Tag Archives: health care

Michele Finney - Abrazo Health CEO

Abrazo Health Announces New CEO

Michele Finney has been named chief executive officer of Abrazo Health, the second largest health care delivery system in Arizona with six hospitals and a network of primary care and specialty clinics.

“Michele Finney is an accomplished healthcare leader who brings deep experience in running integrated health networks in our California operations to Abrazo Health,” said Jeff Koury, chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare’s Western Region. “We are very pleased that she will lead the direction, strategy and operations for Abrazo Health and continue our mission to provide the highest quality of care for residents throughout the region.”

Prior to joining Abrazo Health, Finney served for 14 years as the chief executive officer at Los Alamitos Medical Center, a 167-bed acute care hospital with five affiliated outpatient facilities in California. Under her leadership, that medical center expanded its services to include urgent care centers, primary care and specialty physician foundation practices, as well as a residency training program. Abrazo Health and Los Alamitos are part of Tenet Healthcare, a national, diversified health network of hospitals, outpatient centers, health plans and hospital business services. Finney has been with Tenet for 36 years.

“I am very excited to join the outstanding leadership team at Abrazo Health,” said Finney. “I look forward to working with our doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers to further Abrazo’s commitment to providing high quality, patient-focused healthcare to Arizona communities.”

Finney earned an Executive Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare administration from the University of LaVerne in California.

Kirk McClure

McCarthy Building Companies Hires Kirk McClure As Director Of Business Development

 

McCarthy Building Companies recently hired Kirk McClure as Director of Business Development for the Southwest division. His primary focus will be on municipal, higher education and commercial construction projects.

In this position, McClure will play a key role, providing more than a decade of industry expertise with a diverse, well-rounded background in project management, commercial development and planning, and strategic planning.

He has been engaged in a broad range of business development and project management positions throughout his career, most recently as Vice President of Business Expansion for the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the state’s leading economic development organization.

McClure, a LEED accredited professional, has a critical understanding of the commercial real estate industry. Prior to his position at the ACA, he worked in land planning,project management and business development for Langdon Wilson, Atwell-Hicks, Graef and The Brooks Companies.

“Kirk has a passion for the commercial real estate industry and is extremely active within business circles here in Arizona,” said Bo Calbert, president of McCarthy Southwest. “The relationships he’s built through his previous positions and his volunteer activities will serve him well in his new role at McCarthy.”

McClure serves on the board of directors for the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED), and is the chair for their annual golf tournament. He is also a member of National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), SouthwestChapter of American Association of Airport Executives (SWAAAE) and has been an active member of CoreNet Global, Valley Partnership, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the American Planning Association (APA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

He is also the founder and organizer of the monthly A/E/C Golf Invitational at Grayhawk Golf Club,which includes a league of professionals that work and support the development industry. He is also a USA Hockey-Certified youth hockey coach and has been coaching for more than 13 years, most recently with Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA).

He earned his MBA from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU) and also holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Design, also from ASU.

 

technical education career training looking at petri dish

Arizona Students Awarded United Health Scholarships

Six Arizona students have been awarded a scholarship from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to pursue a career in health care. The students  joined future health leaders from across the country in Washington, D.C. for the United Health Foundation’s Fifth Annual Diverse Scholars Forum.

Kaitlyn Benally of Tuba City is a sophomore at Northern Arizona University studying biomedical sciences, with the goal of educating people about the risks associated with diabetes.

“I hope to make a difference as a member of the future health workforce by working with children and their parents to help them understand the benefits of healthy living,” she said. “Diabetes is a growing health concern on the reservation. I will educate people about the risks and show them ways to improve their lifestyle to become healthier.”

Another scholarship winner, Cecilia Espinoza of El Mirage, is studying nursing at Grand Canyon University. After watching her father pass away from cancer, she decided to pursue a career as an oncology nurse.

Other Arizona scholarship recipients, and their areas of study, include:

* Regis Maloney of Tonalea, Environmental Health at Dine College
* Jeffrey Sleppy of Chinle, Biology at Dine College
* Lorenza Villegas-Murphy of Litchfield Park, Nursing at Arizona State University
* Mycolette Anderson of Lukachukai, Nursing at Dine College

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, through its partner organizations, awarded $1.2 million in scholarships in the 2012-2013 school year to 200 students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds, with nearly $2 million in scholarships announced for 2013-2014. This is part of the foundation’s ongoing commitment to build a more diverse health care workforce.

By the end of 2013, United Health Foundation will have awarded $10 million in scholarships to diverse students pursing health careers. Nearly 70 scholarships have been awarded in Arizona since 2007.

“We know patients do best when they are treated by people who understand their language and culture,” said Kate Rubin, president, United Health Foundation. “United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support these outstanding students who are demonstrating impressive purpose and passion and who will help lead the way to better health access and outcomes.”

United Health Foundation made the announcement at its fifth annual Diverse Scholars Forum, which brings more than 60scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., July 24-26 to celebrate the scholars and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation’s health care system. This year’s event gives these future health care professionals the opportunity to meet and interact with members of Congress and leaders from a variety of health care fields.

According to the American Medical Association and Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of multicultural health professionals is disproportionately low when compared to the overall population. For example, while about 15 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic/Latino, only 5 percent of physicians and 4 percent of registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino. About 12 percent of the population is African American, yet only 6 percent of physicians and 5 percent of registered nurses are African American.

Given the changing demographics in the United States and the volumes of people entering the health care system due to the Affordable Care Act, there is an even greater need for a more diverse health care workforce.

Research shows that when patients are treated by health professionals who share their language, culture and ethnicity, they are more likely to accept and adopt the medical treatment they receive1. Increasing the diversity of health care providers will reduce the shortage of medical professionals in underserved areas, reduce inequities in academic medicine and address variables – such as language barriers – that make it difficult for patients to navigate the health care system.

“We are pleased to support these exceptional students in their efforts to achieve their educational goals and work to improve our health care system,” said Rubin. “The Diverse Scholars Initiative helps these scholars fund their education, and gives them an opportunity to learn from one another and interact with experts who are leading the way in improving patient care.”

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative is one facet of the foundation’s commitment to build and strengthen the health workforce. United Health Foundation supports additional programs like STEMPREP, which aims to produce the next generation of researchers in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical fields. The foundation also supports A.T. Still University’s Connect the Docs Graduate Loanship Program that provides loan repayments to four qualifying graduates who secure jobs in community health centers.

For more information about the Diverse Scholars Initiative, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/dsi.html.

Edgar Staren

CEO Series: Dr. Edgar Staren, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Edgar Staren is the CEO and President of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear, Ariz. Az Business Magazine and Grand Canyon University invited Dr. Staren to speak to an intimate audience of one hundred Arizona business owners and executives at Grand Canyon University on June 27th. In this lecture he shares his first hand experience as a cancer survivor and the importance of empowering the patient to be in control of their treatment. Dr. Staren also speaks to the value of not only technological innovation, but process innovation in health care and other industries.

Kristen Rosati, a shareholder at Polsinelli in Phoenix, is president of the American Health Lawyers Association.

Rosati leads American Health Lawyers Association

Attorney Kristen Rosati, a shareholder of the national law firm Polsinelli, has assumed the office of President of the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA). The AHLA has more than 12,000 members and is the nation’s largest educational organization devoted to legal issues in the health care field.

Rosati is a member of the firm’s Health Care Practice which is the fourth largest in the country according to the AHLA and Modern Healthcare. She’s a national thought leader in the electronic health industry and will use her term to advance outreach to younger members; increase support for existing programs in the areas of leadership, training and mentoring; expand the use of technology and social media in providing benefits to members; and continue the tradition of collegiality for which the organization is known.

