House Health Committee last Thursday.  It still needs another House floor vote before it goes back to the Senate again.  It would remove the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Ready for Senate Floor Vote

This bill is looking good and ready for a final Senate floor vote.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacIty of the public health workforce in Arizona.

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Died in Senate

This one would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 but stalled in the Senate.  Honestly, it looks dead.

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Needs Senate 3rd Read

This would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

HB 2323   Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

Ready for Senate Floor Vote

This bill adds contracted nurses to the list of people who are authorized to provide emergency inhaler medication in case of respiratory emergencies. Some charter and independent schools don’t employ nurses directly but engage them through contracts. Ready for a final Senate floor vote.

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Still needs Senate 3rd Read (Passed COW)

This succeeded in the Senate’s Committee of the Whole (a voice vote) but wasn’t brought up for a final vote in the Senate as we had hoped (called 3rd Read).  To get through COW, we supported an amendment to “grandfather” current CHWs who’ve worked for 6 months over 3 years as a CHW & to prohibit the state and subdivisions from offering preferential public contracts for voluntarily certified CHWs. We hope to get on the Senate 3rd Read calendar this week.

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Passed Senate in Weak Form- going back to House

This passed the full Senate 2 weeks ago but in a substantially weakened form. The original bill would’ve decriminalized needle exchange programs. The amendment only decriminalize programs when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of infectious diseases. When the amended bill went back to the House for concurrence- it was refused (a good thing) and it’ll now go to a conference committee consisting of Rivero, Navarrete, Udall, Borelli, Brophy McGee, and Mendez. We will encourage them to drop the amendment requiring a ARS 36-761 emergency to provide prosecutorial protection for syringe exchange programs.

HB 2484 local food tax; equality

Signed by Governor

The Governor signed this bill, which bans Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention. The bill doesn’t specifically mention taxes on sugary drinks, but states that any tax on food needs to be uniform.  products must be uniform. Right now, there aren’t any Arizona cities or counties that are taxing soda and other sugary drinks, and this new law will ensure that it stays that was. 

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Signed by Governor

ADHS will be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Signed by Governor

This was passed and signed!  Beginning next school year K-3 will need to have at least 2 recess periods.  Grades 4 and 5 will be added the following year. This makes AZ a national leader in state school recess policy. A big shout out to AzPHA member Scott Turner and Christine Davis from Arizonan’s for Recess for their heavy lifting to make this happen!

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Needs House Rules Committee and Budget Line Item

This Bill needs House Rules review before a House floor vote (and of course needs to make it through the budget process). This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program. 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Now HB 2159 and Moving Again in House

This has been languishing for the last few weeks because it hasn’t been called up for a floor vote in the Senate.  Last week, the language from SB 1261 was added as an amendment onto HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school.  This bill, with the addition of the texting language, is now in the House awaiting a final vote. 

This would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Stalled in House now HB 2235

This bill failed to get a Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week (5-4) and is now HB 2235 as a striker.  It would have set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill.  

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Ready for House Floor Vote

This one would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).  The bill was given a Do Pass recommendation last week by the House Judiciary & Public Safety Committee- although it was amended slightly by removing the requirement that physicians ask and report specifically why the woman is asking for the procedure.

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Needs House Rules Approval

This would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week and was given a Pass recommendation by the House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs Committee this week.

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

Needs House Rules and Floor Vote & a Budget Line Item

This unanimously cleared the House Appropriations committee last week.  We were hoping to get a Rules committee hearing next week, (Monday April 9) but it’s not on the agenda, sadly.  The big hurdle will be getting an appropriation to cover the state match into the budget.

SB 1470  Sunrise process; health professions

After a dramatic start, this bill looks like it will have a consensus ending.  The sunrise process bill stakeholders negotiated changes to the current scope of practice sunrise process that everybody seems to be able to live with.  It passed in House this week by a 59-0 vote. It’s now ready for the Senate to concur in the House’s amendment.

Celebrate Public Health Week

 

What do you think is most responsible for the increase in life expectancy over the last century – the improvements in medical technology or improvements in public health? 

The answer is clear, it’s public health.  During the 20th century, the health and life expectancy of Americans persons improved dramatically. Since 1900, the average lifespan lengthened by more than 30 years- and 25 of that was from public health interventions like vaccinations, car safety, workplace health and safety improvements and safer and healthier foods.

This week marks the American Public Health Association’s National Public Health Week.  During Public Health Week we celebrate the successes of public health over the decades and look to the present and future as we build action plans to continue our success.   As Arizona’s Affiliate Organization to the APHA, the Arizona Public Health Association we’re proud to celebrate in unity with our public health system. Today we focus on infectious diseases.

 

Why should I care?

To date, the world has eradicated only one infectious human disease, smallpox, and one animal disease, rinderpest. (Though after decades of work, we're closer than ever to eradicating polio, too .) What keeps the rest of those communicable diseases at bay is prevention. And that requires a combination of strong public health systems, access to medical and preventive care and individual responsibility. No one can fight off infectious disease on his or her own.

Public Health: If there's a front line in the fight against communicable disease, it's being manned by your local, state and federal public health officials. These are the professionals who monitor our environments for dangerous viruses and bacteria, investigate and contain disease outbreaks and administer key education and immunization programs. Public health workers are also our first responders, protecting us from emerging communicable disease threats such as Zika, Ebola and pandemic flu.

Access to care: Widening people's access to health insurance and medical care can prevent communicable disease in the first place, offer timely treatments to those who are sick and cut down the chance of community transmission. For example, after the Affordable Care Act required insurers to cover preventive services, young women were much more likely to get immunized against human papillomavirus, the communicable disease linked to cervical cancer. People with health insurance are also more likely to report timely care and are less likely to go without needed care because it costs too much. Finally, ensuring everyone has access to care protects the larger community from preventable and costly disease: For example, early access to antiretroviral therapy reduces the chance of HIV transmission.

Individual responsibility: Fending off communicable disease requires personal action, too. It's up to us to get immunized against the flu and encourage our loved ones to do the same. Flu vaccine effectiveness can vary year to year, but it can reduce your chance of getting sick by up to 60 percent. And remember: immunizations aren't just about you — it’s also about protecting those for whom vaccine-preventable diseases are a deadly threat, such as the very young, very old and people with compromised immune systems.

What can I do?

Learn how to protect yourself from communicable diseases. Visit APHA’s Get Ready campaign for resources on flu immunizations and hand-washing. Talk to your teens about preventing sexually transmitted diseases — surveys show parents actually have a big influence on teen decisions abut sex. And take precautions to protect yourself from disease vectors like mosquitoes and ticks. If you’re traveling out of the country, take the necessary precautions to keep yourself healthy and avoid bringing an uninvited guest back home.

Let's Celebrate National Public Health Week Together

Join AzPHA in Celebrating National Public Health Week!

What do you think is most responsible for the increase in life expectancy over the last century – the improvements in medical technology or improvements in public health? 

The answer is clear, it’s public health.  During the 20th century, the health and life expectancy of Americans persons improved dramatically. Since 1900, the average lifespan lengthened by more than 30 years- and 25 of that was from public health interventions like vaccinations, car safety, workplace health and safety improvements and safer and healthier foods.

This week marks the American Public Health Association’s National Public Health Week.  During Public Health Week we celebrate the successes of public health over the decades and look to the present and future as we build action plans to continue our success.   As Arizona’s Affiliate Organization to the APHA, the Arizona Public Health Association we’re proud to celebrate in unity with our public health system. Today we start with Behavioral Health

About one in every five U.S. adults — or more than 43 million people — experience mental illness in a given year. And one in five youth ages 13 to 18 experiences a severe mental disorder at some point in their lives. Mental illness is associated with billions of dollars in care and lost productivity each year.

At the forefront of today's behavioral health concerns is an epidemic of opioid addiction that's killing thousands of Americans each year — 91 people each day — and overwhelming local law enforcement, public health and child protective systems. The epidemic is so bad that it's the main factor driving the recent decline in average American life expectancy.

Addiction: Since 1999, overdose deaths from opioids, both prescription opioids and heroin, have increased by more than five times. In 2016 alone, opioids were involved in more than 42,000 U.S. deaths — that's more than any year on record. Every state has felt the impact of the addiction and overdose epidemic, but some states are being particularly hard hit. For example, in Ohio, increasing abuse of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, drove a more than 32 percent increase in drug overdose deaths between 2015 and 2016.

Mental illness: Across illnesses and injuries, brain disorders represent the single largest source of disability-adjusted life years in the U.S., accounting for nearly 20 percent of disability from all causes. Nearly 7 percent of U.S. adults, or 16 million people, have had at least one major depressive episode in the last year; about 18 percent experienced an anxiety disorder; and about half of the more than 20 million adults struggling with addiction have a co-occurring mental illness. Less than half of U.S. adults with a mental health condition received any care in the past year.

Suicide: The U.S. suicide rate increased 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, going up for both men and women and among people of nearly all ages. In 2015, suicide was one of the nation's leading causes of death, taking the lives of more than 44,000 people. As with most health issues, suicide doesn't affect all communities the same: Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are at significantly higher risk of suicide , as are American Indians and Alaska Natives.

What can you do?

Support policies that acknowledge addiction as a chronic and preventable disease. Recent data show that only about 10 percent of the millions who need addiction treatment actually get it. But some policies do make a positive difference, namely the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. Spending on Medicaid-covered prescriptions for both opioid addiction treatment and overdose prevention went up dramatically after ACA implementation — meaning the law is opening access to what is often life-saving care. Advocates warn that rolling back Medicaid access would be especially devastating for states dealing with rising overdose death rates.

If you’re a health professional, learn about CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain and share them with colleagues.

Support parity for mental health. The ACA established parity between physical and mental care, designating mental health and substance use disorder services as essential health benefits that insurers must cover. The result:the ACA expanded parity protections for 62 million Americans.

#SpeakForHealth in support of the ACA and its success in opening access to mental health and addiction care. Visit APHA's advocacy page to stay informed on the latest policy issues, and write to your members of Congress.

Learn more about suicide warning signs and help others find support: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: April 2, 2018

 

Legislative Session Update

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods passed in the House last week by a wide margin (57–1).  It was amended slightly from its original Senate version (giving grades 4 & 5 an extra year to implement).  It’s headed back to the Senate with the amendment.  District and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5 if it passes. Good news.

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women unanimously cleared the House Appropriations committee this week!  The next stop is the House Rules committee (which shouldn’t be a problem).  It’ll then be ready for a House floor vote. The big hurdle will be getting an appropriation to cover the state match into the budget. We’re trying to get a closer estimate of what it’ll take for the state match.  Senator Yee is the sponsor- which is a good thing because she’s the Senate Majority leader and will be influential during the budget negotiations.

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program removes the trigger that would automatically freeze the KidsCare program if federal matching drops below 100%.  It was heard but not voted on in the Senate Appropriations committee last week.  The contents of the bill were struck onto SB 1087.  HB 2127 is now dead since it didn’t pass out of a committee in the Senate, but it’s still possible for SB 1087 to get voted out of the House and then it would need to go back to the Senate.

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification is up for a floor vote in the Senate this afternoon.  To smooth the pathway for final passage, we’re supporting an amendment to the original bill that would “grandfather” current CHWs who’ve worked for 6 months over 3 years as a CHW & to prohibit the state and subdivisions from offering preferential public contracts for voluntarily certified CHWs. If we pass this week in the floor vote (with the amendment) the bill get transmitted back to the House because of the amendment.

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization passed the full Senate last week (22-8) but in a substantially weakened form. The original bill would’ve decriminalized needle exchange programs. The amendment only decriminalize programs when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of infectious diseases. The bill will now go back to the House to resolve the differences in the House and Senate forms.  Hopefully we can get the amendment removed.  If we can’t and it passes and is signed with the amendment it’ll have limited public health utility.

______

Here’s a snapshot of where the various bills we’re working on are in the system. 

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records (Signed into Law)

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats (Stalled in Senate)

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use (Now called SB 1290 as Striker) 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program (Now called SB 1087 as Striker)

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data (Ready for Senate Floor Vote)

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (Effectively dead)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (Needs Senate Rules Committee Approval)

HB 2323 Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses (Ready for Senate Floor Vote)

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification (Senate floor vote this week)

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization (Passed Senate- going back to House)

HB 2484 local food tax; equality (Signed by Governor)

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products (Signed by Governor) 

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods (Passed House- going back to Senate)

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match (Needs Rules Committee & Budget Line)

SB 1261 Texting while driving (Now HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school)

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation (Needs House Rules)

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women (Needs House Rules Committee)

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation (Failed in House now HB2235 in Senate as striker)

SB 1394 Abortion reporting (Ready for House Floor Vote)

 

Public Health-related bills that have been passed and signed so far:

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records was passed and signed last week.  Once it takes effect later this year, law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request. 

HB 2484 local food tax; equality, which will ban Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention.

SB 1022  DHS; homemade food products ADHS will be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years.

 

____

House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed and Signed

Law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Stalled in Senate

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  No action has yet been taken in the Senate so this bill is effectively dead.

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Stalled in Senate- now SB1290 in House

This bill had been languishing in the Senate after passing the House by a 45-15 vote. Because of its lack of movement in the Senate it had appeared to be dead again this year.  However, this week it reappeared as a Strike All amendment in the House again as SB 1290.  It got a unanimous pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last Thursday- so was back in business but is now being held in House Rules. 

If it passes and is signed, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device" and tanning facilities couldn’t claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or has health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this of course.

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Stalled in Senate- now SB 1087 in House

After passing the House, this bill had been languishing in the Senate and appeared dead.  However, it was resurrected this week in the form of SB 1087 and was passed again by the House Health Committee last Thursday.  It still needs another House floor vote before it goes back to the Senate again.  It would remove the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Ready for Senate Floor Vote

This bill is looking good and ready for a final Senate floor vote.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Died in Senate

This one would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 but stalled in the Senate.  Honestly, it looks dead.

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Still Needs Senate Rules Committee

This would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

HB 2323  Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

Ready for Senate Floor Vote

This bill adds contracted nurses to the list of people who are authorized to provide emergency inhaler medication in case of respiratory emergencies. Some charter and independent schools don’t employ nurses directly but engage them through contracts. Ready for a final Senate floor vote.

