5 Things Arizona: Sen. Tyler Pace, Erica McFadden, telemedicine

We are excited to be building towards our 2019 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference!  You can see the Topical Agenda below. We are now hard at work to curate speakers and thought leaders from across Arizona’s spectrum of care. So, if you have ideas for really smart, thoughtful speakers on any of our topics, let me know!

DJ Wilson
State of Reform

With help from Sara Gentzler

1. What They’re Watching: Sen. Tyler Pace

Reporter Sara Gentzler talked to Sen. Tyler Pace, who’s new to the Legislature and represents Arizona’s 25th LD. Pace serves on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. In this interview, they covered a wide range of topics, including what he sees as the biggest lifts for health care in the Arizona Legislature this session.

“The biggest lifts in this legislature for health care would probably be finding a balance between cost and quality of care,” Pace begins. An example that he shares: AHCCCS plans don’t fully cover chiropractic care. A bill that would add chiropractic care ordered by a primary care physician to the services covered by AHCCCS passed out of the Senate earlier this session and is making its way through the House.



2. Our topical agenda is live!

We’re excited to share the Topical Agenda for the 2019 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference in Phoenix on May 23rd. On a foundation of stakeholder feedback from leaders in Arizona health care, we’ve built a day of sessions and speakers that will prompt rich, productive discussions.

Big thanks are due to our Convening Panel, who informed much of the planning that went into this agenda. Register here to reserve your spot at the conference—and if you have any questions, hit reply on this email or click here.  I’d be happy to get back to you.


3. What They’re Watching: Erica McFadden, PhD

Erica McFadden, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, which recently released a report with policy recommendations following the incident at Hacienda HealthCare.

In this edition of “What They’re Watching,” McFadden gives an update on the status of legislation based on those recommendations and talks about what’s missing in the approach to protecting vulnerable adults in Arizona.



4. Telemedicine coverage likely to expand

The Arizona State Senate recently voted unanimously to expand insurance coverage for telemedicine services. The bill, which would require providers to cover the same services for telemedicine that they do for in-person care, has now passed out of the House Health and Human Services Committee—also in a unanimous yes-vote.

Sen. Heather Carter, the bill’s prime sponsor, told us the bill would help address physician shortages in the state. Currently, the availability of physicians varies widely based on county, as evidenced in the recently released County Health Rankings & Roadmaps rankings. Take this example: The ratio of population to primary care physicians is 1,200:1 in Coconino County. In Pinal County, the ratio is over five times that, at 6,440:1.


5. STLDI health care plan extension

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law this month that will extend the maximum period of short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI) plans for Arizonans. The bill conforms state law to a federal rule issued in Fall 2018, which allows the low-cost (and, often, light-coverage) plans to be issued for up to 12 months, and be renewed for up to three years.

STLDI plans are effectively an end-run around the regulatory constraints of Obamacare. Where the ACA sought to unify products into similar “metal bands,” this is a step towards pre-ACA product diversity. Critics highlight that these products are cheaper because they have poorer benefits. If STLDI plan holders show up to the hospital, or have complex health challenges, they are likely to face financing challenges.