“I am excited to assume the role of President of AHLA at this important juncture in health care law.” said Rosati. “Creating a strong foundation for the next generation of lawyers as well as continuing to support the unique programs that distinguish AHLA as the leading health care organization for lawyers in the country, is an honor that I am proud to accept.”

Rosati has been an active member of AHLA for many years, serving on the organization’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and as Chair of the Programs Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee, Chair of the Professional Resources Committee, Chair of the Quality Council, Chair of the Health Information and Technology Practice Group, and Chair of the HIT Think Tank.

“Kristen has enormous respect among the healthcare bar because of her deep expertise in health information and technology, her prodigious work ethic, and her commitment to collegiality among her peers,” said Chief Executive Officer of the American Health Lawyers Association Peter Leibold. “Kristen is leading the Association in a direction that will provide significant benefit to members and continue the organization’s recent membership growth.

In her legal practice at Polsinelli, Rosati heads up the “Big Data” initiative. She plays a key role in assisting hospitals, physicians and other health care providers migrating to electronic health records as they tackle the legal complexities associated with HIPAA compliance, electronic health records roll-outs, health information exchange, data sharing for research and clinical integration initiatives and ACO’s, and clinical research compliance and clinical trials contracting.

“Kristen’s leadership in AHLA will not only benefit the organization, but it will also serve as a model for all of Polsinelli’s lawyers as we look for ways to be more in tune with our clients and the industry generally,” said Polsinelli’s Health Care Practice Chair Matt Murer.

online sales tax issue

Legislative Session Improves Business Landscape in Arizona

The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), the largest trade association in Arizona representing over 11,000 member businesses in all 15 counties, tracked 65 bills during Arizona’s 51st Legislature (Jan. 14 – June 13, 2013), eight of which were Priority Bills. ASBA has announced all eight Priority Bills passed.

“We have a strong sense of responsibility to our members and Arizona’s business community,” states Jerry Bustamante, ASBA sr. vice president of public policy. “We understand that our actions influence how our elected officials vote and that our members hold us to a high standard.”

To advocate for businesses throughout Arizona, ASBA focused on five legislative priorities: 1) Taxation, 2) Regulation, 3) Economic Development, 4) Health Care and 5) Education.

“Bills signed into law such as HB 2147 and 2324 are excellent examples of a good public policy that, collectively, make Arizona more business-friendly and provide relief to existing businesses,” says Rick Murray, CEO of ASBA. “HB 2111, commonly known as TPT, on the other hand, is a single bill that will make a dramatic contribution that will completely change the landscape in which businesses operate. TPT will provide a much needed overhaul to an overly burdensome tax system.”

Bustamante adds, “ASBA is proud to have been part of, and have taken a leadership role in, the coalition of business groups that fought to reform TPT and bring much-needed relief to Arizona.”

The following were ASBA’s 2013 Priority Bills:

HB 2111: Transaction Privilege Tax Change (TPT)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Lesko, LD 21
  • Summary: This is the Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) simplification bill that intends to significantly reform how sales taxes are collected in Arizona. The intent of the bill is to provide Arizona businesses with, and return Arizona to, a single organization that manages all tax and audit activities. The Arizona Department of Revenue would be charged with creating an online portal to provide a single location to get a TPT permit, file TPT returns and make TPT payments for all jurisdictions in the state.
  • Result: After much debate and compromise, HB 2111 passed out of the House with a 58-1 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote on the legislature’s final day and will soon arrive on Governor Brewer’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 2147: Unemployment Benefits; Proof; Eligibility

  • Sponsor: Rep. Warren Petersen, LD 12
  • Summary: This bill is the latest effort to reform how unemployment benefits are delivered in Arizona and attempts to level the playing field where businesses have been at a disadvantage. This bill provides much-needed relief to Arizona businesses by shifting the burden of proof on an applicant who resigned their employment but claims they were fired. Unemployment insurance applicants, rather than the employer, will have to demonstrate that they involuntarily left employment.
  • Result: HB 2147 passed out of the House with a 34-24 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 17-12 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

HB 2324: TPT Exemption; Leases; Affiliated Companies

(Municipal Tax Code; Leases)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, LD 12
  • Summary: This bill exempts commercial leases from TPT tax when the owner of the business and the building being leased is one in the same. Municipalities and special taxing districts are prohibited from levying a transaction privilege or use tax on gross income derived from leasing real property between affiliated companies, businesses or persons, or by a reciprocal insurer. Cities that do collect such taxes may continue to require payment until October of 2013.
  • Result: HB 2324 passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

HB 2336: Taxation; Retail Classification; Cash Equivalents

  • Sponsor: Rep. Tom Forese, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill exempts a number of items referred to as “cash equivalents” purchased in advanced in a dollar value denomination from retail TPT tax. These cash equivalents are gift cards, vouchers, money orders and traveler’s checks. No TPT is paid to buy a gift card, but TPT is paid when a gift card is used to purchase goods.
  • Result: HB 2336 passed out of the House with a 59-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote on the legislature’s final day and will soon arrive on Governor Brewer’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 2599: Procurement Code; Amendments

  • Sponsor: Rep. Justin Pierce, LD 25
  • Summary: This bill amends Arizona’s procurement code to more closely scrutinize state employees involved in purchasing decisions who move back and forth between government and private sector jobs. The bill also makes technical changes in how the state selects the winner of an RFP, and its overall intent is for government to operate more like the private sector.
  • Result: HB 2599 passed out of the House with a 59-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 24-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1168: Internal Revenue Code Conformity

  • Sponsor: Steve Yarbrough, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill makes changes to Arizona’s income tax laws to ensure that they conform to the federal IRS code in effect as of January 1, 2013.
  • Result: SB 1168 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1169: Prop 117, Conformity

  • Sponsor: Steve Yarbrough, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill makes various changes to the Arizona revised statutes in order to conform to Proposition 117 (property tax assessed valuation; limitation), which was passed by Arizona voters during the 2012 general election. Proposition 117 had nothing to do with the tax rate, but caps at five percent the maximum increase in property value that taxable real property can grow in a certain year.
  • Result: SB 1169 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1233: Limited Liability Companies; Ownership Interests

  • Sponsor: Senator Adam Driggs, LD 28
  • Summary: We refer to this bill as the estate planning bill. This bill amends the Limited Liability Company Act by adding a new provision that governs members as it relates to forms of ownership. An interest in a limited liability company (LLC) may be held by two or more people as joint tenants with right of survivorship, or by a married couple as community property with right of survivorship, except as prohibited or restricted in an operating agreement.
  • Result: SB 1233 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 56-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

ASBA develops its policy positions and statements through its Public Policy Committee, which is comprised of ASBA members providing volunteer leadership and key ASBA staff. Under the direction of ASBA’s Board of Directors, the Public Policy Committee is charged with conducting research, surveying the membership, developing ASBA legislative priorities tracking bills and taking action to influence the passage or defeat of bills. Learn more about ASBA and its role in public policy, visit www.asba.com or call 602-306-4000 or 520.327.0222.