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Still needs Senate Floor Vote (this week)

This Bill is ready for a floor vote in the Senate, and we’re on the COW calendar in the afternoon of Monday, April 2.  To smooth the pathway for final passage, we’re supporting an amendment to the original bill that would “grandfather” current CHWs who have worked for 6 months over three years and prohibit the state or it's subdivisions from offering preferential public contracts for voluntarily certified CHWs.

This Bill is a top priority for us. It asks the ADHS to develop a voluntary certification program for community health workers. The rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements.

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Passed Senate in Weak Form- going back to House

This passed the full Senate last week (22-8) but in a substantially weakened form. The original bill essentially would have decriminalized needle exchange programs. One of the amendments from the Senate makes it so that needle exchange would only be decriminalized when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of infectious diseases. The bill will now go back to the House to resolve the differences in the House and Senate forms.  Hopefully we can get the amendment removed.  If we can’t and it passes and is signed as amended it’ll have limited public health utility.

HB 2484 local food tax; equality

Signed by Governor

Last week the Governor signed which will ban Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention. The bill doesn’t specifically mention taxes on sugary drinks, but states that any tax on food needs to be uniform.  products must be uniform. Right now, there aren’t any Arizona cities or counties that are taxing soda and other sugary drinks, and this new law will ensure that it stays that was. 

The APHA has a Policy Statement on the topic that states in part that: Research has shown that “Sugar-sweetened beverages are price elastic: it is estimated that every 10% increase in price would decrease consumption by 10%. A recent study revealed that a penny-per-ounce tax would reduce consumption by 15% among adults 25–64 years of age and prevent 2.4 million diabetes person-years, 95,000 coronary heart events, 8,000 strokes, and 26,000 premature deaths.”

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Signed by Governor

ADHS will be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Passed House- going back to Senate again

This passed in the House last week by a wide margin.  It was amended slightly from its Senate version by giving grades 4 & 5 an extra year to implement.  It’s now headed back to the Senate with the amendment.  District and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5 if it passes.  Good news.

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Needs House Rules Committee and Budget Line Item

This Bill earned a Do Pass recommendation from the House Appropriations Committee 2 weeks ago and is now needs House Rules review before a House floor vote (and of course needs to make it through the budget process). This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program. 

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program. 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Stalled in House now HB 2235

This bill failed to get a Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week (5-4) and is now HB 2235 as a striker.  It would have set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill.  

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Ready for House Floor Vote

This one would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).  The bill was given a Do Pass recommendation last week by the House Judiciary & Public Safety Committee- although it was amended slightly by removing the requirement that physicians ask and report specifically why the woman is asking for the procedure.

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Needs House Rules Approval

This would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week and was given a Pass recommendation by the House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs Committee this week.

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

Needs House Rules and Floor Vote & a Budget Line Item

Last week SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women unanimously cleared the House Appropriations committee this week!  The next stop is the House Rules committee (which shouldn’t be a problem). It would then be ready for a House floor vote. The big hurdle will be getting an appropriation to cover the state match into the budget. We’re trying to get a close to accurate estimate of what it will take.  Senator Yee is the sponsor- which is a good thing because she’s the Senate Majority leader and will be influential during the budget negotiations.

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.  The benefit would be limited to $1,000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1,000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

SB 1470  Sunrise process; health professions

Passed Senate 21 – 9; being amended

SB 1470 would change the scope of practice system so that all a profession needs to do is prepare a written sunrise report right before the regular legislative session. It would allow the legislative standing committees (rather than Committees of Reference) to consider a sunrise proposal. During legislative session, long agendas and the fast pace limits the time to consider serious issues impacted by changes in scope of practice, including prescribing, complex health care procedures, complicated review, and reflection on curriculum, training and education.

We had a Public Health Policy Committee call last week and recommended to our Board that we take a position opposing the bill- which we did last week.  I testified that, rather than eliminating the pre-session hearings for scope of practice changes that they consider modifying the bill so that requests for new Scope changes go to the ADHS Director for a recommendation back to the Legislature. 

The Bill passed the House Government Committee last week.  There was reportedly a stakeholder meeting on the bill last week.  Still being Held in the House Rules Committee.

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Opioid Prescribing Continuing Medical Education

Beginning April 26, physicians will need to complete 3 credits/hours of opioid-related, substance use-related, or addiction-related continuing medical education each licensing cycle. The Arizona Center for Rural Health and Office of Continuing Medical Education (OCME) have developed free Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guideline courses to help facilitate compliance with this new requirement. The coursework offers modules on:

  • Safe Prescribing of Opioids for Pain Management
  • Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing While Managing Acute and Chronic Pain
  • Managing Opioid Misuse Disorder in Pregnancy and Neonatal Care

These courses familiarize prescribers with current guidelines for opioid use and prescribing, as well as educate prescribers about non-opioid strategies for pain management. All courses offer AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM. Access courses at: http://vlh.com/AZPRescribing.

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Remember to register for our April 11 Spring Conference:

Together for Tomorrow: Protecting Arizona’s Children

View Agenda | Sponsorship Packet

 REGISTER TODAY!

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: March 26, 2018

Governor’s School & Firearm Safety Proposal

Last week the Governor proposed a conceptual initiative that would do several things related to school safety. I haven’t seen an actual bill, but the media release mentions the following items:

  • Increase behavioral health resources in schools

  • Increase school resource officer funding and training and increases the presence of law enforcement on school grounds

  • Severe Threat Order of Protection orders that would restrict firearm access for people who are a danger to themselves or others

  • Enhances some background checks by improving the completeness and accuracy of the criminal history database

  • Establishes a “Center for School Safety” with a centralized reporting tip line to report and investigate concerns of school safety

 

Federal Budget Drama is Finally Over

Last week the US House and Senate passed and the President finally signed a budget for this fiscal year. Here’s what the budget contains related to the federal public health agencies:

  • CDC: $8.3 billion, an increase of $1B from the FY17 level of $7.2 billion. Total funding includes $800 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Specific allocations include: $350 million to address the opioid epidemic; $480 million for construction of a new BSL 4 lab at CDC; $160 million for the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant; and increases for several CDC programs.

  • HRSA: $7 billion, an increase of $550 million above FY17. This funding includes a $10 million increase for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant.

  • SAMHSA: $5 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion above FY17. It includes more than $1.7 billion to address opioid and heroin abuse—an increase of $1.5 billion above FY17. This includes $500 million for the state opioid response grants.

 

Legislative Session Update 

Committee Highlights Last Week

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records was passed and signed last week.  Once it takes effect later this year, law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use had been languishing in the Senate after passing the House by a 45-15 vote. Because of its lack of movement in the Senate it had appeared to be dead again this year.  However, this week it reappeared as a Strike All amendment in the House again as SB 1290.  It got a unanimous pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last Thursday- so it’s back in business.  It’ll still need another House Floor vote before going back to the Senate again.  If it passes and is signed, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device" and tanning facilities couldn’t claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or has health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this of course.

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program had been languishing in the Senate and appeared dead. However, it was resurrected this week in the form of SB 1087 and was passed again by the House Health Committee last Thursday.  It still needs another House floor vote before it goes back to the Senate again.  It would remove the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match earned a Do Pass recommendation from the House Appropriations Committee last week and is now ready for a House floor vote (and of course needs to make it through the budget process). It has passed through the Senate already.  This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  It would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program. 

SB 1261 Texting while driving has been languishing for the last few weeks, as it hasn’t been called up for a floor vote in the Senate.  Last week, the language from SB 1261 was added as an amendment onto HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school.  This bill, with the addition of the texting language, is now in the House awaiting a final vote.  If anybody has influence with Speaker Mesnard now would be a great time to contact him and ask him to bring it to the floor.

Last week the Governor signed HB 2484 local food tax; equality which will ban Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention. The bill doesn’t specifically mention taxes on sugary drinks, but states that any tax on food needs to be uniform.  products must be uniform. Right now, there aren’t any Arizona cities or counties that are taxing soda and other sugary drinks, and this new law will ensure that it stays that was. 

The APHA has a Policy Statement on the topic that states in part that: Research has shown that “Sugar-sweetened beverages are price elastic: it is estimated that every 10% increase in price would decrease consumption by 10%. A recent study revealed that a penny-per-ounce tax would reduce consumption by 15% among adults 25–64 years of age and prevent 2.4 million diabetes person-years, 95,000 coronary heart events, 8,000 strokes, and 26,000 premature deaths.”

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women cleared the House Health committee this week. The next stop is the House Appropriations committee (It previously was passed in the Senate).  This Bill would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.   Because it involves money, it’ll also need to get funded during the budget making process.

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.  The benefit would be limited to $1,000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1,000 in emergency dental services per year.  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

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Committee Hearings this Week

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification and HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization are on the Monday, March 26 Senate Rules Committee on Rules Agenda at 1pm in Caucus Room 1 (no testimony is taken in Rules committees)

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program is on the Tuesday, March 27 Senate Appropriations Committee Agenda at 2pm in Room SHR109

SB1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women is on the Wednesday, March 28 House Appropriations Committee Agenda at 1pm in Room HHR1

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Here’s a snapshot of where the various bills we’re working on are in the system. 

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records (Signed into Law)

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats (Stalled in Senate)

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use (Now called SB 1290 as Striker) 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program (Now called SB 1087 as Striker)

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data (Ready for Senate Floor Vote)

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (Effectively dead)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (Needs Senate Rules Committee Approval)

HB 2323 Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses (Ready for Senate Floor Vote)

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification (Needs Sen. Rules Com. Approval)

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization (Needs Sen. Rules Com. Approval)

HB 2484 local food tax; equality (Signed by Governor)

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products (On Governor’s Desk) 

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods (Needs House Floor Vote)

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match (Needs Rules Committee & Budget Line)

SB 1261 Texting while driving (Now HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school)

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation (Needs House Rules)

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women (Needs House Approps and Rules Com)

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation (Failed in House now HB2235 in Senate as striker)

SB 1394 Abortion reporting (Ready for House Floor Vote)

 

Public Health-related bills that have been passed and signed so far:

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records was passed and signed last week.  Once it takes effect later this year, law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request. 

HB 2484 local food tax; equality, which will ban Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention.

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Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.  Click the following links for: Request to Speak account registration form; a Step-by-step use of the Request to Speak platform; and to Locate your Elected Official

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House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed and Signed

Law enforcement agencies will now be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Stalled in Senate

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  No action has yet been taken in the Senate so this bill is effectively dead.

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Stalled in Senate- now SB1290 in House

This bill had been languishing in the Senate after passing the House by a 45-15 vote. Because of its lack of movement in the Senate it had appeared to be dead again this year.  However, this week it reappeared as a Strike All amendment in the House again as SB 1290.  It got a unanimous pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last Thursday- so it’s back in business.  It’ll still need another House Floor vote before going back to the Senate again.  If it passes and is signed, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device" and tanning facilities couldn’t claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or has health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this of course.

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Stalled in Senate- now SB 1087 in House

After passing the House, this bill had been languishing in the Senate and appeared dead.  However, it was resurrected this week in the form of SB 1087 and was passed again by the House Health Committee last Thursday.  It still needs another House floor vote before it goes back to the Senate again.  It would remove the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Ready for Senate Floor Vote

This bill is looking good and ready for a final Senate floor vote.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Died in Senate

This one would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 but stalled in the Senate.  Honestly, it looks dead.

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Still Needs Senate Rules Committee

This would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

HB 2323   Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

Ready for Senate Floor Vote

This bill adds contracted nurses to the list of people who are authorized to provide emergency inhaler medication in case of respiratory emergencies. Some charter and independent schools don’t employ nurses directly but engage them through contracts. Ready for a final Senate floor vote.

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Still needs Senate Rules Committee

This Bill got a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee last week (7-0-1).  As you’ll recall, the week before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave it a Do Pass recommendation. We’re getting a lot closer to the finish line. Our next hurdle will be the Senate Rules Committee followed by a floor vote in the Senate.  Because there are some changes in the language since it passed the House, it’ll need to go back to accommodate those differences after that.  But it is looking good! 

This Bill is a top priority for us. It asks the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers. The rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements.

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Amended and Weakened- and Needs Senate Rules

This Bill was substantially amended in the Senate Government Committee last week.  The bill (as amended) passed the committee, but in its amended form will be much less helpful as a public health intervention.  The original bill essentially would have decriminalized needle exchange programs.  The amendment makes it such that needle exchange would only be decriminalized when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of infectious diseases. Hopefully we can get the amendment removed.  If we can’t and it passes and is signed as amended it’ll have very little public health utility.

HB 2484 local food tax; equality

Signed by Governor

Last week the Governor signed which will ban Arizona cities and counties from taxing sugary drinks as a public health intervention. The bill doesn’t specifically mention taxes on sugary drinks, but states that any tax on food needs to be uniform.  products must be uniform. Right now, there aren’t any Arizona cities or counties that are taxing soda and other sugary drinks, and this new law will ensure that it stays that was. 

The APHA has a Policy Statement on the topic that states in part that: Research has shown that “Sugar-sweetened beverages are price elastic: it is estimated that every 10% increase in price would decrease consumption by 10%. A recent study revealed that a penny-per-ounce tax would reduce consumption by 15% among adults 25–64 years of age and prevent 2.4 million diabetes person-years, 95,000 coronary heart events, 8,000 strokes, and 26,000 premature deaths.”

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Sent to Governor

ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support. Being heard in the House Health Committee this week (Thursday).  Should have no problems at all.

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Ready for House Floor Vote

District and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5 if this passes. We’ve signed in support of this bill because there is good evidence that opportunities for physical activity at school are associated with improved health, behavior, and academic achievement of students.  Here is a good evidence review from the CDC entitled The Association Between School-based Physical Activity and Academic Performance. Great couple of weeks for this bill. Hopefully there’s a floor vote on this shortly.

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Needs House Rules Committee and Budget Line Item

This Bill earned a Do Pass recommendation from the House Appropriations Committee last week and is now ready for a floor vote (and of course needs to make it through the budget process). This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program. 

