5 Things Arizona: Legislators on session, Emily Jenkins, Future of AHCCCS

We are excited to host our 2019 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference coming up on May 23rd, just next week! And, because our agenda is full of topics that we’re watching in Arizona health care, we are devoting this edition to some of the sessions and speakers you’ll see with us on the 23rd!

DJ Wilson
State of Reform

With help from Sara Gentzler

1. What legislators think about the session

While Arizona’s legislators are in the throes of budget negotiations (read what Gov. Ducey wants for AHCCCS here), we’re grateful that eight influential health care policymakers are planning on taking a quick breather to share their perspectives with us next Thursday.

The Chairs and Vice-Chairs of both chambers’ Health and Human Services Committees plan to be part of various panels throughout the day, with Chairs Rep. Nancy Barto and Sen. Kate Brophy McGee joining me for one-on-one conversations during the lunchtime keynote. From the other side of the aisle, a strong line-up of Democratic panelists will share their visions for the future of Arizona health policy, including Sen. Victoria Steele, Sen. Tony Navarrete, Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, and Rep. Amish Shah, MD.

2. Video: Emily Jenkins, ACHSP

Emily Jenkins, CEO of the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers, joined State of Reform for an edition of “What They’re Watching” to talk about lessons learned in integrating physical and behavioral health care. Consider this a preview of what will be an in-depth conversation next Thursday, when Jenkins joins Christy Dye, CEO of Arizona Partners in Recovery, and Tad Gary, COO of Mercy Care, to discuss “Strategies to Support Behavioral Health Integration” at our conference.

“…this has been a huge transition,” Jenkins says in the video. “We have had huge problems with getting claims paid. Although the patient transformation, systems transformation seems to have gotten done relatively well, the burden’s been on the providers, financially, and we are very sensitive to keeping the provider network intact.”

3. Keynote: Jami Snyder, AHCCCS

We’re thrilled that Jami Snyder, Director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and one of the state’s most influential health care and health policy leaders, will talk through her vision for system reform on the State of Reform stage as a keynote speaker. Gov. Doug Ducey appointed Snyder, formerly Medicaid Director for Texas and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Arizona Health Plans, late last year.

In an interview with State of Reform earlier this year, Snyder talked about social determinants of health, work requirements, and innovation. Conference attendees should expect to hear her perspective on similarly crucial issues and what’s in the future of state-based reform when she takes the stage next Thursday.


4. The future of Arizona Medicaid

With regular procurements, visionary leadership, and plan partners that are working hard to be responsive to AHCCCS direction, Arizona Medicaid has been and remains a national leader among state safety net systems. So, our Convening Panel wanted to ensure we had a panel to highlight what’s ahead for the program.

Next Thursday, we’ll hear from some of the most thoughtful actors in the space: Lorry Bottrill, CEO of Mercy Care; Steve Purves, CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System; and Dr. Len Kirschner, Chair of AARP and Former Director of AHCCCS. They’ll offer their own thoughts and insights about what’s ahead for the program, and what it means for the rest of Arizona health care.

5. The road ahead for federal health policy

Congress recently held its first hearing on a Medicare for All bill. That was followed by the CBO releasing report suggesting the process of creating such a plan could be more difficult than originally anticipated. Meanwhile, CMS continues to try innovations through rule making and regulatory action.

For a look ahead, we’ve assembled three smart advocates — each coming at the issue from a unique angle — to discuss what’s next for federal health care policy: Mohit Ghose, Vice President of Government Relations at Beacon Health Options; Stephen Jennings, Associate State Director of Policy at AARP; and Tara Sklar, Professor of Health Law and Director of Graduate Health Sciences Programs at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.