Two attorneys become shareholders

25 Squire Sanders attorneys earn distinction

Squire Sanders announced that 25 of its lawyers were recognized in the 2013 edition of Southwest Super Lawyers, among them are:

* George Brandon, Business Litigation
* Brian Cabianca, Business Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Class Action/Mass Torts
* D. Lewis Clark, Jr., Employment & Labor, Employment Litigation: Defense
* Joseph M. Crabb, Securities & Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business/Corporate
* Peter W. Culp, Environmental, Energy & Natural Resources
* Craig D. Hansen, Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights
* Charles E. James, Jr., Bonds/Government Finance
* Christopher D. Johnson, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities & Corporate Finance, Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights
* DavidW. Kreutzberg, Real Estate, Business/Corporate, Land Use/Zoning
* Jordan A. Kroop, Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights
* Steven L. Lisker, Real Estate
* Daniel Pasternak, Employment & Labor
* Timothy E. Pickrell, Mergers & Acquisitions
* Frank M Placenti, Securities & Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Governance & Compliance
* Lawrence J. Rosenfeld, Employment & Labor, Health Care
* Thomas J. Salerno, Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights, International, Alternative Dispute Resolution
* Christopher D. Thomas, Environmental, Environmental Litigation

Rising Stars Include:

* Jamie Daddona Brennan, Business/Corporate, Securities & Corporate Finance
* Jennifer R. Cosper, Bonds/Government Finance
* Gregory A. Davis, General Litigation
* Matthew M. Holman, Securities & Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business/Corporate
* Laura Lawless Robertson, Employment & Labor
* Matthew Ohre, Business Litigation
* Sara K. Regan, Business Litigation
* Jacob B. Smith, Tax, Business/Corporate

Brewer

Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan secured

Arizona lawmakers have endorsed a key element of President Barack Obama’s health care law in a huge political victory for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, after a lengthy fight over Medicaid expansion that divided the state’s Republican leadership.

The expansion that will extend health care to 300,000 more low-income Arizonans came after months of stalled negotiations, tense debates and political maneuvering as Brewer pushed the Medicaid proposal through a hostile Legislature.

She secured her victory Thursday after lawmakers passed Brewer’s $8.8 billion state budget that included the Medicaid expansion provided under a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. The Legislature’s Republican leadership called it “Chicago politics” and labeled Brewer a puppet master, but Brewer remained undeterred as she prepared to sign the measures into state law.

“The day has been a red-letter day for the people of Arizona,” Brewer told reporters after the budget votes Thursday. “It was a win, win, win all the way around.”

Brewer, an early critic of the Affordable Care Act, surprised the nation when she acknowledged the Medicaid expansion as the law of the land in her State of the State address in January. She noted that rejecting an expansion would mean Arizona taxpayers would subsidize care for those in other states while receiving no benefits themselves.

The expansion is expected to help reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals must absorb and help cut what Brewer called a hidden health care tax that people who buy insurance pay, through higher premiums, to cover others’ care.

After the Legislature secured her political win, Brewer softened her support for the health care law.

“Medicaid was here long before Obama health care. I have never liked Obama health care,” she told reporters after the vote. “It has nothing to do with Obama health care.”

The expansion is optional under last year’s Supreme Court decision upholding the health care law, and many Republican governors rejected it.

In all, 23 states plus Washington, D.C., are moving ahead with the expansion, while 15 states have turned it down. Another 12 states are still weighing options.

Nearly all the states refusing are led by Republicans. Several of the states accepting have Republican governors, but most are led by Democrats.

Washington will pick up the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years and 90 percent over the longer haul. It’s estimated that less than $100 billion in state spending could trigger nearly $1 trillion in federal dollars over a decade.

In Arizona, Republican leaders in the Legislature called the expansion a massive government overreach that would drive the federal government deeper into debt. They predicted the government promises of paying for the expansion would turn out to be false.

“This is the biggest mistake we’ve made in the Arizona Legislature this year and maybe ever,” said Republican Sen. Kelli Ward, of Lake Havasu City.

Republicans control the Legislature and all statewide elected offices in Arizona, but the Medicaid fight highlighted internal fractures between those who want smaller government and others who, like Brewer, who said broader health care access is good for the state.

“The bottom line here is greed,” said Sen. Al Melvin, a Tucson Republican who is running for governor and voted against the Medicaid expansion. “The people who want this know in their hearts that Obamacare is going to collapse under its own weight.”

A newly formed coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans worked closely with Brewer to stand up to the conservative leaders who had blocked debate on the Medicaid expansion for six months. Lawmakers worked through the night Wednesday to get the plan through the House, and the Senate vote came hours later Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve never seen the case where a governor has rolled over her own party because she was throwing a temper tantrum,” said Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, of Gilbert.

Senate President Andy Biggs said lawmakers had little information about what was in the budget before passing it.

“I am deeply and profoundly disappointed at the manner at which this came down,” he said.

Brewer dismissed the insults, predicting that all would be forgiven and Republican leaders would move forward together.

“Tomorrow they’ll probably say ‘I’m sorry’ or we will just forget it,” she said. “I just try to listen and let it go.”

It was a year of wins and losses for Arizona’s GOP.

The Legislature voted to adjourn its 2013 session early Friday morning after passing a slew of other bills, including an election overhaul that could make it more difficult for voters to obtain and return mail ballots. Biggs had to beg for extra votes to get the measure opposed by Democrats and voter outreach groups passed in the Senate.

Among the bills left on the floor was a proposal that would have prohibited abortion clinics from using Medicaid dollars to fund administrative costs and allowed for unannounced inspections, a top GOP priority.

Still, Brewer signed more than 100 bills advanced by conservative Republicans throughout the marathon session, including a measure that bars cities and counties from destroying guns turned over to police at community buyback events and instead requiring that they be resold. She also signed bills that will wildly increase campaign finance limits for state candidates and require unemployed workers to present documents showing they were fired before they can receive benefits.

Through it all, Brewer made it clear that the Medicaid expansion was her top priority. She held multiple rallies featuring low-income patients on the Arizona Capitol lawn and during the final month of the session, Brewer refused to sign any other bills until lawmakers passed a budget that included the health care expansion.

The Medicaid plan would cover people making between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level and restore coverage to more than 100,000 childless adults who lost Medicaid coverage because of a state budget crunch. About 1.3 million Arizonans already are covered by the state’s plan.

Brewer

Brewer's Medicaid expansion plan secured

Arizona lawmakers have endorsed a key element of President Barack Obama’s health care law in a huge political victory for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, after a lengthy fight over Medicaid expansion that divided the state’s Republican leadership.

The expansion that will extend health care to 300,000 more low-income Arizonans came after months of stalled negotiations, tense debates and political maneuvering as Brewer pushed the Medicaid proposal through a hostile Legislature.

She secured her victory Thursday after lawmakers passed Brewer’s $8.8 billion state budget that included the Medicaid expansion provided under a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. The Legislature’s Republican leadership called it “Chicago politics” and labeled Brewer a puppet master, but Brewer remained undeterred as she prepared to sign the measures into state law.

“The day has been a red-letter day for the people of Arizona,” Brewer told reporters after the budget votes Thursday. “It was a win, win, win all the way around.”

Brewer, an early critic of the Affordable Care Act, surprised the nation when she acknowledged the Medicaid expansion as the law of the land in her State of the State address in January. She noted that rejecting an expansion would mean Arizona taxpayers would subsidize care for those in other states while receiving no benefits themselves.

The expansion is expected to help reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals must absorb and help cut what Brewer called a hidden health care tax that people who buy insurance pay, through higher premiums, to cover others’ care.

After the Legislature secured her political win, Brewer softened her support for the health care law.

“Medicaid was here long before Obama health care. I have never liked Obama health care,” she told reporters after the vote. “It has nothing to do with Obama health care.”