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program. 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Now HB 2159 and Moving Again in House

This has been languishing for the last few weeks because it hasn’t been called up for a floor vote in the Senate.  Last week, the language from SB 1261 was added as an amendment onto HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school.  This bill, with the addition of the texting language, is now in the House awaiting a final vote.  If anybody has influence with Speaker Mesnard now would be a great time to contact him and ask him to bring it to the floor.

This would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It has passed its committees and is ready for a floor vote, which hasn’t happened yet.  Not a good sign.

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Stalled in House now HB 2235

This bill failed to get a Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week (5-4), and is now HB 2235 as a striker.  It would have set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill.  

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Ready for House Floor Vote

This one would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).  The bill was given a Do Pass recommendation last week by the House Judiciary & Public Safety Committee- although it was amended slightly by removing the requirement that physicians ask and report specifically why the woman is asking for the procedure

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Needs House Rules Approval

This would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week and was given a Pass recommendation by the House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs Committee this week.

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

Needs House Approps and Rules Still

Last week SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women was given a pass recommendation by the House Health committee. The next stop is the House Appropriations committee (It previously was passed in the Senate).  This Bill would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.   Because it involves money, it’ll also need to get funded during the budget making process.

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.  The benefit would be limited to $1,000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1,000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

SB 1470  Sunrise process; health professions

Passed Senate 21 – 9; being amended

To be honest- this bill has been flying under the radar at least with me.  If it passes and is signed it’d make huge changes to the health professions scope of practice system we use today. The current sunrise process is a collaborative, inclusive process that allows time for consideration and review of the complicated health care delivery proposals.  The current process requires a Committee of Reference hearing, which allows a consideration of a proposed scope change and its potential patient safety and care implications.

SB 1470 would change the scope of practice system so that all a profession needs to do is prepare a written sunrise report right before the regular legislative session. It would allow the legislative standing committees (rather than Committees of Reference) to consider a sunrise proposal. During legislative session, long agendas and the fast pace limits the time to consider serious issues impacted by changes in scope of practice, including prescribing, complex health care procedures, complicated review, and reflection on curriculum, training and education.

We had a Public Health Policy Committee call last week and recommended to our Board that we take a position opposing the bill- which we did last week.  I testified that, rather than eliminating the pre-session hearings for scope of practice changes that they consider modifying the bill so that requests for new Scope changes go to the ADHS Director for a recommendation back to the Legislature. 

The Bill passed the House Government Committee last week.  There was reportedly a stakeholder meeting on the bill last week.  Being Held in the House Rules Committee.

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Public Health Bills that Failed

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

Dead for now

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  Dead for now.

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

Sadly, dead for now

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee three weeks ago but the Commerce chair hasn’t put it on the agenda, so it’s effectively dead for now. Kudos to Rep. Boyer for sponsoring this.

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Remember to register for our April 11 Spring Conference: 

Together for Tomorrow: Protecting Arizona’s Children 

View Agenda &

 REGISTER TODAY!

 

 

 

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: March 19, 2018

AHCCCS Update: Coding the Social Determinants of Health

ICD-10 diagnosis codes that relate to the Social Determinants of Health can be a valuable source of information to improve health outcomes.  Social Determinants of Health codes can identify the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age like education, employment, physical environment, socioeconomic status and social support networks- data that can provide managed care organizations information with which to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

AHCCCS is recommending that providers routinely screen for and document the presence of social determinants (as appropriate within their scope of practice) and to document them in claims data. AHCCCS will begin to monitor claims for the presence of these codes after April 1, 2018. You can review the Social Determinant ICD-10 Codes on the AHCCCS website.

 

FDA Proposes Rulemaking to Reduce Nicotine Levels in Tobacco Products

The FDA issued an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking” last week to get input for them to develop new standards for the maximum nicotine level in cigarettes. They say they’re interested in reducing the level of nicotine in cigarettes to make them “minimally addictive or nonaddictive”.  

Those of you that are familiar with the evidence base in this area should take this opportunity to provide input to the FDA. It has the potential to be a big intervention in our decades long battle public health battle with tobacco.  Electronic comments can be submitted through June 14 at https://www.regulations.gov

 

AzPHA Comments on ADHS School Vaccination Rulemaking

The ADHS has an administrative rulemaking open to adjust their school and child care vaccine requirements. Our public health policy committee turned in a response last week (it had a short comment period- just a week).  You can see our comments on the proposed rules on our AzPHA Blog). 

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Legislative Session Update 

Committee Highlights Last Week

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification had another terrific week. The bill got a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee last week (7-0-1).  As you’ll recall, the week before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave it a Do Pass recommendation. We’re getting a lot closer to the finish line. Our next hurdle will be the Senate Rules Committee followed by a floor vote in the Senate.  Because there are some changes in the language since it passed the House, it’ll need to go back to accommodate those differences after that. But it is looking good!  

This Bill is a top priority for us. It asks the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers. The rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements.

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data also had a good week, getting a pass recommendation from the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee last week.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability received a pass recommendation from the Senate HHS Committee last week.  This bill would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS (asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members).  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, but this would place the exemption into statute.

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization was substantially amended in the Senate Government Committee last week (not in a good way).  The amended bill passed the committee, but its amended form will be much less helpful as a public health intervention. The original bill essentially would have decriminalized needle exchange programs. The amendment makes it such that needle exchange would only be decriminalized when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of an infectious disease. Hopefully we can get the amendment removed.  If we can’t and it passes and is signed as amended it’ll have little public health utility.

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match earned a pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.  Its next stop is the House Appropriation Committees.  This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation failed to get a pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week (5-4).  It would have set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill. 

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation received a pass recommendation by the House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs Committee last week. This bill would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.

SB 1261 Texting while driving has been languishing for the last few weeks, as it hasn’t been called up for a floor vote in the Senate.  Last week, the language from SB 1261 was added as an amendment onto HB 2159 traffic violations; traffic survival school.  This bill, with the addition of the texting language, is now in the House awaiting a final vote.  If anybody has influence with Speaker Mesnard now would be a great time to contact him and ask him to bring it to the floor.

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Committee Highlights this Week

Monday, March 19th, Senate Commerce & Public Safety 2 pm, SHR 1

HB 2064:  medical marijuana; packaging; labeling

 

Wednesday, March 21st, House Appropriations 9 am, HHR1

SB 1245:  appropriation; SNAP; benefit match; produce

SB 1420:  medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

 

Thursday, March 22nd, House Health 9am, HHR 4

SB 1445:  AHCCCS; dental care; pregnant women

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The following public health related bills passed their committee of origin and have gone over to the other chamber. Some have been assigned to committees in the new chamber, but some haven't yet.  Where available, I've listed the committee assignments in the detail section below.  We’re keeping track of the hearing dates and times. 

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use      

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (we’re against this one)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (tribes)

HB 2323 Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products            

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

SB 1394 Abortion reporting 

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Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.  Click the following links for: Request to Speak account registration form; a Step-by-step use of the Request to Speak platform; and to Locate your Elected Officials

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House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed the House 57-0-2

Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one of course.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Passed House 33-25-1

Assigned to Senate HHS & Commerce and Public Safety Committees 

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  Dual assigned in the Senate, and not yet scheduled in either of the Senate committees.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Passed House 45 - 15

Assigned to Senate HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

Tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities couldn’t advertise or distribute materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this of course. Bummer that it's dual assigned in the Senate.

 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Passed House 46-12-1

Assigned to HHS & Appropriations Committees

This removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Passed House 60 – 0

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This bill had a good week, getting a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee last week.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

 

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Passed the House 31-27-1

Assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee

This one would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 last week and is moving on to the Senate Transportation Committee- not on their agenda yet.

 

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Passed the House 58-0-1

Passed in the Senate HHS Committee

This would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

 

HB 2323  Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

Passed House 58 – 0 - 1

Assigned to Senate Education Committee

This bill adds contracted nurses to the list of people who are authorized to provide emergency inhaler medication in case of respiratory emergencies. Some charter and independent schools don’t employ nurses directly but engage them through contracts.

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Passed House 56 – 1 - 3

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This Bill had another terrific week. The Bill got a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee last week (7-0-1).  As you’ll recall, the week before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave it a Do Pass recommendation. We’re getting a lot closer to the finish line. Our next hurdle will be the Senate Rules Committee followed by a floor vote in the Senate.  Because there are some changes in the language since it passed the House, it’ll need to go back to accommodate those differences after that.  But it is looking good!  

This Bill is a top priority for us. It asks the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers. The rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements.

 

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Passed House 56 – 0 - 4

Assigned to the Senate Government Committee

This Bill was substantially amended in the Senate Government Committee last week.  The bill (as amended) passed the committee, but in its amended form will be much less helpful as a public health intervention.  The original bill essentially would have decriminalized needle exchange programs.  The amendment makes it such that needle exchange would only be decriminalized when and where the ADHS declares a public health emergency because of the rapid spread of infectious diseases. Hopefully we can get the amendment removed.  If we can’t and it passes and is signed as amended it’ll have very little public health utility.

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Passed Senate 30-0

Assigned to House Health Committee

ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support. Being heard in the House Health Committee this week (Thursday).  Should have no problems at all.

 

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Passed Senate 26-3-1

Assigned to and Passed House Education Committee 9-0 on Monday

District and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5 if this passes. We’ve signed in support of this bill because there is good evidence that opportunities for physical activity at school are associated with improved health, behavior, and academic achievement of students.  Here is a good evidence review from the CDC entitled The Association Between School-based Physical Activity and Academic Performance. Great couple of weeks for this bill. Hopefully there’s a floor vote on this shortly.

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Passed Senate 25 - 5

Assigned to House Health and Appropriation Committees

This Bill earned a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.  Its next stop is the House Appropriation Committees.  This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  It has passed the full Senate and will be heard this Thursday at 9 am in House Health.  

 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Passed Transportation Committee- Ready for a Senate Floor Vote

This would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It has passed its committees and is ready for a floor vote, which hasn’t happened yet.  Not a good sign.

 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Passed Senate 22 – 8

Assigned to House Health Committee

This bill failed to get a Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week (5-4).  It would have set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill.   Being heard this week (Thursday at 9 am) in the House Health Committee.

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Passed Senate 17 - 13

Assigned to the Judiciary and Federalism, Property Rights & Public Policy Committees

This one would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).  The bill was given a Do Pass recommendation last week by the House Judiciary & Public Safety Committee- although it was amended slightly by removing the requirement that physicians ask and report specifically why the woman is asking for the procedure.

 

SB 1420 Medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Passed Senate 27 – 3

Assigned to House Military, Veteran and Regulatory Affairs Committee

This would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week and was given a Pass recommendation by the House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs Committee this week.

 

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

Passed Senate 27 - 3

Assigned to House Health & Appropriations Committees

Last week SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women was passed by the Senate (27 – 3).  This Bill would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members. It has moved on to the House and is assigned to the House Health Committee (which gave as similar bill a pass recommendation last year).  Because it involves money its also assigned to the House Appropriations Committee.  The benefit would be limited to $1000/year.  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.  The benefit would be limited to $1000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

 

SB 1470  Sunrise process; health professions

Passed Senate 21 - 9

Assigned to House Government Committee

To be honest- this bill has been flying under the radar at least with me.  If it passes and is signed it’d make huge changes to the health professions scope of practice system we use today. The current sunrise process is a collaborative, inclusive process that allows time for consideration and review of the complicated health care delivery proposals.  The current process requires a Committee of Reference hearing, which allows a consideration of a proposed scope change and its potential patient safety and care implications. 

SB 1470 would change the scope of practice system so that all a profession needs to do is prepare a written sunrise report right before the regular legislative session. It would allow the legislative standing committees (rather than Committees of Reference) to consider a sunrise proposal. During legislative session, long agendas and the fast pace limits the time to consider serious issues impacted by changes in scope of practice, including prescribing, complex health care procedures, complicated review, and reflection on curriculum, training and education.

We had a Public Health Policy Committee call last week and recommended to our Board that we take a position opposing the bill- which we did last week.  I testified that, rather than eliminating the pre-session hearings for scope of practice changes that they consider modifying the bill so that requests for new Scope changes go to the ADHS Director for a recommendation back to the Legislature.  

The Bill passed the House Government Committee last week.  There was reportedly a stakeholder meeting on the bill last week.  We’ll stay tuned.

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Public Health Bills that Failed to Thrive

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

Dead for now

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  Dead for now.

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

Sadly, dead for now

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee three weeks ago but the Commerce chair hasn’t put it on the agenda, so it’s effectively dead for now. Kudos to Rep. Boyer for sponsoring this.

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AzPHA Member Kelli Donley Publishes Again

COUNTING COUP is the latest novel by AzPHA member Kelli Donley, who works in public health in Phoenix. The book is about the Phoenix Indian School, and like Donley's other novels, has a strong public health theme. Here’s a short description of her book, which you can order from Amazon:

Happily consumed with her academic career, Professor Avery Wainwright never planned on becoming sole guardian of her octogenarian Aunt Birdie. Forced to move Birdie—and her failing memory—into her tiny apartment, Avery’s precariously balanced life loses its footing. 

Unearthed in the chaos is a stack of sixty-year-old letters. Written in 1951, the letters tell of a year Avery’s grandmother, Alma Jean, spent teaching in the Indian school system, in the high desert town of Winslow, Arizona. The letters are addressed to Birdie, who was teaching at the Phoenix Indian School. The ghostly yet familiar voices in the letters tell of a dark time in her grandmother’s life, a time no one has ever spoken of. 

Torn between caring for the old woman who cannot remember, and her very different memories of a grandmother no longer alive to explain, Avery searches for answers. But the scandal and loss she finds, the revelations about abuses, atrocities, and cover-ups at the Indian schools, threaten far more than she’s bargained for. 

About the author: 

Kelli Donley is a native Arizonan. She is the author of three novels, Under the Same Moon, Basket Baby and Counting Coup. Inspiration for this novel was found hearing colleagues’ stories about childhoods spent at the Phoenix Indian School. Kelli lives with her husband Jason, children and small ark of animals in Mesa, Arizona. She works in public health, and blogs at: www.africankelli.com.

____________

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 REGISTER TODAY!

