5 Things Arizona: Sens. Brophy McGee & Carter, Hacienda HealthCare, Jami Snyder

DJ is taking a well-deserved vacation, so I’ll be bringing you this edition of 5 Things We’re Watching. I’m the senior reporter here at State of Reform, where I’m usually covering health care in Arizona, and a number of other states. Feel free to email me any feedback or tips on what you think we should be covering.

DJ will be back next time, but until then, here’s what we’re watching in Arizona health care!

Emily Boerger
State of Reform

With help from Marjie High and
Sara Gentzler

1. Q&A with Senator Kate Brophy McGee

With the 2019 legislative session underway, we’ve been touching base with Arizona legislators about what to expect this year for health care legislation. Sara Gentzler on our team recently spoke with Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

In this Q&A, Brophy McGee talked about her reputation as a bipartisan lawmaker and how that impacts her role as Chair, along with several bills and issues that she sees as priorities this session. Among the issues she covered: maternal mortality and morbidity, association health plans, scope-of-practice, and licensure for workers at places like Hacienda and Southwest Key.


2. Video: Jami Snyder, AHCCCS

Jami Snyder is the Director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss the recently approved work requirements waiver and social determinants of health.

“Arizona has always been focused on innovation. The Medicaid program in particular has really been a leader in the country in terms of pursuing integrated care, and doing more work around things like social determinants of health and member engagement. And that commitment to innovation and reform really continues both among stakeholders, certainly at the agency, but also among policy makers in the state as well.”


3. Q&A with Senator Heather Carter

Sara Gentzler also recently spoke with Sen. Heather Carter, who represents Arizona’s 15th Legislative District and is the current Vice-Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. In this Q&A, Carter discusses some of the biggest health care issues in the Senate committee.

Among several issues, Senator Carter discusses bills related to connecting housing and mental health conversations, protecting vulnerable populations in Arizona, updating the telemedicine statutes, and addressing the physician shortage in the state.

4. Hacienda HealthCare

Hacienda HealthCare has been making headlines since January, after an “incapacitated” patient under the hospital’s care gave birth. The state has since ordered Hacienda to bring in a third-party manager for the intermediate-care facility where the incident occurred, among other demands, and azcentral recently reported that the Arizona Department of Health Services took over licensing authority for the facility.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order directing three state agencies to “strengthen protections for people with disabilities” and urged the Attorney General to investigate Hacienda. On the legislative side, the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council released a report with policy recommendations for preventing future abuse. We’ve now talked to three lawmakers on the legislative health care committees about the issue. The topic is covered in both of the Q&As featured in this email and in this Q&A with Rep. Nancy Barto.


5. Diabetes agency report presented in committee

The Arizona Diabetes Action Plan and Report, a collaborative effort from multiple state agencies and organizations, was presented to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week. The report finds that an estimated one in 10 adults in Arizona have diabetes and that diabetes costs the state $6.8 billion yearly.

So far, at least two bills involving diabetes have been introduced in the Senate, and the report includes a series of recommendations to reduce its prevalence in Arizona. The recommendations include: creating a data framework to track diabetes in the state, encouraging health plans to provide diabetes benefits, and promoting access to the National Diabetes Prevention Program.