The expansion is optional under last year’s Supreme Court decision upholding the health care law, and many Republican governors rejected it.

In all, 23 states plus Washington, D.C., are moving ahead with the expansion, while 15 states have turned it down. Another 12 states are still weighing options.

Nearly all the states refusing are led by Republicans. Several of the states accepting have Republican governors, but most are led by Democrats.

Washington will pick up the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years and 90 percent over the longer haul. It’s estimated that less than $100 billion in state spending could trigger nearly $1 trillion in federal dollars over a decade.

In Arizona, Republican leaders in the Legislature called the expansion a massive government overreach that would drive the federal government deeper into debt. They predicted the government promises of paying for the expansion would turn out to be false.

“This is the biggest mistake we’ve made in the Arizona Legislature this year and maybe ever,” said Republican Sen. Kelli Ward, of Lake Havasu City.

Republicans control the Legislature and all statewide elected offices in Arizona, but the Medicaid fight highlighted internal fractures between those who want smaller government and others who, like Brewer, who said broader health care access is good for the state.

“The bottom line here is greed,” said Sen. Al Melvin, a Tucson Republican who is running for governor and voted against the Medicaid expansion. “The people who want this know in their hearts that Obamacare is going to collapse under its own weight.”

A newly formed coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans worked closely with Brewer to stand up to the conservative leaders who had blocked debate on the Medicaid expansion for six months. Lawmakers worked through the night Wednesday to get the plan through the House, and the Senate vote came hours later Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve never seen the case where a governor has rolled over her own party because she was throwing a temper tantrum,” said Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, of Gilbert.

Senate President Andy Biggs said lawmakers had little information about what was in the budget before passing it.

“I am deeply and profoundly disappointed at the manner at which this came down,” he said.

Brewer dismissed the insults, predicting that all would be forgiven and Republican leaders would move forward together.

“Tomorrow they’ll probably say ‘I’m sorry’ or we will just forget it,” she said. “I just try to listen and let it go.”

It was a year of wins and losses for Arizona’s GOP.

The Legislature voted to adjourn its 2013 session early Friday morning after passing a slew of other bills, including an election overhaul that could make it more difficult for voters to obtain and return mail ballots. Biggs had to beg for extra votes to get the measure opposed by Democrats and voter outreach groups passed in the Senate.

Among the bills left on the floor was a proposal that would have prohibited abortion clinics from using Medicaid dollars to fund administrative costs and allowed for unannounced inspections, a top GOP priority.

Still, Brewer signed more than 100 bills advanced by conservative Republicans throughout the marathon session, including a measure that bars cities and counties from destroying guns turned over to police at community buyback events and instead requiring that they be resold. She also signed bills that will wildly increase campaign finance limits for state candidates and require unemployed workers to present documents showing they were fired before they can receive benefits.

Through it all, Brewer made it clear that the Medicaid expansion was her top priority. She held multiple rallies featuring low-income patients on the Arizona Capitol lawn and during the final month of the session, Brewer refused to sign any other bills until lawmakers passed a budget that included the health care expansion.

The Medicaid plan would cover people making between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level and restore coverage to more than 100,000 childless adults who lost Medicaid coverage because of a state budget crunch. About 1.3 million Arizonans already are covered by the state’s plan.

Banner Good Samaritan Hospital

Health department unveils hospital compare tool

State health officials are launching a new online tool that will let patients and their families compare the costs and results of health care at hospitals across the state.

AZ Hospital Compare is managed by the Arizona Health Services Department and will be accessible beginning Monday. The searchable database will allow patients to compare the costs of specific care types like a knee replacement at hospitals in their area.

They’ll also be able to compare and review discharge rates and get a quality indicator score. The site uses both federal and state data.

A link to the AZ Hospital Compare site will then be available on the department website at http://www.azdhs.gov/ .

Kort joins Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced that Rob Kort has joined its litigation team as a shareholder in its Phoenix office. Kort’s practice will focus on handling litigation matters for the firm’s commercial litigation and health care groups.

Bringing nearly two decades of experience handling litigation matters, Kort has successfully litigated numerous complex cases for plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts, administrative proceedings and alternative dispute resolution forums, achieving several noteworthy victories. In 2009, Kort chaired a lengthy federal court jury trial and obtained a $56.8 million verdict for his client, the largest verdict in any Arizona state or federal court in 2009 and one of the largest verdicts in Arizona history.

Kort has litigated and arbitrated cases involving a wide variety of claims, representing large corporations, small businesses and individuals across a multitude of industries, including banking and financial services, health care services, franchise and retail operations, consumer goods distribution, commercial real estate, pharmaceutical development, and computer hardware, software and integration. Kort was recently selected for inclusion in the 2013 Southwest Super Lawyers® publication for business litigation.

Kort is a member of the State Bar of Arizona and the Maricopa County Bar Association. He earned his law degree from Arizona State University and his undergrad from the University of Arizona. Kort currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Humane Society.

fiscal

Avoiding the fiscal cliff

The Obama administration and House Republicans have unveiled their opening offers in talks to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Details are scant but the White House estimates its plan would carve $4.4 trillion from the deficit over the coming decade, including previously enacted cuts ($1 trillion) and savings from reduced costs for overseas military operations ($800 billion), as well as interest payments on the national debt ($600 billion).

House Republicans say their plan would cut deficits by $2.2 trillion over 10 years, but they don’t claim previous cuts, war savings or interest costs toward that total. Both plans would block automatic spending cuts set to hit the economy in January and renew Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of the month.

The two plans both draw upon ideas from 2011 talks between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, including a secret plan by top Obama aide Rob Nabors that was made public by author and Washington Post writer Bob Woodward.

Here are the highlights of all three approaches:

TAXES

Obama: Increase taxes by $1.6 trillion over 10 years, raised by permitting tax rates on individual income exceeding $200,000 and family income over $250,000 to return to Clinton-era levels of 36 and 39.6 percent, up from 33 and 35 percent now. Increase taxes on dividend income and reduce the value of deductions and exemptions for those earning above $200,000 and 250,000. Renew the 2 percentage point payroll tax holiday or a similar tax cut for workers. Return taxes on large estates to 2009 levels. Permits tax reform to replace the existing code so long as it maintains the $1.6 trillion tax hike.

House GOP: Increase taxes by $800 billion over 10 years, raised through a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code that would curb various unspecified tax breaks while lowering tax rates overall. Extend all expiring Bush-era tax cuts on income, investments, married couples and families with children. Maintains the estate tax at current, more generous levels exempting estates up to $5.1 million from tax and sets a top rate of 35 percent. Permits payroll tax cut to expire.

Obama 2011: Raise taxes by $1.2 trillion over 10 years through overhauling the tax code along similar lines advocated by House Republicans, including lowering each tax rate by reducing tax breaks and deductions.

HEALTH CARE

Obama: Cut $350 billion over 10 years from federal health care programs Medicare and Medicaid, including lower Medicare drug costs and other cost curbs on health care providers.

House GOP: Cut $600 billion over 10 years. Includes unspecified cuts to health care providers and assumes an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare and increased Medicare costs for higher-income beneficiaries.

Obama 2011: Cut $360 billion over 10 years, including at least $250 billion from Medicare, in part through savings from raising the eligibility age and increased premiums for doctors’ visits and the Part D prescription drug program.

OTHER SPENDING CUTS

Obama: Cut the deficit by $250 billion through other spending cuts and new fees. Options include requiring federal workers to contribute more to their retirement, cut farm subsidies, increase airline security fees, overhaul Postal Service operations, and increasing fees on some enrollees in the military’s Tricare health care plan. Leaves in place existing “caps” on agency budgets passed by Congress each year.