AzPHA Letter to ADHS on Proposed Immunization Rulemaking for School Vaccination Requirements

March 15, 2018

 

Cara M. Christ MD

Director,

Arizona Department of Health Services

150 N 18th Avenue

Phoenix, AZ  85007


 

RE: Vaccination Rulemaking

Dear Director Christ:

I write on behalf of the Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA) – one of Arizona’s oldest and largest membership organizations dedicated to improving the health of Arizona citizens and communities.  An affiliate of the American Public Health Association, our members include health care professionals, state and county health employees, health educators, community advocates, doctors, nurses and students.

The AzPHA has examined the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) proposed Rulemaking to revise the rules in 9 A.A.C. 6, Article 7, Required Immunizations for Child Care or School Entry.  We are generally supportive of the rule package as it appears to clarify and improve the requirements for personal, medical and religious exemptions, makes the rules more consistent with standard medical practices, and better allows for electronic records and record-keeping.

However, we believe that the Department is missing an opportunity to update the child care and school vaccine requirements so that they are consistent with the CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations.  As you know, rulemaking packages are resource intensive and time consuming, and this may be the only opportunity for many years to update the Department’s vaccine requirements.

We urge the ADHS to update the requirements so that they (over time) are consistent with ACIP recommendations by adding a 2nd Varicella vaccine, the PCV 13 series, Rotavirus, and 2 Hepatitis A doses to the child care requirements.  We also urge you to add a 2nd Meningococcal vaccine, and the Meningococcal B at 16 years old to the school requirements.  We recognize that ARS 36-672 (C) prevents you from being able to add the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine to the vaccine requirements.

We understand that the requirements may need to be phased in so that pediatricians and families have the time needed to become compliant with the new requirements. 

For example, the ADHS could write the final Rule such that the vaccines with the highest current coverage levels (as reported in ASIIS) are phased in over the next 18 months.  Vaccines with lower current coverage levels could be phased in at later dates. 

This approach would allow the Department to responsibly phase the vaccine requirements using coverage projections while being a good steward of future Department Rulemaking resources and at the same time secure a healthier future for Arizona children and families.

Sincerely,

Will Humble, MPH

Executive Director,

Arizona Public Health Association

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: March 12, 2018

 

Firearm Safety Public Policy Changes in AZ?

There are rumors around the Capitol that the Governor’s Office is talking to stakeholders about potential firearm safety laws in Arizona. However, I haven’t seen or heard anything official. Here’s a piece from the Capitol Times that mentions the topic

The APHA and the American Journal of Public Health have opened up access to their collection of research papers, commentaries and essays on public health and firearms to non-members in an effort to share the surveillance and evidence that exists freely in hopes that it can be used to influence public policy. They’re hoping that it’ll contribute to “greater collaboration and smarter evidence-based policies that enhance firearm safety and prevent injury and violence”.

 

AHCCCS Awards Contracts to Provide Integrated Services
AHCCCS awarded managed care contracts to 7 managed care organizations last week.  They’ll be responsible for coordinating the provision of physical and behavioral health care services to 1.5 million Medicaid members starting October 1. Here are the awardees for the various regions:

  • Maricopa, Gila and Pinal Counties: Banner-University Family Care Plan, Care1st Health Plan Arizona, Health Choice Arizona (Steward Health Choice Arizona), Health Net Access, Magellan Complete Care of Arizona, Mercy Care, and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan.

  • Pima, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Yuma Counties: Banner-University Family Care Plan, Health Net Access, and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan (in Pima County only).

  • Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo, and Yavapai Counties: Care1st Health Plan Arizona, Health Choice Arizona (Steward Health Choice Arizona).

 

Report: Federal, state public health funding 'insufficient'
A new Trust for America's Health (TFAH) analysis finds that federal and state spending on public health "is insufficient." According to the report, available here, the CDC's core budget - not including the Prevention and Public Health Fund - has been "essentially flat for the last decade." Additionally, spending for public health by states has been declining.

 

Legislative Session News

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification was given a Pass recommendation by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last Wednesday (5-2) (after passing the full House by a wide margin a few weeks ago).  We have a big test on Monday 3/12 in the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee. This Bill is a top priority for us. It asks the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers. The rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements.

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data got a unanimous Do Pass recommendation (7-0) in Senate HHS. It passed the full House a few weeks ago by a wide margin.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

Meanwhile, HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Government Committee last week but was tabled until this week’s agenda Wednesday at 2 pm.

______

 

Committee Highlights this Week

Monday- Senate Commerce & Public Safety - 2 pm, SHR 1

HB 2197:  health professionals; workforce data

HB 2324:  community health workers; voluntary certification

 

Monday- House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs - 2 pm, HHR 3

SB 1420:  medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

 

Wednesday- House Judiciary & Public Safety - 2 pm, HHR4

SB 1394:  ADHS; reporting; abortions

 

Wednesday- Senate Government - 2 pm, SHR109

HB 2389:  syringe access programs; authorization

 

Thursday- House Health 9am, HHR 4

SB 1245:  appropriation; SNAP; benefit match; produce

SB 1377:  dental therapy; licensure; regulation

SB 1504:  developmental disability rates; appropriation

 

Thursday- Senate Education - 9am, SHR 1

HB 2088:  pupils; concussions; parental notification

HB 2323:  schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

________

 

The following public health related bills passed their committee of origin and have gone over to the other chamber. Some have been assigned to committees in the new chamber, but some haven't yet.  Where available, I've listed the committee assignments in the detail section below.  We’re keeping track of the hearing dates and times.

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use      

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (we’re against this one)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (tribes)

HB 2323 Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products            

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

SB 1394 Abortion reporting 

____

Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.  Click the following links for: Request to Speak account registration form; a Step-by-step use of the Request to Speak platform; and to Locate your Elected Officials

_____

 

House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed the House 57-0-2

Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one of course.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Passed House 33-25-1

Assigned to Senate HHS & Commerce and Public Safety Committees 

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  Dual assigned in the Senate, and not yet scheduled in either of the Senate committees.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Passed House 45 - 15

Assigned to Senate HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

Tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities couldn’t advertise or distribute materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this of course. Bummer that it's dual assigned in the Senate.

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Passed House 46-12-1

Assigned to HHS & Appropriations Committees

This removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Passed House 60 – 0

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  

This bill will also be heard in Senate Health and Human Services Bill Wednesday afternoon.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

Being heard this week in Monday’s the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee.

 

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Passed the House 31-27-1

Assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee

This one would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 last week and is moving on to the Senate Transportation Committee- not on their agenda yet..

 

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Passed the House 58-0-1

Assigned to Senate HHS Committee

This would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

 

HB 2323  Schools; inhalers; contracted nurses

Passed House 58 – 0 - 1

Assigned to Senate Education Committee

This bill adds contracted nurses to the list of people who are authorized to provide emergency inhaler medication in case of respiratory emergencies. Some charter and independent schools don’t employ nurses directly but engage them through contracts.

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Passed House 56 – 1 - 3

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill. Passed the Health and Human Services Committee last week and is up on Monday this week in the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee.

 

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Passed House 56 – 0 - 4

Assigned to the Senate Government Committee

This important bill will also be heard Wednesday afternoon in the Senate Government Committee. It would decriminalize needle exchange programs.  It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users. Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law can’t be charged or prosecuted for their activities. We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. 

Up this Wednesday in the Senate Government Committee- 2 pm in SHR 109.

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Passed Senate 30-0

Assigned to House Health Committee

ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support. Being heard in the House Health Committee this week (Thursday).  Should have no problems at all.

 

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Passed Senate 26-3-1

Assigned to and Passed House Education Committee 9-0 on Monday

District and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5 if this passes. We’ve signed in support of this bill because there is good evidence that opportunities for physical activity at school are associated with improved health, behavior, and academic achievement of students.  Here is a good evidence review from the CDC entitled The Association Between School-based Physical Activity and Academic Performance. Great couple of weeks for this bill. Hopefully there’s a floor vote on this shortly.

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Passed Senate 25 - 5

Assigned to House Health and Appropriation Committees

There was more good news with the passage of SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match by the Senate (25 – 5).  It’s assigned to House Health and Appropriation Committees too.  This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program. 

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  It has passed the full Senate and will be heard this Thursday at 9 am in House Health.   

 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Passed Transportation Committee- Ready for a Senate Floor Vote

This would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It has passed its committees and is ready for a floor vote, which hasn’t happened yet.  Not a good sign.

 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Passed Senate 22 – 8

Assigned to House Health Committee

This would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill.   Being heard this week (Thursday at 9 am) in the House Health Committee.

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Passed Senate 17 - 13

Assigned to the Judiciary and Federalism, Property Rights & Public Policy Committees

This one would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).  Up Wednesday this week in the House Judiciary & Public Safety at 2 pm.

 

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Passed Senate 27 – 3

Assigned to House Military, Veteran and Regulatory Affairs Committee

This would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week.  Up this week in the House Military, Veterans & Regulatory Affairs - 2 pm, HHR 3.

 

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

Passed Senate 27 - 3

Assigned to House Health & Appropriations Committees

This Bill would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members. It has moved on to the House and is assigned to the House Health Committee (which gave as similar bill a pass recommendation last year).  Because it involves money its also assigned to the House Appropriations Committee.  The benefit would be limited to $1000/year.  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.  The benefit would be limited to $1000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

 

SB 1470  Sunrise process; health professions

Passed Senate 21 - 9

Assigned to House Government Committee

To be honest- this bill has been flying under the radar at least with me.  If it passes and is signed it’d make huge changes to the health professions scope of practice system we use today. The current sunrise process is a collaborative, inclusive process that allows time for consideration and review of the complicated health care delivery proposals.  The current process requires a Committee of Reference hearing, which allows a consideration of a proposed scope change and its potential patient safety and care implications.

SB 1470 would change the scope of practice system so that all a profession needs to do is prepare a written sunrise report right before the regular legislative session. It would allow the legislative standing committees (rather than Committees of Reference) to consider a sunrise proposal. During legislative session, long agendas and the fast pace limits the time to consider serious issues impacted by changes in scope of practice, including prescribing, complex health care procedures, complicated review, and reflection on curriculum, training and education.

We had a Public Health Policy Committee call last week and recommended to our Board that we take a position opposing the bill- which we did last week.  I testified that, rather than eliminating the pre-session hearings for scope of practice changes that they consider modifying the bill so that requests for new Scope changes go to the ADHS Director for a recommendation back to the Legislature. 

The Bill passed the House Government Committee last week.  There is reportedly a stakeholder meeting on the bill this week.  We’ll stay tuned.

__

 

Public Health Bills that Failed to Thrive

 

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

Dead for now

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  Dead for now.

 

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

Sadly, dead for now

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee three weeks ago but the Commerce chair hasn’t put it on the agenda, so it’s effectively dead for now. Kudos to Rep. Boyer for sponsoring this.

____________

 

Register Today for our April 11, AzPHA Conference: Together for Tomorrow- Protecting Arizona's Children

Agenda | Sponsorship Packet

 REGISTER TODAY!

 

 

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: March 6, 2018

Legislative Session Update

Good news.  Last week SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women was passed by the Senate (27 – 3).  This Bill would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members. It has moved on to the House and is assigned to the House Health Committee (which gave as similar bill a pass recommendation last year).  Because it involves money its also assigned to the House Appropriations Committee.  The benefit would be limited to $1000/year.  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

There was more good news with the passage of SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match by the Senate (25 – 5).  It’s assigned to House Health and Appropriation Committees too.  This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  

______

 

Committee Highlights this Week

 

Senate Health and Human Services Committee- 2 pm Wednesday March 7

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

This Bill is a top priority for us. It asks the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers. The rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements.  The good news is that it’s being heard this week (Wednesday afternoon) in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

The members of the committee are Nancy Barto, Katie Hobbs, David Bradley, Kate Brophy McGee, Kimberly Yee,  Judy Burges, and Rick Gray.  Please contact these members today and let them know you support voluntary registration of community health workers.  You can also sign in using the RTS system.  Here’s some sample language to use:

“Thank you for hearing HB2324 (community health worker voluntary certification) in your HHS Committee next week. Community health workers establish and maintain trust, enabling them to serve as a liaison between health/social services and facilitating access to services and work to provide high quality and culturally competent service delivery- important tools to reduce costs and improve outcomes- especially for chronic diseases like diabetes.

Voluntary certification is an important next step in better using the CHW workforce in AZ's managed care healthcare system.  While many providers currently employ and contract with CHWs, voluntary certification will provide an additional level of assurance that voluntarily certified CHWs meet a set of core competency requirements- allowing AZs provider network to elect to use this workforce to improve outcomes and reduce costs.”

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

This bill will also be heard in Senate Health and Human Services Bill Wednesday afternoon.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

 

Senate Government Committee - 2 pm Wednesday March 7

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

This important bill will also be heard Wednesday afternoon in the Senate Government Committee. It would decriminalize needle exchange programs.  It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users. Under this bill, persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law couldn't be charged or prosecuted for their activities. We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. 

________

The following public health related bills passed their committee of origin and have gone over to the other chamber. Some have been assigned to committees in the new chamber, but some haven't yet.  Where available, I've listed the committee assignments in the detail section below.  We’re keeping track of the hearing dates and times.

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use      

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (we’re against this one)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (tribes)

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products            

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

____

Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.  Click the following links for: Request to Speak account registration form; a Step-by-step use of the Request to Speak platform; and to Locate your Elected Officials 

_____

House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed the House 57-0-2

Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one of course.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Passed House 33-25-1

Assigned to HHS & Commerce and Public Safety Committees 

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  Dual assigned in the Senate.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Passed House 45 - 15

Assigned to Senate HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

Tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities couldn’t advertise or distribute materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this of course. Bummer that it's dual assigned in the Senate.

 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Passed House 46-12-1

Assigned to HHS & Appropriations Committees

This removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Passed House 60 – 0

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  

 

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Passed the House 31-27-1

Assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee

This one would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 last week and is moving on to the Senate Transportation Committee.

 

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Passed the House 58-0-1

Assigned to Senate HHS Committee

This would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Passed House 56 – 1 - 3

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill.

Members of the committee are Nancy Barto, David Bradley, Kate Brophy McGee, Judy Burges, Rick Gray, Katie Hobbs, and Kimberly Yee.  You can contact these members directly by email (here is the list) and you can also sign in using the RTS system.

 

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Passed House 56 – 0 - 4

Assigned to the Senate Government Committee

This important bill will also be heard Wednesday afternoon in the Senate Government Committee. It would decriminalize needle exchange programs.  It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users. Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law can’t be charged or prosecuted for their activities. We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. 

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Passed Senate 30-0

Assigned to House Health Committee

ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support. Being heard in the House Health Committee this week (Thursday).  Should have no problems at all.

 

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Passed Senate 26-3-1

Assigned to and Passed House Education Committee 9-0 on Monday

District and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5 if this passes.  We’ve signed in support of this bill because there is good evidence that opportunities for physical activity at school are associated with improved health, behavior, and academic achievement of students.  Here is a good evidence review from the CDC entitled The Association Between School-based Physical Activity and Academic Performance. Great couple of weeks for this bill.

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Passed Senate 25 - 5

Assigned to House Health and Appropriation Committees

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  It passed the Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee. We’ve signed up in support of this Bill. Being heard in Senate HHS Wednesday.

 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Passed Transportation Committee- Ready for a Senate Floor Vote

This would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It has passed its committees and is ready for a floor vote, which hasn’t happened yet.  Not a good sign.

 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Passed Senate 22 – 8

Assigned to House Health Committee

This would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill. 

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Passed Senate 17 - 13

Assigned to the Judiciary and Federalism, Property Rights & Public Policy Committees

This one would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).

 

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Passed Senate 27 – 3

Assigned to House Military, Veteran and Regulatory Affairs Committee

This would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week.

 

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

Passed Senate

Assigned to House Health & Appropriations Committees

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.  The benefit would be limited to $1000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

 

SB 1470  Sunrise process; health professions

Passed Senate

Assigned to House Government Committee

To be honest- this bill has been flying under the radar at least with me.  If it passes and is signed it’d make huge changes to the health professions scope of practice system we use today. The current sunrise process is a collaborative, inclusive process that allows time for consideration and review of the complicated health care delivery proposals.  The current process requires a Committee of Reference hearing, which allows a consideration of a proposed scope change and its potential patient safety and care implications.

SB 1470 would change the scope of practice system so that all a profession needs to do is prepare a written sunrise report right before the regular legislative session. It would allow the legislative standing committees (rather than Committees of Reference) to consider a sunrise proposal. During legislative session, long agendas and the fast pace limits the time to consider serious issues impacted by changes in scope of practice, including prescribing, complex health care procedures, complicated review, and reflection on curriculum, training and education.

We haven’t taken a position on this yet- but we’ll talk about it on our Public Health Policy Committee call on Monday.  Seems like the risks outweigh the benefits on this one.

__

 

Public Health Bills that Failed to Thrive

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

Dead for now

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  Dead for now.

 

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

Sadly, dead for now

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee three weeks ago but the Commerce chair hasn’t put it on the agenda, so it’s effectively dead for now. Kudos to Rep. Boyer for sponsoring this.

____________

APHA Legislative Update

On Feb. 9, President Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The new law raises the current spending caps for defense and nondefense discretionary spending in fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019 by $165 billion and $131 billion, respectively. While APHA welcomed the increase in nondefense discretionary funding, the category of money that funds public health and other federal nondefense programs, the association is deeply disappointed that the bill also cut the Prevention and Public Health Fund by $1.35 billion over the next decade.

The bill used the cuts from the prevention fund in part to pay for reauthorizing community health centers, the National Health Service Corps and other expired health programs for two years. The bill also added an additional four years to the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance program, bringing the total reauthorization for CHIP to 10 years. The bill passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 71-28 and passed the House by a vote of 240-186.

After the bill passed, APHA issued a statement supporting the additional funding available for nondefense discretionary spending and urging Congress to work to ensure that some of the additional funding is directed to public health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The statement also expressed deep disappointment that Congress turned to cutting the prevention fund, a critical source of public health funding that currently makes up around 12 percent of the CDC’s entire budget. The Prevention Fund supports critical public health activities — including lead poisoning surveillance, vaccination initiatives and other programs — in every state and community across the country.

APHA members can send a message to their members of Congress urging them to ensure public health is adequately funded in FY2018.

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: February 27, 2018

Last week was pretty busy with lots of floor votes on many of the public health bills- the highlights were full chamber approvals of HB2324 (voluntary certification of community health workers), HB2389 (syringe access), and SB1083 (recess in schools).

Unfortunately the community health worker bill got assigned to both the Health and Human Services and the Commerce & Public Safety Committees in the Senate this week. That's a tough break- especially the PS/Commerce assignment.  The syringe access bill got a Government Committee assignment- which is encouraging I think.

Yesterday the House Education Committee voted 9-0 to give SB 1083 Schools; recess periods a Do Pass Recommendation.  The Bill passed through the Senate a couple of weeks ago.  It would require public and charter schools to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day in grades K-5. There was a lot of community support at the hearing yesterday, which is encouraging.

The following public health related bills passed their committee of origin and have gone over to the other chamber. Some have been assigned to committees in the new chamber, but some haven't yet.  Where available, I've listed the committee assignments in the detail section below.  Hearings will begin next week.

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use      

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (we’re against this one)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (tribes)

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products            

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

This week is light in terms of committee hearings.  That’ll pick up a lot next week.

____

Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.  Click the following links for: Request to Speak account registration form; a Step-by-step use of the Request to Speak platform; and to Locate your Elected Officials 

_____ 

House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed the House 57-0-2

Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one of course.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Passed House 33-25-1

Assigned to HHS & Commerce and Public Safety Committees 

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  Dual assigned in the Senate.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Passed House 45 - 15

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

Under this proposal, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities are prohibited from advertising or distributing promotional materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this of course. Bummer that it's dual assigned in the Senate.

 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Passed House 46-12-1

Assigned to HHS & Appropriations Committees

This Bill removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Passed House 60 – 0

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This Bill would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  

 

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Passed the House 31-27-1

Assigned to the Senate Transit Committee

This Bill would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 last week and is moving on to the Senate Transportation Committee.

 

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Passed the House 58-0-1

Assigned to Senate HHS Committee

This Bill would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Passed House 56 – 1 - 3

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This Bill is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill. Tough break this week because it's assigned to both the HHS and Commerce and Public Safety Committees. 

 

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Passed House 56 – 0 - 4

Assigned to the Senate Government Committee

Under this Bill, organizations in Arizona may establish and operate a needle exchange program.  Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law may not be charged or prosecuted for their activities. It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users. While many people thought that this should be included in the Opioid Special Session, it was not.

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. 

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Passed Senate 30-0

Assigned to House Health Committee

Under this Bill, ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.

 

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Passed Senate 26-3-1

Assigned to and Passed House Education Committee 9-0 on Monday

District and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5.  We’ve signed in support of this bill because there is good evidence that opportunities for physical activity at school are associated with improved health, behavior, and academic achievement of students.  Here is a good evidence review from the CDC entitled The Association Between School-based Physical Activity and Academic Performance. Great couple of weeks for this bill.

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Ready for a Floor Vote in the Senate

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  It passed the Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee. We’ve signed up in support of this Bill. Still needs a Senate floor vote.

 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Passed Transportation Committee- Ready for a Senate Floor Vote

This bill would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It has passed its committees and is ready for a floor vote, hopefully that happens this week.

 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Passed Senate 22 – 8

Not yet assigned to House Committees

This Bill was introduced last week and would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist.  Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill. 

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Passed Senate 17 - 13

Not yet assigned to House Committees

This Bill would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).

 

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Passed Senate 27 – 3

Not yet assigned to House Committees

This Bill would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week.

__

Public Health Bills that Failed to Thrive

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

Dead for now

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  Dead for now.

 

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

Sadly, dead for now

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee three weeks ago but the Commerce chair hasn’t put it on the agenda, so it’s effectively dead for now. Kudos to Rep. Boyer for sponsoring this.

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: February 21, 2018

Good Article about Community Health Workers from Rep. Carter

Representative Heather Carter wrote a very informative opinion piece in

the Capitol Times about how community health workers reduce healthcare costs and improve outcomes. Check it out!

 

AHCCCS Contract Award Schedule

Seven health plan contractors submitted bids to provide integrated physical and behavioral health services to the majority of AHCCCS members a few weeks ago. Awards will be announced by March 8 and implementation will begin October 1. Here’s the contract integration timeline.

 

Bidders include:

Banner – University Family Care Plan

Care1st Health Plan Arizona, Inc.

Health Choice Arizona, Inc. (Steward Health Choice Arizona)

Health Net Access, Inc.

Magellan Complete Care of Arizona, Inc.

Mercy Care

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan

 

Prior Quarter Coverage Waiver Open for Public Comments

AHCCCS is proposing a change in benefits for Medicaid members that would limit retroactive coverage to the start of the month of the person’s application.  Currently benefits are retroactive for the 3 months prior to the application.  AHCCCS is asking for comments from members, families, stakeholders and the public on the proposed change. Comments can be submitted by email to publicinput@azahcccs.gov.

Here’s the draft Prior Quarter Coverage Amendment.

 

The CDC has Recently posted Immunization Schedules online.

For Healthcare Professionals:

Immunization Schedules for Children & Adolescents

Immunization Schedules for Adults

 

For Everyone: Easy-to-Read Schedules

Children Birth through 6 years old

Pre-teens and Teens

Adults

 

Legislative Session Update

The following bills passed their house of origin and will be going over to the other chamber. Hearings in the other chamber will begin next week.

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (we’re against this one)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (tribes)

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products            

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

 

Priorities for this Week

Last week our top priority was to get SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women and SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match through the Senate Health and Human Services and Appropriations committees.  Fortunately, both received pass recommendations. Both still need to be heard by the Senate Rules Committee before going to the Senate floor.

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification passed through the House Rules Committee and is now ready for a floor vote.  HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization also received a pass recommendation from the House Health and the Rules Committees and is also ready for a floor vote.

So far we have one priority up for next week:

 

House Education Committee: Monday 2/26 2pm (HHR1)

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Under this Bill, district and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5.  We’ve signed in support of this bill because there is good evidence that opportunities for physical activity at school are associated with improved health, behavior, and academic achievement of students.  Here is a good evidence review from the CDC entitled The Association Between School-based Physical Activity and Academic Performance.

 

____

 

Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.  Click the following links for: Request to Speak account registration form; a Step-by-step use of the Request to Speak platform; and to Locate your Elected Officials

Below are the bills that we’re tracking and advocating for or against.  They’re in order of Bill number.  I included a colored comment to show where the bill is in the process.

 

House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed the House 57-0-2 – Going to Senate

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one.

 

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

Ready for a Floor Vote

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  We’re supporting this bill. It’s ready for a floor vote in the House.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Passed House 33-25-1 – Going to Senate

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  This Bill cleared the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee last Wednesday.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Passed House Health, Waiting for Rules Committee

Under this proposal, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities are prohibited from advertising or distributing promotional materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week but failed to get on the Rules Committee agenda- so this is likely dead.

 

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

Waiting on a Hearing in Commerce Committee

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee three weeks ago but the Commerce chair hasn’t put it on the agenda, so it’s effectively dead.

 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Passed House 46-12-1 – Going to the Senate

This Bill removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share. 

 

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Ready for a Floor Vote in the House

This Bill would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  This bill passed all of its committees and is ready for a floor vote.

 

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Passed the House 31-27-1 – Going to the Senate

This Bill would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 last week and is moving on to the Senate.

 

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Passed the House 58-0-1 – Going to the Senate

This Bill would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Ready for a Floor Vote in the House

This Bill is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee two weeks ago and the Rules Committee this week. It’s ready for a floor vote.

 

This would be a very good week to reach out to your State Representatives and Senator and let them know you support this measure as it will go to a Floor vote soon.  You can find their contact information at www.azleg.gov.

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Passed Senate 30-0 – Going to the House

Under this Bill, ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.

 

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Passed Senate 26-3-1 – Going to the House

Under this Bill, district and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5.  We’ve signed in support of this bill because there is good evidence that opportunities for physical activity at school are associated with improved health, behavior, and academic achievement of students.  Here is a good evidence review from the CDC entitled The Association Between School-based Physical Activity and Academic Performance.

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Ready for a Floor Vote in the Senate

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  It passed the Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee. We’ve signed up in support of this Bill. 

 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Passed Transportation Committee- Ready for a Floor Vote

This bill was introduced last week and would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It has passed its committees and is ready for a floor vote.

 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Passed HHS, Education & Rules Committee – Ready for a Floor Vote

This Bill was introduced last week and would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist.  Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill. 

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Ready for a Floor Vote

This Bill would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).  It has passed its committees.

 

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Passed Governance & Rules Committees – Ready for a Floor Vote

This Bill would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Government Committee last week.

View Agenda | Sponsorship Packet (Sponsorship Registration)

Early Bird ends MARCH 11, 2018 | REGISTER TODAY! 

 

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: February 14, 2018

The Legislative Committees are in full swing and agendas are full.  Several of the priority public health bills have been successful so far, but there’s a long way to go still. 

Last week the following bills passed their house of origin and will be going over to the other chamber:

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (we’re against this one)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (tribes)

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products            

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

 

Priorities for this Week

Our top Action priority this week is in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Wednesday at 2 pm when SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women will be heard along with SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match.  On Thursday in House Health HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization will be heard.

Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.  Click the following links for: Request to Speak account registration form; a Step-by-step use of the Request to Speak platform; and to Locate your Elected Officials

 

Wednesday

Senate Health and Human Services: 2pm

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant women who receive their health insurance coverage through AHCCCS.  The benefit would be limited to $1000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

Members of the committee are Nancy Barto, David Bradley, Kate Brophy McGee, Judy Burges, Rick Gray, Katie Hobbs, and Kimberly Yee.  You can contact these members directly by email (here is the list) and you can also sign in using the RTS system.

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  We’ve signed up in support of this Bill.  It hasn’t been scheduled for a committee hearing yet.

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

This Bill would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.). 

Thursday

House Health Committee: 9 pm

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Under this Bill, organizations in Arizona may establish and operate a needle exchange program.  Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law may not be charged or prosecuted for their activities. It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users. While many people thought that this should be included in the Opioid Special Session, it was not.

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment.  Hearing is in the House Health Committee Thursday morning (2/15). 