House GOP: Deficit cuts of $300 billion through such cuts and fees from miscellaneous programs. Cut another $300 billion over the decade from agency operating budgets.

Obama 2011: Cut $200 billion from such programs. Several items on the list have been subsequently used to pay for other legislation.

GOVERNMENT INFLATION MEASURE:

Obama: No proposal.

House GOP: Reduce deficits by $200 billion over 10 years by replacing the current inflation adjustment for Social Security and income tax brackets with a less generous “chained CPI” that, on average, is 0.3 percentage points less than the current measure. Doing so would reduce Social Security cost-of-living increases and cause a greater portion of taxpayer income to be taxed at higher rates.

Obama 2011: Apply less generous inflation measures to both Social Security and tax brackets, but boost benefits for the oldest Social Security beneficiaries with low incomes.

NEW SPENDING

Obama: $200 billion in new economic “stimulus” initiatives, including payroll tax cuts, continued write-offs of business equipment purchases, extended unemployment benefits, help for borrowers “under water” on their mortgages, and new spending on infrastructure.

House GOP: No proposal.

Obama 2011: $43 billion to extend unemployment benefits to the long-term jobless.

DEBT LIMIT

Obama: Permit the president to obtain increases in the government’s borrowing cap, currently set at $16.4 trillion, without approval by Congress.

House GOP: Retain longstanding requirement that debt limit increases be enacted by Congress.

Obama 2011: Immediate unspecified increase in the debt limit and additional increase not subject to congressional approval.

deer valley hospital

John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital Earns Revenue Performance Award

The Healthcare Financial Management Association named John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital among nine health care organization winners of the 2012 MAP Award for High Performance in Revenue Cycle. More than 160 organizations from all parts of the nation applied for the award, considered an “Academy Award” by the finance industry.

Deer Valley Hospital was the only Arizona hospital included among the winners.

Hospitals must be in the top 10 percent in Revenue Cycle performance to even submit an application for the award. As a national award winner, the Deer Valley Hospital has met or exceeded stringent evaluation criteria addressing critical performance factors such as revenue cycle processes, financial performance, innovation, adoption of Patient Friendly Billing principles, and patient satisfaction.

The 250-person Revenue Cycle department at John C. Lincoln handles many diverse administrative functions that help to insure the hospital is paid for care provided while also helping patients get the most out of their insurance and manage their financial obligations.

“The Revenue Cycle process is a complex system, but absolutely essential for keeping our doors open and assisting our patients,” said Rhonda Forsyth, president and CEO of the Deer Valley Hospital’s parent organization, John C. Lincoln Health Network.

Revenue Cycle team members, who include registration and admitting staff, are usually the first contacts a patient has with the John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital system. Often Revenue Cycle team members are also the last contact patients have with John C. Lincoln, because they assist people with their insurance plans and provide those without insurance with ways to qualify for assistance.

The Revenue Cycle team are responsible for clinical and account coding, claims and posting account payments. They also manage our government and commercial insurance relationships and audit for compliance.

Winners of HFMA’s MAP award are evaluated with 25 comprehensive, definitive metrics of revenue cycle performance called MAP Keys. MAP stands for measure performance, apply evidence-based strategies for improvement, and perform to the highest standards in today’s challenging healthcare environment.

The MAP Award recognizes health care organizations that demonstrate excellence across all MAP Key categories: patient access, revenue integrity, claims adjudication and management.

“Winners have shown innovative and effective revenue cycle practices that deliver sustainable financial performance, set the bar for the industry and, ultimately, enable better patient care,” said Richard L. Clarke, HFMA president and CEO.

MAP winners were recognized during ANI: The HFMA National Institute, June 24-27, in Las Vegas.

For more information on John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital, visit their website at jcl.com/hospitals/deer-valley.

health care

High Court Upholds Key Part Of Obama Health Care Law

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the vast majority of President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul, including the hotly debated core requirement that virtually all Americans have health insurance.

The 5-4 decision means the huge overhaul, still taking effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

The ruling hands Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in approving the plan. However, Republicans quickly indicated they will try to use the decision to rally their supporters against what they call “Obamacare.”

“While no legislation is perfect, more people will now have access to affordable health insurance, and that is a good development for patients and the hospitals that serve them,” said Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association President and Chief Executive Officer Laurie Liles. “This is a pivotal time in our history, and hospitals are transforming the way healthcare is delivered, making care safer and more affordable for patients,” she said. “Arizona hospital leaders look forward to partnering with policymakers to achieve the goals of better care, better health and lower costs.”

Stocks of hospital companies rose sharply, and insurance companies fell immediately after the decision was announced that Americans must carry health insurance or pay a penalty.

Breaking with the court’s other conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.

The court found problems with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states’ entire Medicaid allotment if they don’t take part in the law’s extension.

“Now that the Supreme Court has removed the uncertainty surrounding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it’s time for employers to get to work,” said Sheldon Blumling, an attorney with Fisher & Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm that represents employers. Blumling, an employee benefits attorney who counsels clients on how to comply with the law, continued by saying: “Employers must focus on how the employer “play or pay” mandate and other aspects of the law will impact their plan design and costs beginning in 2014. In addition to the long-term strategic concerns for employers, there are numerous new compliance obligations that must be addressed immediately. In the next 18 to 24 months, employers will be extremely busy getting their healthcare houses in order.”

The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Kennedy summarized the dissent in court. “In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety,” he said.

The dissenters said in a joint statement that the law “exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding.”

In all, the justices spelled out their views in six opinions totaling 187 pages. Roberts, Kennedy and Ginsburg spent 57 minutes summarizing their views in the packed courtroom.

The legislation passed Congress in early 2010 after a monumental struggle in which all Republicans voted against it. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Thursday the House will vote the week of July 9 on whether to repeal the law, though such efforts have virtually no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has joined in calls for complete repeal.

After the ruling, Republican campaign strategists said Romney will use it to continue campaigning against “Obamacare” and attacking the president’s signature health care program as a tax increase.

“Obama might have his law, but the GOP has a cause,” said veteran campaign adviser Terry Holt. “This promises to galvanize Republican support around a repeal of what could well be called the largest tax increase in American history.”

Democrats said Romney, who backed an individual health insurance mandate when he was Massachusetts governor, will have a hard time exploiting the ruling.

“Mitt Romney is the intellectual godfather of Obamacare,” said Democratic consultant Jim Manley. “The bigger issue is the rising cost of health care, and this bill is designed to deal with it.”

More than eight in 10 Americans already have health insurance. But for most of the 50 million who are uninsured, the ruling offers the promise of guaranteed coverage at affordable prices. Lower-income and many middle-class families will be eligible for subsidies to help pay premiums starting in 2014.

There’s also an added safety net for all Americans, insured and uninsured. Starting in 2014, insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage for medical treatment, nor can they charge more to people with health problems. Those protections, now standard in most big employer plans, will be available to all, including people who get laid off, or leave a corporate job to launch their own small business.

Seniors also benefit from the law through better Medicare coverage for those with high prescription costs, and no copayments for preventive care. But hospitals, nursing homes, and many other service providers may struggle once the Medicare cuts used to finance the law really start to bite.

Illegal immigrants are not entitled to the new insurance coverage under the law, and will remain one of the biggest groups uninsured.

Obama’s law is by no means the last word on health care. Experts expect costs to keep rising, meaning that lawmakers will have to revisit the issue perhaps as early as next year, when federal budget woes will force them to confront painful options for Medicare and Medicaid, the giant federal programs that cover seniors, the disabled, and low-income people.