 

Below are a list of the bills that we’re tracking and advocating for or against.  They’re in order of Bill number.  I included a colored comment to show where the bill is in the process.

 

House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed the House 57-0-2

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one.

 

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

Hearing in House Commerce Committee Tuesday

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  We’re supporting this bill. It’s being Held right now by the Commerce Committee.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Passed House 33-25-1

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  This Bill cleared the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee last Wednesday.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Passed House Health, Waiting for Rules Committee

Under this proposal, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities are prohibited from advertising or distributing promotional materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.

 

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

Waiting on a Hearing in Commerce Committee

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee two weeks ago but so far the Commerce chair hasn’t put it on the agenda.

 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Passed House 46-12-1

This Bill removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Waiting for a Hearing in Rules Committee

This Bill would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.

 

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Passed the House 31-27-1

This Bill would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 last week and is moving on to the Senate.

 

HB 2222 Feminine hygiene products, requirements

Waiting for a Hearing in Rules Committee

This Bill would require the Arizona Department of Corrections to offer female inmates an unlimited supply of feminine hygiene products free of charge. We signed up in support, that the Bill received a Do Pass recommendation in committee (5-4).

 

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Passed the House 58-0-1

This Bill would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Waiting for a Hearing in the Rules Committee

This Bill is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.

This would be a very good week to reach out to your State Representatives and Senator and let them know you support this measure as it will go to a Floor vote soon.  You can find their contact information at www.azleg.gov.

 

HB 2348 Vehicle emission standards

Held in Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Existing AZ law requires Arizona vehicle emission standards to be consistent with federal law.  This Bill would require ADEQ to adopt the California clean air emission standards beginning on January 1, 2018.  It would just apply to the sales of new cars.

 

HB 2443  Medical services purchase, premiums

Waiting for a Hearing in the Health Committee- but not on agenda this week so it’s probably dead

The Bill would essentially allow Arizonans that don’t normally qualify for Medicaid to buy Medicaid health insurance.  It would ask AHCCCS to write the rules and regulations for the program including setting a premium that ensures people buying in would pay full freight.  If approved, it would allow people to buy in beginning on October 1, 2019. 

The bill is also contingent on CMS approval.  Here’s a link to a really good document that discusses the merits of a Medicaid buy-in system.  

 

Senate Bills

SB 1007  Motorcycle operation; riding between lanes          

Waiting for a Hearing in Transportation Committee

Under this proposal, motorcycle operators would no longer be prohibited from passing in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken and from operating a motorcycle between the lanes of traffic if they’re wearing a helmet.  We decided to take a position against this one in our Public Health Policy Committee last week. No action this week.

 

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Passed Senate 30-0

Under this Bill, ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.

 

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

Passed Senate 26-3-1

Under this Bill, district and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5.  We’ve signed in support of this bill. 

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

To be heard in Senate HHS Wednesday

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  We’ve signed up in support of this Bill. 

 

SB 1250 Food Producers, Ordinances

Failed 2-5 in Governance Committee

This Bill would make it clear that cities, towns and counties can’t restrict food producers including community gardens from producing food products with some exceptions and inspection authority.

 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Passed Transportation Committee- awaiting Rules

This bill was introduced last week and would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99. 

 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Passed HHS, Awaiting Education Committee

This Bill was introduced last week and would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist.  Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill. 

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

To be heard in Senate HHS Wednesday

This Bill would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).

 

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Passed Governance Committee 4-3, Waiting for Rules Committee

This Bill would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Government Committee last week.

______

 

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AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: February 6, 2018

 

New Bills this Week

Before we get to the committee agendas for this week- here are a few new bills that were proposed.

SB 1261 Texting while driving

This bill was introduced last week and would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It’s being heard at 2 pm today (Tuesday) in the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee.

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

This Bill was introduced last week and would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist.  Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position.  We haven't taken a position at this time.  It’s on the agenda in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee this Wednesday. 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

This Bill would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.). This one is being heard in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee Wednesday at 2 pm.

HB 2348 Vehicle emission standards

Existing AZ law requires Arizona vehicle emission standards to be consistent with federal law. This Bill would require ADEQ to adopt the California clean air emission standards beginning on January 1, 2018.  It would just apply to the sales of new cars.

HB 2512 Water program amendments

This Bill would provide a pathway for counties to exempt themselves from existing water use and extraction requirements.  It could post water supply issues in some parts of the state in coming years.

 

Committee Hearings this Week

This is a busy time of year in the Legislature.  Committees are in full swing and agendas are full. Below is a summary of the committee hearings… I’ve pasted a quick summary of the Bills that are being heard this week.  After that is a listing of the other bills that haven’t been heard in their committees yet.

Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.

 

Monday

House Military, Veterans, and Regulatory Affairs Committee

HB 2222 Feminine hygiene products, requirements

This Bill would require the Arizona Department of Corrections to offer female inmates an unlimited supply of feminine hygiene products free of charge. We signed up in support.  This Bill received a Do Pass recommendation in the Military, Veterans, and Regulatory Affairs Committee yesterday (5-4).

 

Tuesday 

Senate Transportation Committee @ 2 pm, HHR 1

SB 1261 Texting while driving

This bill was introduced last week and would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  We signed up in support.

 

House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources @ 2pm

HB 2512 Water program amendments

This Bill would provide a pathway for counties to exempt themselves from existing water use and extraction requirements.  

HB 2348 Vehicle emission standards

Existing AZ law requires Arizona vehicle emission standards to be consistent with federal law.  This Bill would require ADEQ to adopt the California clean air emission standards beginning on January 1, 2018.  It would just apply to the sale of new cars.

 

Wednesday 

Senate Government, Wednesday @ 2 pm, SHR 109

SB 1250 Food Producers, Ordinances

This Bill would make it clear that cities, towns and counties can’t restrict food producers including community gardens from producing food products with some exceptions and inspection authority. We've signed up in support.

 

Senate Health and Human Services, @ 2pm

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

This Bill was introduced last week and would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist.  Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill.  We haven't taken a position at this time.  

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

This Bill would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).

 

House Judiciary & Public Safety @ 2 pm HHR 4

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one.

 

Public Health Bills that Progressed Last Week

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

This Bill is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.

This would be a very good week to reach out to your State Representatives and Senator and let them know you support this measure as it will go to a Floor vote soon.  You can find their contact information at www.azleg.gov.

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Under this proposal, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities are prohibited from advertising or distributing promotional materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee last week.

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

This Bill would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee last week.

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

This Bill would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Government Committee last week.

 

Bills Waiting in the Wings

House Bills

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  We’re supporting this bill. It’s being Held right now by the Commerce Committee.

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  It cleared the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee last Wednesday.

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

This Bill removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level.  This one cleared the House Health Committee a couple of weeks ago.

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

This Bill would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential. No news on this one.

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

This Bill would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Under this Bill, organizations in Arizona can establish and operate a needle exchange program.  Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law may not be charged or prosecuted for their activities. It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users.

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. No hearings scheduled yet.

HB 2443  Medical services purchase, premiums

The Bill would essentially allow Arizonans that don’t normally qualify for Medicaid to buy Medicaid health insurance.  It would ask AHCCCS to write the rules and regulations for the program including setting a premium that ensures people buying in would pay full freight.  If approved, it would allow people to buy in beginning on October 1, 2019.  

The bill is also contingent on CMS approval.  Here’s a link to a really good document that discusses the merits of a Medicaid buy-in system.  It has not yet been assigned to a committee.

 

Senate Bills

SB 1007  Motorcycle operation; riding between lanes          

Under this proposal, motorcycle operators would no longer be prohibited from passing in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken and from operating a motorcycle between the lanes of traffic if they’re wearing a helmet.  We decided to take a position against this one in our Public Health Policy Committee last week. No action this week.

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Under this Bill, ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.  This bill as passed through both of it’s assigned committees over the last couple of weeks.

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

Under this Bill, district and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for kids in grades K-5.  We’ve signed in support of this bill.  It got a Do Pass recommendation from the Education Committee a couple of weeks ago and both Caucuses support it- a good sign.

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  We’ve signed up in support of this Bill.  It hasn’t been scheduled for a committee hearing yet.

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant women who receive their health insurance coverage through AHCCCS.  The benefit would be limited to $1000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one.

 

Federal Budget Drama Update

The House Appropriations Committee released the next Continuing Appropriations Act (H.J. Res 128) designed to update current continuing resolution that expires Thursday.  The proposed CR extends funding for the federal government through Mar. 23. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Community Health Centers: Provides $3.6 billion in FY18 and FY19.
  • National Health Service Corps: Provides $310 million in FY18 and FY19.
  • Family to Family Information Centers: Provides $6 million for FY18 and FY19.
  • Census: Provides $51 million to prepare for the 2020 census.
  • Medicaid Disproportionate Share: Eliminates the Medicaid DSH reductions scheduled for FY18 and FY19. The DSH reduction of $4 billion for FY20 remains and adds a total of $6 billion in additional DSH reductions to offset the cost of eliminating the FY18 and FY19 reductions.
  • Sexual Risk Avoidance Program (formerly Abstinence Education program): Provides $75 million in FY18 and FY19.
  • Personal Responsibility Education Program: Provides $75 million in FY18 and FY19.

The House is expected to vote tonight.  After that, the Senate will probably modify the bill and send it back to the House. All this needs to be done before midnight on Friday to avert another federal government shutdown.

 

AzPHA Comment Letter to CMS Regarding AHCCCS Work Requirement Directed Waiver

February 5, 2018

 

Seema Verma

Administrator,

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

7500 Security Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21244

 

RE: Arizona (AHCCCS) 1115 Waiver Application

Dear Administrator Verma:

I write on behalf of the Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA) – one of Arizona’s oldest and largest membership organizations dedicated to improving the health of Arizona citizens and communities. An affiliate of the American Public Health Association, our members include health care professionals, state and county health employees, health educators, community advocates, doctors, nurses and students.

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has requested permission through an 1115 Waiver Application to implement changes to its 1115 demonstration in response to its state legislation, (Senate Bill 1092). Through their amendment, AHCCCS requests to implement employment and community engagement requirements as a condition of Medicaid eligibility and bi-annual verification of compliance with employment and community engagement requirements as well as other changes in family income or other eligibility factors.  They have also asked for the authority to limit lifetime coverage for "able-bodied adults" to five years unless an individual is considered exempt by the state.

Section 1115 of the Social Security Act gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to approve experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects that are found by the Secretary to be likely to assist in promoting the objectives of the Medicaid program. The purpose of these demonstrations, which give states additional flexibility to design and improve their programs, is to demonstrate and evaluate state-specific policy approaches to better serving Medicaid populations.

A core tenant of these waivers is to conduct a robust evaluation of demonstration projects to properly gauge their effectiveness.  We urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to stay true to this commitment and withhold approval of the waiver.

until after AHCCCS submits an evaluation design that will satisfactorily measure the effectiveness of this waiver application in meeting the health and wellness needs of our nation’s vulnerable and low-income individuals and families. 

Because a comprehensive evaluation plan has not been submitted with this waiver application, it is unclear how the Administration will evaluate the plan’s effectiveness and meet the intent of the 1115 waiver requirements. 

For example, the application provides no insight into how AHCCCS will evaluate program impact on health outcomes and track and report on the number of individuals whose eligibility is discontinued due to failure to demonstrate compliance with the Waiver’s work/job training requirements.

It is unclear whether AHCCCS will track and report on the number of individuals who seek and obtain exemptions from the work requirement and how population impacts will be disaggregated by sociodemographic characteristics including age, sex, race, ethnicity and geography. The application does not discuss whether they will use external metrics such as hospital uncompensated care reports to provide early indicators of any potential provider impacts on changes in coverage that may result from the waiver.

AHCCCS identifies basic proposed evaluation methods such as the rate of employment, job seeking, education and employment support and development activities for able-bodied adults and state that they will track and report on the average household income.  However, their discussion does not constitute an evaluation plan. CMS guidance states that evaluations must assess program impact on health outcomes – a topic which is not addressed in the AHCCCS Waiver application.

We are aware the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the CMS Administrator are receptive to the kind of waiver request that AHCCCS is requesting, and that Section 1115 demonstrations are generally approved for an initial five-year period and can be extended for up to an additional three to five years, depending on the populations served. 

However, because of the large and challenging system changes that will be required by AHCCCS and members under this request, we strongly urge CMS to withhold any approval until the Administration submits a credible and robust evaluation strategy and plan.

We also urge CMS to limit any approval to 3 years, pending the results of an objective evaluation of the impact that these changes will have on vulnerable and low-income individuals and families.

Additionally, we urge CMS to ask AHCCCS for a complete and evidence-based rationale for how a 5- year limit on lifetime benefits could possibly further the mission of meeting the health and wellness needs of our nation’s vulnerable and low-income individuals and families. Many chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma require continual chronic disease management.  Without connection to care these conditions become more challenging and more expensive. With a 5-year limit on benefits, former members will be disconnected from care, resulting in poor outcomes and increased compensated and uncompensated care.

Additionally, there are many unknowns about how the Administration will implement the 5-year limit. For example, how will the Administration keep track of exempt member months over time and how will they be able to apply and allocate those months toward the 5-year limitation? What mechanisms will be used to allow members to supply the needed data, and how will the communication loop be implemented and maintained.

Sincerely,

 

Will Humble, MPH

Executive Director,

Arizona Public Health Association

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: January 30, 2018

Special Session Produces Opioid Intervention Product

Last week’s Special Session of the Legislature produced a robust new law that includes a host of new interventions to address Arizona’s opioid epidemic.  Here’s a link to the official document that describes the final new law.

Various pieces go into effect at different times, so all the provisions won’t be implemented all at once.  Some things have an expiration date.  For example, the Good Samaritan component of the law expires on July 1, 2023.

The new law has over 90 provisions that impact prescribing and dispensing practices, criminal prosecution, drug drop off locations, educational programs and a new fund to assist with treatment.  If you’re interested, the best thing is to examine it in detail.

This was a textbook example of solid public health policy development that included enhanced surveillance and analysis, a literature review, research of best practices, stakeholder input, and bipartisan consultation that resulted in a consensus bill.  It’s not perfect (for example it doesn’t decriminalize needle exchange) but it’s a testament to good public policy-making.

 

New Bills this Week

Before we get to the committee agendas for this week- here are a couple of new bills that were proposed.  AzPHA supports both of them.

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant women who receive their health insurance coverage through AHCCCS.  The benefit would be limited to $1000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one.

HB 2443  Medical services purchase, premiums

The Bill would essentially allow Arizonans that don’t normally qualify for Medicaid to buy Medicaid health insurance.  It would ask AHCCCS to write the rules and regulations for the program including setting a premium that ensures people buying in would pay full freight.  If approved, it would allow people to buy in beginning on October 1, 2019.  The bill is also contingent on CMS approval.

 

Committee Hearings this Week

Now that the Special Session is finished, the various House and Senate committees are back in full swing.  Several of the priority public health bills that we’re following are progressing through the system. 

Below is a summary of the committee hearings… I’ve pasted a quick summary of the Bills that are being heard this week.  After that is a listing of the other bills that haven’t been heard in their committees yet.

Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system. I gave a summary of how to sign up for the system in my policy update 2 weeks ago.

Tuesday

House Commerce, Tuesday, 1/30 @ 2 pm, HHR 1

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  We’re supporting this bill.

 

Wednesday

Senate Government, Wednesday, 1/31 @ 2 pm, SHR 109

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

This Bill would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.

 

House Judiciary & Public Safety, Wednesday, 1/31 @ 2 pm HHR 4

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one.

Thursday

House Health, Thursday, 2/1 @ 9 am, HHR 4

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Under this proposal, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities are prohibited from advertising or distributing promotional materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this.

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support of this bill.

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

This Bill would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

This Bill would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

This Bill is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill. 

 

Public Health Related Bills Waiting in the Wings

House Bills

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  This Bill cleared the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee last Wednesday.

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

This Bill would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This Bill cleared the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee last week.

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

This Bill removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share. 

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level.  This one cleared the House Health Committee a couple of weeks ago.

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Under this Bill, organizations in Arizona may establish and operate a needle exchange program.  Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law may not be charged or prosecuted for their activities. It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users.

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. No hearings scheduled yet.

 

HB 2222 Feminine hygiene products, requirements

This Bill would require the Arizona Department of Corrections to offer female inmates an unlimited supply of feminine hygiene products free of charge. We signed up in support.

 

Senate Bills

SB 1007  Motorcycle operation; riding between lanes          

Under this proposal, motorcycle operators would no longer be prohibited from passing in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken and from operating a motorcycle between the lanes of traffic if they’re wearing a helmet.  We decided to take a position against this one in our Public Health Policy Committee last week.

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Under this Bill, ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

Under this Bill, district and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5.  We’ve signed in support of this bill.

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  We’ve signed up in support of this Bill.  It hasn’t been scheduled for a committee hearing yet.

SB 1250 Food Producers, Ordinances

This Bill would make it clear that cities, towns and counties can’t restrict food producers including community gardens from producing food products with some exceptions and inspection authority.

Thanks... and check out our upcoming Spring Conference "Together for Tomorrow: Protecting Arizona's Children at www.azpha.org.

 

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AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: January 24, 2018

Opioid Special Session this Week

The Governor called a Special Session of the Legislature this week to facilitate the passage of a series of statutory changes to address Arizona’s Opioid epidemic. The Bill (called HB 2001 in the House) tackles a wide range of issues as identified in ADHS’ September 5 report.  Some of the interventions include:

  • Limiting the first-fill of opioid prescriptions to 5 days for opioid naïve patients and limiting dosage levels to align with federal prescribing guidelines (exemptions are included for cancer, trauma or burn patients, hospice or end-of-life patients, and those receiving medication assisted treatment for substance use disorder);
  • Expanding access to Naloxone for law enforcement or corrections officers;
  • Increasing oversight mechanisms, and enacting criminal penalties for manufacturers who defraud the public about their products;
  • Enhancing continuing medical education for all professions that prescribe or dispense opioids;
  • Enacting a Good Samaritan law to allow people to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose;
  • Requiring e-prescribing;
  • Requiring all pharmacists to check the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program prior to dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine; and
  • Identifying gaps in and improving access to treatment, including for uninsured or underinsured Arizonans, with a new $10 million investment.

The Bill is moving rapidly and received a pass recommendation from the House Health Committee on Tuesday. The expedited process and the Stakeholder meetings that were included during its development will likely result in quick passage and approval. AzPHA has signed up in support of the measure.

 

AHCCCS Proposes Ending “Prior Quarter Coverage”

Under Medicaid law, states are required to provide coverage beginning 3 months prior to the person’s application if the person would have been eligible during those months. Medicaid covers unpaid medical bills incurred during that time. 

The retroactive coverage ensures that enrollees aren't hit with medical bills for the 3 months before they applied for Medicaid if their income was so low that they would have been Medicaid eligible. It also provides an incentive for doctors and hospitals to treat uninsured Medicaid eligible people because they’ll be paid for the services once the person is enrolled. 

AHCCCS is proposing a Prior Quarter Coverage Waiver Amendment asking CMS’ permission to stop covering “prior quarter” coverage. The public has until February 25 to comment on the proposal.  Written comments can be sent to publicinput@azahcccs.gov.

You may want to think about framing your comments by urging CMS to require a 6 month or 1-year limit on the waiver and make final approval conditional upon an evaluation of the impact on hospitals' and community providers' uncompensated care burden as well as the effect on consumer medical debt and gaps in coverage prior to enrollment.

 

Federal Budget Deal Includes CHIP

The (temporary) federal budget bill that was passed and signed this week included a 6-year extension of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (called KidsCare in AZ).

Importantly, the federal contribution rate of 100% will stay in place until October 1, 2019.  When AZ approved the KidsCare program a couple of years ago- it was contingent on the fed’s continuing to pay 100% of the costs for the program. Under the current statute, if the federal contribution drops the program would be automatically frozen.

HB 2127 would remove the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100% and allow the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep Kids Care if the federal government drops its contribution level.  This will be heard in House Health on Thursday.

 

AZ Legislative Update

Last week I covered the Bills relating to public health that had been proposed as of last week.  Here are the new bills from this week:

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

This bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  We’ve signed up in support of this Bill.  It hasn’t been scheduled for a committee hearing yet.

 

SB 1250 Food Producers, Ordinances

This bill would make it clear that cities, towns and counties can’t restrict food producers (including community gardens) from producing food products with some exceptions and including inspection authority. 

 

HB 2208 Photo Enforcement

This bill would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement for red light running and speeding.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially photo red lights).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  SB 2208 will be heard in the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Bills Being Heard in Committee this Week

 

HB 2324 Community Health Workers; Voluntary Certification

This Bill (which is a priority for AzPHA) is being heard in the House Health Committee on Thursday, January 25.  It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

This Bill will be heard in the House Health Committee on Thursday.   Tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities are prohibited from advertising or distributing promotional materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this.

__________________

 

Yuma County Gets Grant to Combat Childhood Poverty

The National Association of Counties has selected Yuma County to be part of the Rural Impact County Challenge: National Effort to Combat Childhood Poverty.  The program is a partnership between the National Association of Counties and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation’s County Health Ranking and Roadmaps Program.  

Yuma County is part of a cohort of 11 communities selected nationwide to participate.  A link to the program can be found here: http://www.naco.org/resources/programs-and-services/rural-impact-county-challenge-national-effort-combat-rural-child.

AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: January 17, 2018

Voice Your Opinion this Legislative Session

As the leading public health professionals in the state, it’s important that you engage in public health policy development. After all, we’re the people that have first hand knowledge about the public health implications of the decisions that our elected officials make.

The good news is that it’s easier than ever to voice your opinion. Our state legislature has a transparent way to track bills through their www.azleg.gov website. The site allows you to track when bills are being heard in committee and provides an opportunity for you to express your support, opposition, or neutrality from your home or office.  

The main URL to bookmark in your computer is http://www.azleg.gov - which is the State Legislature's official website.  It got an overhaul last year making it easier to work with.

If you have the number for a bill you're interested in following, simply go to the upper right corner of the http://www.azleg.gov website and punch in the numbers. Up pops the bill including its recent status, committee assignments and the like. 

The dark blue tabs provide more detailed info about the bill.  For example, the “Documents” tab displays the actual language of the bill including the most recent versions.

You'll see that bills have committee assignments on the Bill Status pages. You can easily check the committee agendas each week on the website too.  Go to the "Committee Agenda" and pull up the agenda for the committee you’re interested in.  

Most of the bills we've been following and advocating for or against have been assigned to either the House Health Committee or the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  This year the House Health Committee meets on Thursdays at 9 am. The Senate Health & Human Services Committee meets Wednesdays at 2 pm.

I’m encouraging all of you to weigh in for and against bills when you believe that it’s in the best interests of public health to do so. It’s straightforward.

First you need to create an account with an e-mail address and a password. You’ll need to go down to one of the kiosks in the House or Senate to set up your account and password- but after that you’ll be able to sign in for or against bills from your home or office. If you don’t want to use your work email address you can use a personal e-mail.

The Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA) has created an alternative way for you to create an account.  You fill out this form granting the ACAA permission to create an RTS account on your behalf.  ACAA will create a default password for your account, which will need to be changed when you gain access to your account. 

Once your account is set up, you can sign in support or against any bill at the Azleg’s My Bill Positons site at https://apps.azleg.gov/RequestToSpeak/MyBillPositions 

Even if you don’t have an account, you can click on each bill and find out who has signed in for or against or neutral on the bill.  Just go to the tab over each bill that says "RTS Current Bill Positions" and you’ll see who has signed in support or against each bill. Sometimes you'll see our name up there (AzPHA).

 

Public Health Bills So Far

The legislative session just started last week. We’re in the initial phases of digging into the bills that have been proposed so far.  There are still a few weeks left for lawmakers to propose new bills- but here’s a summary of the ones we’re tracking so far:

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

SPONSOR: CARTER

This Bill would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill. 

 

SB 1010 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage

SPONSORS: FARNSWORTH D, BOYER                 

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support of this bill.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats

SPONSOR: BOLDING                 

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  It’s being heard in the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday.

 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

SPONSOR: COBB

This Bill removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep Kids Care if the federal government drops its contribution level.  This will be heard in House Health on Thursday.

 

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

SPONSOR: RIVERO

Under this Bill, organizations in Arizona may establish and operate a needle exchange program.  Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law may not be charged or prosecuted for their activities. It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users.

We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment.

 

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

SPONSOR: ALLEN S

Under this Bill, district and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5.  We’ve signed in support of this bill.

 

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products

SPONSORS: FARNSWORTH D, KAVANAGH                 

Under this Bill, ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years.  

This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support.

 

HB 2040 Pharmacy board; definitions; reporting

SPONSOR: CARTER                 

This Bill proposes various changes to the Board of Pharmacy functioning including requiring a medical practitioner, pharmacy or health care facility that dispenses a controlled substance to submit the required informational report to the Board once each day. We’ve signed up in support.

 

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records

SPONSOR: CARTER                 

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

SPONSOR: CARTER                

Under this proposal, tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities are prohibited from advertising or distributing promotional materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this.

 

SB 1007  Motorcycle operation; riding between lanes

SPONSOR: FARNSWORTH D                 

Under this proposal,motorcycle operators would no longer be prohibited from passing in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken and from operating a motorcycle between the lanes of traffic as long as they’re wearing a helmet.  

We haven’t taken a position on this yet.  Interesting that lane splitting would only be lawful if wearing a helmet.  Right now, only people under 18 are required to wear a helmet.  We’ll talk about this one in our public policy committee next week.

 

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling

SPONSORS: LEACH                 

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  We’ll talk about this one in our public policy committee next week.

 

HB 2014  Marijuana; civil penalty

SPONSOR: CARDENAS                 

Under this proposal, possession, use, production, or transporting for sale an amount of marijuana weighing less than one ounce is subject to a civil penalty of up to $100, instead of being classified as a class 6 felony.  We’ll talk about this one in our public policy committee next week.

 

HB 2030  Pain treatment; dosage limit; prohibition

SPONSOR: LAWRENCE                 

Under this proposal, state or any other political subdivision would be prohibited from limiting the morphine milligram equivalents per day of a schedule II controlled substance that may be prescribed for pain management by a licensed health professional.  We’re likely to oppose this on (but we haven’t done so yet).  

We’ll take a position once we know the content of the upcoming opioid special session.

 

HB 2033  Drug overdose; good samaritan; evidence

SPONSOR: LAWRENCE                 

Under this proposal, a person who seeks medical assistance for someone (or themselves) experiencing a drug-related overdose and who needs medical assistance can’t be charged with possession or use of a controlled substance as a result of seeking medical assistance.  

We will likely support this bill- but like 2033, we’ll wait for the special session.

 

SB 1016  Duty to report; life-threatening emergency

SPONSOR: KAVANAGH                 

Under this proposed Bill, a person who knows that another person is exposed to or has suffered a life-threatening emergency is required to report the emergency and its location to a peace officer, fire department or other governmental entity responsible for public safety. Violations are a class 1 (highest) misdemeanor.  

This bill isn’t what appears to be on it’s surface because it’s effect would be to penalize those that do not call for medical assistance rather that providing an incentive to ask for assistance like HB 2033 would do.  We will likely oppose this bill.

 

Opioid Special Session?

There are rumors circulating about the Capitol that the Governor will call a Special Session next week to tackle bills related to the opioid epidemic.  The Special Session would be triggered by an Executive Order that would call for the session.  We’ll continue to track this and weigh in on the policy proposals that come out of the session.

 

Federal Budget Update

Last night, Rep. Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, released the text of a Continuing Appropriations Act (H.J. Res 125). Fortunately, in this proposal, the Prevention and Public Health Fund isn’t used as an offset in this legislation. The bill includes the following provisions relevant to public health:

  • Federal Funding: The current continuing resolution expires this Friday, Jan. 19. This bill extends funding for the federal government through Feb. 16. 
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Extends funding for the CHIP program through FY23, provides a 11.5% Federal Matching Assistance Percentage (E-FMAP) in FY20, and returns to the traditional pre-Affordable Care Act matching rate in FY21, FY22, and FY23. 