The health care overhaul focus will now quickly shift from Washington to state capitals. Only 14 states, plus Washington, D.C., have adopted plans to set up the new health insurance markets called for under the law. Called exchanges, the new markets are supposed to be up and running on Jan. 1, 2014. People buying coverage individually, as well as small businesses, will be able to shop for private coverage from a range of competing insurers.

Most Republican-led states, including large ones such as Texas and Florida, have been counting on the law to be overturned and have failed to do the considerable spade work needed to set up exchanges. There’s a real question about whether they can meet the deadline, and if they don’t, Washington will step in and run their exchanges for them.

In contrast to the states, health insurance companies, major employers, and big hospital systems are among the best prepared. Many of the changes called for in the law were already being demanded by employers trying to get better value for their private health insurance dollars.

“The main driver here is financial,” said Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, which has pioneered some of the changes. “The factors driving health care reform are not new, and they are not going to go away.”

Justice Ginsburg said the court should have upheld the entire law as written without forcing any changes in the Medicaid provision. She said Congress’ constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce supports the individual mandate. She warned that the legal reasoning, even though the law was upheld, could cause trouble in future cases.

“So in the end, the Affordable Health Care Act survives largely unscathed. But the court’s commerce clause and spending clause jurisprudence has been set awry. My expectation is that the setbacks will be temporary blips, not permanent obstructions,” Ginsburg said in a statement she, too, read from the bench.

For more information on the new health care law, visit The White House’ website at whitehouse.gov/healthreform.

recovery sign

ASU Experts: Economy Rebounds, But Is Still Years From Full Recovery

Despite positive growth, full economic recovery is still two years away for the nation and at least three years away for Arizona. That message was delivered today by top economists from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The experts spoke at the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon sponsored by the Economic Club of Phoenix.

“Arizona lost 314,000 jobs during the recession, and we’ve only added back around 25 percent of those,” explained Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We’ll probably pick up about 48,000 jobs this year in the state, but it will be three to four years until we can expect to see full recovery.”

McPheters says Phoenix is on its way to a significant rebound, having ranked No. 4 among the nation’s large cities for total job growth from March 2011 to March 2012. Arizona is already back to its position as a Top 10 job-growth state, ranking No. 8 for the same time period. Health care and hospitality are two of the fields doing relatively well in the recovery here.

“Arizona’s recovery will be slow, but it appears sustainable as long as the U.S. economy stays on track,” said McPheters. “Businesses should plan now for long-term improvement.”

Nationally, McPheters says the country has already gained back 40 percent of the 8.9 million jobs it lost during the recession.

However, Robert Mittelstaedt, dean and professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, said, “Many experts are still looking at the national-debt situation as an issue. April was the first time since September 2008 that we’ve had a monthly surplus, and that is not likely to be repeated anytime soon.”

Mittelstaedt points out that the recent peak for the U.S. deficit was 10.1 percent, which happened in 2009. The last time the national debt was at that level or worse was all the way back in 1945.

Professor Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School, gave an analysis of the state’s budget situation. He says taxes on individuals are relatively low in Arizona, and the public pensions are generally solvent. Also, the recent upswing in the economy has helped provide some stabilization for incoming state revenue, even though tax collections as a share of income have continued to fall for years. However, the current clarity in the fiscal picture will start to get cloudy again.

“Next year, the temporary sales tax will expire, and within five years, the Arizona corporate income-tax rate will be about 30 percent lower than it is today,” explained Hoffman. “This presents some fiscal challenges that will have to be managed.”

As for the housing market, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School, delivered some good news for hard-hit homeowners.

He said, “Home prices are on the rise in the Phoenix area, and we expect that trend to continue.”

The median single-family home price already went up more than 20 percent from March 2011 to March 2012. The bounce was from $112,000 last March to $134,900 this March.

“Most homes under $250,000 are attracting multiple offers within a couple of days, and there are far more buyers than sellers,” said Orr. “We’ve also seen a big shift in the types of transactions in the market from a focus on lender-owned home sales to a rise in normal resales, new-home sales, investor flips and short sales.”

The number of foreclosures completed this March was down a whopping 60 percent from last March. Also, the number of delinquencies on loans – those who are behind on payments, but not in foreclosure – is down 51 percent. All of this means the supply of lower-priced homes in the area is down to less than a month’s worth of inventory, and new-home construction is cranking up to try to help meet the demand.

Today’s Economic Outlook Luncheon was held at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. The Economic Club of Phoenix hosts the Economic Outlook Luncheon every spring, as one of its opportunities for Valley business leaders and others to network and engage. The club was founded by a group of prominent business executives called the Dean’s Council of 100, in conjunction with the W. P. Carey School of Business. More information about the club can be found at wpcarey.asu.edu/ecp.

new jobs pharmacy

OptumRx Adding 400 New Jobs In Arizona

OptumRx, a leading pharmacy benefits management (PBM) organization and one of the Optum companies of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), said it will create at least 400 new jobs in Tucson over the next 12-18 months.

The announcement was made at a news conference Thursday, attended by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, at the company’s new office in the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park.

“We are strengthening the infrastructure of Optum Rx in advance of a major expansion early next year, and we especially appreciate the help and support that comes from the outstanding workers and leaders of Arizona in that effort,” said Larry C. Renfro, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group and CEO of Optum.

“I am pleased that Optum and UnitedHealth Group recognize Tucson’s high-quality workforce and Arizona’s excellent business climate,” said Gov. Brewer. “The hundreds of jobs Optum will create here over the coming months show that Arizona is a premier destination for the growth of innovative businesses such as Optum. I look forward to a long and successful partnership between Optum and Arizona.”

The new OptumRx office, currently undergoing renovation, is expected to be ready for occupancy by mid-year, with recruiting for the new customer service positions expected to begin no later than the fourth quarter. The company will be hiring for Customer Service Advocates and a variety of positions involving training, workforce management and quality management. The company expects the facility to be fully staffed by the end of next year to help ensure OptumRx is prepared to serve millions of additional UnitedHealthcare employer and individual health plan participants.

“The technology at this facility, along with the commitment and know-how of our employees here, will help us fulfill our mission of making the health care system work better for everybody,” said Dirk McMahon, CEO of OptumRx. “An aging population and more people gaining access to health insurance mean more Americans will be using more prescription drugs, so the importance of our Tucson employees to our business will only increase.”

When hiring begins, people with health care or customer service experience are encouraged to apply for these new jobs.

For more information on OptumRx and their new jobs, visit their website at optum.com.

American Express

American Express Receives 2012 Champions In Health Award

Community Health Charities of Arizona (CHC-AZ) selected American Express as the winner of the 2012 Champions in Health Award.

Selected annually, the Champions in Health Award program honors a local business in Arizona that demonstrates and promotes a commitment to providing a healthy workplace within their company as well as in the community through support of CHC-AZ member charities.

American Express is a global service company that provides customers with access to products, insights and experiences meant to build business success and improve lives.

In addition to improving lives through its business and providing health and wellness programs for its employees, American Express invites CHC-AZ member health charities to take part in its annual employee giving campaign. During the campaign, American Express employees give personal financial support to the 41 member agencies of Community Health Charities of Arizona.

CHC-AZ provides all organizations the opportunity to participate in workplace give campaigns, and they are dedicated to improving the health and wellness of Arizona residents.

American Express is interested in making a difference in the lives of Arizona residents as well and actively partners with many of CHC-AZ member charities through board leadership, volunteer involvement and fund raising efforts.