There are many people that follow the federal budget process closely that believe it’s likely that there will be a temporary federal government shutdown because of complex issues like immigration reform and a border wall.

Public Health Policy Update: January 10

Governor to Call Special Session on Opioid Epidemic

During his State of the State address yesterday the Governor suggested that he’ll call for a Special Session of the Legislature to address legislation to mitigate the opioid epidemic in AZ. He said a package of opioid legislation will be released the week of January 15 along with an Executive Order calling for a special session. 

The legislative proposals will likely be aligned with the ADHS’ September 5 opioid report which is robust and has many practical and specific recommendations.  

There are literally dozens of specific recommendations, but I picked out a few of the more interesting ones below:

  • Impose a 5-day limit on all first fills for opioid naïve patients for all payers;
  • Require pharmacists to check the CSPMP prior to dispensing an opioid;
  • Require 3 hours of opioid-related CME for all professions that prescribe or dispense opioids;
  • Establish an all payers claims database to establish better surveillance data;
  • Eliminate dispensing of controlled substances by prescribers;
  • Regulate pain management clinics to prohibit “pill mill” activities;
  • Establish enforcement mechanisms for pill mills and illegal opioid dispensing;
  • Enact a good Samaritan law to allow bystanders to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose; and
  • Urging AHCCCS to ask permission to pay for substance abuse treatment in correctional facilities.

For the full picture you can visit the Report which is quite impressive and a testament to the team that developed the report.

We’ll be closely following the Special Session and we'll be advocating for proposals that are evidence-based and likely to make a difference.

 

AHCCCS Caps First Fill Opioid Prescriptions at 5 Days

AHCCCS issued a new policy that imposes “first fill limits” of 5 days for opioid prescriptions (the former limit was 7 days).  You can review the changes to the AHCCCS Medical Policy Manual 310-V, Prescription Medications-Pharmacy Services.

 

Federal Prosecutor Changes Medical Marijuana Guidance

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo last week that outlines the Administration’s federal marijuana enforcement policy. The memo basically directs U.S. Attorneys to enforce the Controlled Substances Act and to “follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities”.  It also reinforces “local control to federal prosecutors” regarding how to deploy Justice Department prosecutorial resources.

The memo ends the 2009 “Ogden Memo” policy that discouraged federal law enforcement and prosecutors from pursuing persons and organizations (e.g. dispensaries and cultivation facilities) in states where the drug is legal for medical and recreational use when people and organizations are acting in accord with their state’s laws.

The new policy could have implications for Arizona’s Medical Marijuana program.  With the issuance of this memo it’ll be up to Acting US Attorney for Arizona Elizabeth Strange to make decisions about what to do regarding persons that are in accord with the AZ Medical Marijuana Program but are in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

 

Federal Comment Period on AHCCCS Work Requirement Request

A 2015 AZ law requires AHCCCS to annually ask CMS for permission to require work (or work training) and income reporting for “able bodied adults” as well as a 5-year lifetime limit on AHCCCS eligibility.

A few weeks ago AHCCCS turned in their official waiver request asking permission to implement the following requirements for certain adults receiving Medicaid services: 

  • A requirement to become employed, actively seek employment, attend school, or partake in Employment Support and Development activities (with exceptions);
  • A requirement to bi-annually verify compliance with the requirements and report changes in family income; and
  • Limit lifetime coverage for able bodied adults to 5 years (with exceptions).

The federal public comment period is open through February 5. You can review the AHCCCS waiver application and submit comments on the CMS website.  AzPHA will be submitting comments consistent with the letter that we submitted to AHCCCS back in February.

 

AzPHA Public Health Policy Committee

Our AzPHA Public Health Policy Committee will get into full seasonal swing shortly. Our first 2018 call will be on Monday January 22 at 11am.  

We discuss the various state bills that are under consideration (including budget bills) and talk about advocacy strategies.  We also talk about federal advocacy strategies.

Our Public Health Policy Committee has a Basecamp site where we post policy documents, bills, and research.  We also schedule our meetings through the Basecamp. 

Contact tiffany@azpha.org if you're a member and you’d like to join our Public Health Policy Committee and/or get access to the Policy Committee Basecamp.

Final 2017 AzPHA Public Health Policy Update

 

AHCCCS Submits Work Requirement Waiver

An AZ law (from 2015) requires AHCCCS to annually ask the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for permission to require work (or work training) and income reporting for “able bodied adults” as well as a 5-year lifetime limit on AHCCCS eligibility. 

The work requirement and 5-year limit requests that were turned in during the Obama Administration were denied, but the new administrator CMS has publicly said (and written) that they're receptive to proposals from states to require work or community engagement for people who want to receive Medicaid.

This week AHCCCS submitted their official waiver request asking permission to implement the following requirements for certain adults receiving Medicaid services: 

  • A requirement to become employed, actively seek employment, attend school, or partake in Employment Support and Development (ESD) activities (with exceptions below);
  • A requirement to bi-annually verify compliance with the requirements and any changes in family income or other eligibility factors; and
  • Limit lifetime coverage for able bodied adults to five years (with exceptions below).

    Here are the proposed exempted groups:

    • People who are at least 55 years old;

    • American Indians;

    • Women up to the end of the month in which the 90th day of post-pregnancy occurs;

    • Former Arizona foster youths up to age 26;

    • People determined to have a serious mental illness;

    • People receiving temporary or permanent long-term disability benefits from a private insurer or from the government;

    • People determined to be medically frail;

    • Full-time high school students who are older than 18 years old;

    • Full-time college or graduate students;

    • Victims of domestic violence;

    • People that are homeless;

    • People who have recently been directly impacted by a catastrophic event such as a natural disaster or the death of a family member living in the same household;

    • Parents, caretaker relatives, and foster parents; or

    • Caregivers of a family member who is enrolled in the Arizona Long Term Care System.

    Able-bodied adult members will be required to meet the following activities or combination of activities, for at least 20 hours per week to qualify for AHCCCS:

    • Be employed;

    • Attending school; or

    • Attending an ESD program (e.g. English as a Second Language courses, parenting classes, disease management education, courses on health insurance competency, and healthy living classes. 

    People looking for a job and meeting the requirements to receive unemployment benefits would be deemed as meeting the work requirements.

    Community service hours may count toward the required 20 hours per week for people transitioning from the justice system, living in an area of high unemployment, or who otherwise face a significant barrier to employment.

    The entire waiver request is 678 pages long- but don’t let that scare you off.  The meat of it is only 13 pages long.

    P.S. I didn’t see a request to change the reimbursement scheme for community health centers or the limitations on non-emergency medical transportation in the waiver request.

     

    New Tax Law Repeals Penalties for Not Having Health Insurance

    The new federal tax law that will be signed shortly eliminates the penalties that people currently need to pay for choosing not to have health insurance. The penalty elimination begins on January 1, 2019…  so, there will still be a financial penalty for not having health insurance during 2018. 

    The tax penalty for not having health coverage in 2017 is $695 per adult and $347 per child, or 2.5% of one's household income, whichever is greater. About 4 million US taxpayers paid the penalty in 2016 (an 80,000 Arizonans paid the tax penalty that year).

    The CBO estimates that eliminating of the mandate will result in 80,000 more Arizonans becoming uninsured during the first year of implementation (2019).  By 2027 they estimate that the number of uninsured will rise by 13 million people nationally (260,000 in Arizona).

    The change is also expected to increase premiums on the Marketplace by an unknown amount in 2019 because younger and healthier people are expected to disproportionately elect not to buy health insurance.  Part of that increase may be mitigated if congress chooses to restore the Cost Sharing Reductions and if they authorize a reinsurance program

     

    CDC Submits Much Smaller Budget Request

    This week the CDC turned in their FY 18 budget request.  The overall request is 17% smaller than last year’s agency budget.  If enacted as requested, the funding cut would have big implications for state and county health departments.  The request is for $6B in budget authority which is $1.2B less than the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution (CR) level (a 17% reduction).  Here’s a link to the actual budget request

    Here are the bullet’s identified as an introduction to the request from the CDC Director:

    •  Creation of the new America’s Health Block Grant, reforming the model of existing state-based chronic disease programs to increase flexibility

    • Reform of public health preparedness and response activities, including a greater emphasis on risk in the state grant program.

    • Enhanced support for vector-borne disease outbreaks

    • Critical investments to improve our laboratories and facilities

    • Continued efforts to reduce deaths due to opioid abuse, misuse, and overdose

    The budget request is too long and complicated to characterize fully here- but I’ve picked out a few highlights.

    America’s Health Block Grant Program ($500 million)

    The FY 2018 budget request includes a new $500 million “America’s Health Block Grant” to increase flexibility on the leading chronic disease challenges specific to each State, which could include preventing and better managing heart disease and diabetes—two of the most common and costly chronic diseases—as well as arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the United States. 

    The request proposes to eliminate the following programs completely:

    • Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grants (-$160.0 million)

    • Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (-$51.0 million)

    • Prevention Research Centers (-$25.4 million)

    • Cancer Prevention and Control (-$18.1 million)

    • Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding (-$8.0 million

    • National Early Child Care Collaboratives (-$4.0 million)

    • Health Promotion (-$10.5 million)

    • Occupational Safety and Health (-$138.5 million) – eliminating funding for state and academic partners for conducting, translating, or evaluating research

    • Education and Research Centers (-$28 million)

    The following programs would be significantly scaled back (but not eliminated in their entirety):

    • Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (-$222 million) – the agency says that the America’s Health Block Grant could make up a portion of this cut if states prioritize these activities in their block grant

    • Public Health Preparedness and Response (-$136.3 million)- with large reductions in the state cooperative agreements

    • Immunization Program (-$89.5 million) - CDC would continue to provide funding to the 64 immunization awardees for state infrastructure awards, vaccine direct assistance, and laboratory capacity- but at a substantially reduced level.

    • Emerging and Zoonotic Infections (-$64.9 million)

    Remember that this is the agency’s budget request- not a final funding decision by congress.  In all likelihood, the agency was directed by the Executive to submit a budget that’s 17% smaller- reflecting the goals of the President’s budget.  As such- the CDC Director (Brenda Fitzgerald, MD) may not really want to make these cuts- but when you work for an Executive you gotta to follow their instructions (or quit- in which case someone else will).

    You can weigh in regarding the proposed CDC budget with your Representative and Senators by sending a message via this: APHA FCDC Funding Action Alert Tool.

    ___________

    Innovative Community Health Worker Strategies: Medicaid Payment Models for Community Health Worker Home Visits

    By Tina Kartika December 19th, 2017

    Due to mounting evidence that community health workers (CHWs) can improve health outcomes, increase access to health care, and control medical costs,[1] states are increasingly engaging their CHW workforce to replicate those successes at the state level. However, the policies and programs that regulate and pay for CHWs differ dramatically across states,[2] and states facing difficulties advancing CHW initiatives can gain insights from the experiences of other programs across the country.

    The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) recently updated its State Community Health Worker Models Map, and is currently identifying innovative state strategies that have helped CHW initiatives meet their goals. This case study, which explores payment models for CHWs conducting home visits in Minnesota, New York, Utah, and Washington State, is the second in a series of products that highlight those CHW program strategies.

    Community Health Workers and Home Visits

    Health outcomes are influenced by many factors, one of which is physical environment. Living in an unhealthy home environment can cause or exacerbate health issues. For example, exposure to lead in the home from lead paint or contaminated drinking water, “affects the brain’s ability to control impulses and process information,” which can lead to children’s underperformance in school and later in the workplace.[3] Exposure to dust mites, mold, and cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks.[4]

    In addition to improving health outcomes and quality of life, addressing health hazards in the home environment can yield positive economic results. Remediating lead paint hazard in homes built before 1960 is estimated to generate $3.5 billion of earnings, health and education savings, and quality-adjusted life year benefits for 311,000 low-income children.[5] Home visiting services targeting asthma are estimated to generate $1.39 to $5 of savings for every dollar invested.[6] Assessing the home environment is a critical first step to reduce these hazards, and CHWs can be trained to conduct healthy home assessments,[7] educate, and connect patients to resources during home visits.[8]

    Payment Models

    Low-income households are more likely to live in unhealthy homes with significant lead-based paint hazards and indoor allergens.[9] Although Medicaid covers many low-income children and adults,[10] few state Medicaid programs directly reimburse CHWs to provide in-home services that address healthy home environments. The following are examples of payment models used by several states to finance home-based preventive services provided by CHWs:

    §  Medical expenditure: In Minnesota, home-based preventive services provided by CHWs can be reimbursed under Medicaid as long as the services qualify as diagnostic-related patient education and the CHWs work under the supervision of a licensed medical professional. Beneficiaries can receive up to 12 hours of these services each month.

    §  Administrative expenditure: Some accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Utah are covering the costs of home-based preventive services through administrative payments.[11] According to a National Center for Healthy Housing case study, Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) in New York can also choose to provide home-based asthma services and bill the services as administrative expenses.

    §  Incentive payment: Under the authority of 1115 waivers, 12 states have implemented Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) programs that “restructures Medicaid funding into a pay-for-performance arrangement in which providers earn incentive payments outside of capitation rates for meeting certain metrics or milestones based on state-specific needs and goals.”[12] New York’s and Washington’s DSRIP programs in particular include projects that incentivize participating provider entities to provide CHW home visits to their members.

    §  In New York, 8 out of 25 participating Performing Provider Systems (PPSs) have implemented a project that expands asthma home-based self-management programs and includes home environment assessment, remediation, and education. During a meeting in February 2017, five of those eight PPSs reported engaging CHWs to meet the goals of the project.[13]

    §  Similarly, Washington’s Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs) can choose to implement a DSRIP project on chronic disease prevention and control and pay CHWs to conduct home visits for asthma services using DSRIP funding.

    Takeaways

    Minnesota, New York, Utah, and Washington provide examples of using Medicaid dollars to finance CHW home-based services. States can enable providers to bill certain CHW home visits as medical expenses, encourage MCOs to cover these services as administrative expenses, and use incentive payments to fund these services. States seeking sustainable CHW programs can explore these models to determine what fits their needs and goals.

    Acknowledgements: The author thanks Anna Guymon, the New York State DSRIP Team, Jill Rosenthal, and Amy Clary for their helpful comments and contribution to this case study. This case study was made possible by support from the National Center for Healthy Housing.