For more information about American Express and Community Health Charities of Arizona, respectively, visit americanexpress.com and healthcharities.org.

START! is a campaign designed to get people moving. - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Valley Employers ‘Start!’ To Get The Healthy Recognition They Deserve

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in Phoenix, the state of Arizona and the rest of the U.S. And physical inactivity doubles the risk of developing heart disease.

This is a scary thought when you realize that many of us spend most of our waking hours sitting behind our desks at work. But, the news isn’t all bad. Some Valley employers such as Chandler Regional Medical Center-CHW, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center-CHW, KPHO-TV, Scottsdale Weight Loss Center, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort, Scottsdale Insurance Company and the American Heart Association have become Start! Fit-Friendly Companies. The movement is expected help employers keep their work force healthier and health care costs down.

Start! is:

    • A campaign designed to get people moving! Through Start!, the American Heart Association is challenging Corporate America to create a culture of physical activity, which can help companies address rising health care costs.

 

    • A call to action that evokes active, year-round participation in walking and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke by supporting the American Heart Association. By participating in the Start! Walking Program you are setting an example for your employees. If leaders show they have made health a priority, employees will do the same, resulting in an increase in productivity and a decline in health care costs.

 

  • A long-term commitment to fight the major causes of heart disease and stroke in American adults through a comprehensive walking and nutrition program. Companies that sign up for the Start! Walking Program receive a plan that includes a step-by-step guide to kick off your company’s Walking Program, as well as tips on how to maximize employee participation. By following the steps presented, you can encourage and motivate your employees to get involved, stay involved and improve their health.

 

The American Heart Association recognizes Start! Fit-Friendly companies as employers who go above and beyond when it comes to their employees’ health. Employers are encouraged to take steps such as:

  • Providing walking routes.
  • Promoting walking programs and tracking tools.
  • Allowing staff to wear athletic shoes on designated “sneaker days.”
  • Offering unique requirements for the different levels of recognition.

 

Becoming a Start! Fit-Friendly Company is simple, fast and free with the American Heart Association’s online application tool. Visit www.heart.org to take your first step in becoming a Start! Fit-Friendly Company. To learn more, call (602) 414-5344.

Arizona Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

A hospitalist’s professional focus is caring for patients in the hospital.

Hospitalists Provide Focused Care During Your Hospital Stay

An overnight (or longer) stay in the hospital can be scary and stressful. The new surroundings, medical terminology and encountering new faces and medical devices are confusing enough, let alone keeping track of which doctor is working with the health care team taking care of you.

Over the past several years, there has been a shift in which doctor provides the medical care for patients when they are in the hospital. Primary care doctors, be they family physicians, internists or pediatricians, spend the majority of their time in their offices seeing patients and spend little or no time caring for their patients when they are hospitalized.

In years past, the family doctor would conduct “rounds” on their patients in the hospital, either first thing in the morning, at the end of the day, or both. Now, specialized physicians called “hospitalists” are filling much of the inpatient care role. And, that’s a good thing.

A hospitalist’s professional focus is caring for patients in the hospital. This focus allows them to increase their expertise in hospital care and to be more readily available than physicians who work both in the office and the hospital. Depending on the length of your hospital stay, more than one hospitalist may care for you, but they all are part of your care team of doctors, nurses, aides, and others who should be communicating with you and each other about your medical condition.

After you leave the hospital, the hospitalist team is responsible for communicating with your personal doctor, so that he or she is fully informed and can resume your care. And, always remember, the MOST important person on your care team is YOU, or a person you have designated in the event you can’t speak for yourself. If you don’t know or aren’t sure who someone is, or if you sense something isn’t right … SPEAK UP.

Here’s a check-list of what you should expect from your hospitalist physician, adapted from the Society of Hospital Medicine:

  • Prompt and complete attention to all of your care needs including diagnosis, treatment, and the performance of medical procedures (within their scope of practice).
  • Collaboration, communication and coordination with all physicians and health care personnel caring for you.
  • Safe transition of your care within the hospital and from the hospital to the community, which may include oversight of care in post-acute care facilities.
  • Provides safe, quality and efficient care for you in the hospital.

You may notice that the majority of these items include communication, communication, communication — with you, other physicians, your primary care physicians and the members of your health care team in the hospital.

Multi-State Medical Office Building Portfolio

Healthcare Trust Of America Acquires 960,000 SF Multi-State Medical Office Building Portfolio

Scottsdale-based Healthcare Trust of America announced the execution of agreements to acquire a portfolio of nine medical office buildings in New York, Massachusetts, and Florida for approximately $196,645,000. Each closing is subject to the satisfaction of a number of conditions.

The 98% leased, nine-building Class A medical office portfolio consists of approximately 960,000 square feet of both on and off-campus MOBs with a weighted average remaining lease term of seven years. The portfolio includes both single-tenant and multi-tenant properties in Albany, N.Y.; North Adams, Mass.; and Temple Terrace, Fla.

The portfolio has an average building age of eight years and includes prominent tenants such as: Catholic Health East (Moody’s: ‘A1′), Health Quest (Moody’s: ‘A3′), The State University of New York (Moody’s: ‘Aa3′), Berkshire Health Systems (Fitch: ‘BBB+’), LabCorp of America (Moody’s: ‘Baa2′), US Oncology, and Community Care Physicians.

“This transaction continues our corporate focus to acquire high quality MOBs with significant occupancy and strong credit tenants located in strategic locations with dominant healthcare systems,” said Mark D. Engstrom, Executive Vice President of Acquisitions for HTA. “We have worked hard at establishing strong relationships in the healthcare industry. With such relationships we have been able to timely identify and act on opportunities to acquire quality portfolio assets.”

Since January 1, HTA has acquired approximately $344.5 million in medical office and health care related assets based on acquisition price. These acquisitions involve approximately 1.5 million square feet of gross leasable area, which is approximately 98 percent leased.

House Call

Valley Doctors Balance Offices With House Calls

Sitting impatiently in a packed waiting room past your appointment time just hoping to be called next, seems like a far cry from the comfort of the old country doctor that made house calls.

A few Valley doctors are resurrecting this relationship-oriented style of medicine through a hybrid concierge model; some even make house calls in urgent situations.

Concierge care, which solely caters to a VIP clientele, has been around for a while. But Wayne Lipton, the founder of Concierge Choice Physicians, is touting a hybrid model that has a handful of doctors practicing in Arizona and more than 160 physicians in 16 states.

The hybrid approach allows concierge patients to have direct contact with their physician through e-mail or phone, same- or next-day appointments, extended visits and executive physicals. The doctors can still see other patients who didn’t feel the need to pay extra to join a concierge model.

“This approach is not only kinder and gentler to an area, it helps accomplish a number of goals,” Lipton says. “It’s a choice, not a requirement on the part of patients. So it’s an opportunity, and the opportunity is to have something that’s more akin to old-fashioned primary care. It’s also an opportunity for the doctor to continue to participate in the plan and the government plan they’d been in before.”

Dr. Susan Wilder, who has been a physician for more than 20 years, switched her practice, LifeScape Medical Associates, to the hybrid model about two years ago.

“We wanted to take the time needed with patients … not churn them through 40 patients a day,” says Wilder, founder and CEO of LifeScape Medical Associates in Scottsdale.

Wilder became a doctor to provide the kind of care she received as a child from her general practitioner, who knew her family’s medical history and who delivered her and her siblings.

“My ideal was to be the old-fashioned family doctor,” she says. “The concierge model allows us to have that relationship.”

Christine Craft, who has been a concierge patient for two years, says she opted to have more accessibility to and a closer relationship with her doctor.

Craft says most of her questions are health-related as opposed to sickness-related, but the conversations the hybrid model allows her to have with Wilder are worth the extra payments.

Craft and her husband didn’t have health issues when they became concierge patients, but since that time Craft’s husband has developed a serious illness.

She says she thought the concierge practice was valuable when she was healthy, but with a serious illness, “the value of it increases a hundred times. … The accessibility that my husband (has), to have that when times are scary and tough (is) even more valuable.”

Wilder isn’t the only doctor to find the concierge care beneficial to both her and her patients.

“It’s growing leaps and bounds,” Lipton says. “It’s growing numbers amongst the best and the brightest … because it is consistent with why they became primary care doctors to begin with.”

In the current health care system, where the only way to increase income is to increase patients, thereby decreasing the level of care, doctors are turning to concierge care to boost income.

“Sometimes I feel like Charlie Brown and the football” in the current health care system, Wilder says.

Although Wilder only has about 200 concierge patients and her practice has more than 1,500 non-concierge patients, she says the hybrid model has kept her practice alive financially.

“It doesn’t make millionaire doctors, but what it does is it bolsters the revenue of a practice efficiently to make up for what really is a very unsure level of compensation for primary physicians today, and it encourages excellence,” Lipton says.

The hybrid model not only boosts income, but also the fulfillment level of doctors.

It’s “much more rewarding to provide comprehensive care,” Wilder says.

Pat Walz VP - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Electronic Health Records And Cancer Care Are On Pat Walz’s Radar For Yuma Regional Medical Center

Pat Walz
President and CEO
Yuma Regional Medical Center
www.yumaregional.org

As the new president and CEO of Yuma Regional Medical Center, Pat Walz is looking to the future. Walz, who was named to the top spot at Yuma Regional in June, has several plans to make the hospital a leader in the health care industry, including implementing an electronic health record system throughout the community, creating a residency program and strengthening the hospital’s cancer care.

He says he wants Yuma Regional to “be leading edge for the whole state of Arizona” in 10 years.

“We don’t want our patients to feel like they need to go to Phoenix or Scripps in San Diego or Tucson,” he says. “We want to provide the same level of service in this community.”

Walz, who has been in the health care industry throughout his career, has been with Yuma Regional for five years, adding that he’d like to stay “as long as they let me. I think this is where I’m going to end my career.”

During his time at Yuma Regional, Walz served as chief financial officer, and the financial stability he attained for the hospital is one of his proudest career achievements.

“We have a very healthy balance sheet, a double-A bond rating and a lot of financial support that makes us able to invest in technology,” which allows Yuma Regional to provide the best health care to the community, Walz says.

In addition to providing a stepping stone to his current position, Walz says one thing he has learned from his background in finance is to always speak the truth.

“From a finance standpoint, one thing I’ve always prided myself (on) is providing accurate information,” he says. “I think when you establish that with physicians, staff, community — anybody — then when you talk people believe you.”

Another way the hospital serves the community is by being a member of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA).
“I think having that connection is really important,” Walz says. “It’s kind of a venue (for) when we have issues out in the rural areas.”

Speaking to the Legislature with AzHHA’s backing gives rural communities a louder voice that can compete with urban areas, he adds.

“(My job is) exciting to me in that we have a good medical staff, an excellent leadership team and some really committed employees,” Walz says. “(Yuma Regional) commits to the employees as well. We have a very good benefit plan. We stay competitive with the areas we have to recruit from … It’s a pretty exciting place to be and the board has a commitment to quality and patient safety.”

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Rona Curphy - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Rona Curphy, President And CEO Of Casa Grande Regional Medical Center

Rona Curphy
President And CEO
Casa Grande Regional Medical Center
www.casagrandehospital.com

As president and CEO of Casa Grande Regional Medical Center, Rona Curphy has moved to the top of the medical field thanks to her years of dedication.

From 2002 to 2009, Curphy served as the chief nursing officer at the nonprofit community-based hospital in Casa Grande. When she was asked to be interim CEO in February 2009, she jumped at the new experience. Curphy saw it as an opportunity to grow in her profession and to learn new skills. About five months later, Curphy was named Casa Grande Regional Medical Center’s official president and CEO.

As president and CEO, Curphy works to ensure that the hospital implements the strategic plans adopted by the board of directors.

“My duties are making sure we meet our mission, our vision of organization, making sure people are on top of strategic goals, engaging partners, providing the best quality health care environment for them to practice in, and making sure the staff has a great environment to work in,” Curphy says.

Curphy emphasizes that in her role she tries to be a visible and active community member. She sits on the chambers of different cities, on an economic development board and attends events so the hospital will be viewed as a part of the community.

Although Curphy currently does not hold a position on the Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association’s (AzHHA) board or committees, she has been very active with the organization in the past. While serving on the patient safety committee, Curphy looked at new patient initiatives throughout the state.

“I had to look at everybody’s concerns and issues as we made decisions going forward,” Curphy says.

She also served on the Campaign for Caring committee, where she ended up chairing one of four task forces. On the government affairs committee, Curphy helped give legislators ideas on what stands the hospital and health care community wanted them to take on issues. She points out that AzHHA is an important organization to the community and to hospitals.

“AzHHA is our voice across Arizona,” Curphy says. “Having one voice where lots of members can give ideas, gives us opportunities to work with the Legislature to get things done.”

Curphy says another key benefit of AzHHA is that it offers the opportunity to network nationwide. But Curphy adds, a big challenge AzHHA faces is being able to successfully manage networking events during a very busy time in the health care industry. With all of the new legislation on health care being written and passed, it is easy to get caught up in focusing solely on the issues, rather than the networking aspect of the organization, she says.

Curphy wants to see more members take advantage of the opportunities that AzHHA presents, and to get involved in the events the organization hosts. In addition, Curphy says AzHHA has to focus on maintaining and recruiting new members, “… and making sure (the organization is) not too costly for members, or difficult for members to participate. If they make the cost too much, there will only be a few members, and the end result doesn’t allow for great networking.

“I think it is up to (AzHHA) to get out to member hospitals, to get people out there to say, ‘Get involved,’” Curphy says.


arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Jim Dickson Copper Queen Community Hospital - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Through Tele-Medicine And Rural Clinics, Jim Dickson Serves Arizona

Jim Dickson
CEO
Copper Queen Community Hospital
www.cqch.org

Having been in the health care field for 40 years, Jim Dickson is well suited for his position as CEO of Bisbee’s Copper Queen Community Hospital. Dickson has worked in hospitals of all sizes, from large ones with 440 beds to smaller hospitals, such as Copper Queen, with just 15 beds.

Dickson says he prefers rural, smaller hospitals because of the “strong intrinsic reward to working in rural areas.”

Copper Queen’s main challenge is serving a small number of people scattered over a large area, Dickson says. In his 12 years as CEO of Copper Queen, Dickson has put in place several programs to better serve Bisbee’s rural population.

“We’re bringing care where it was not there,” he says. “So, we’re actually really helping people.”

The hospital uses tele-medicine, which allows patients to see specialists across the state through video conferencing. Dickson’s strong commitment to tele-medicine has brought about tele-stroke, -dermatology, -cardiology and -trauma units. Copper Queen collaborates with Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, University Medical Center in Tucson, the University of Arizona’s tele-medicine program and the Carondelet Health System for its tele-medicine consultations.

He says tele-medicine is the way to solve the problem of physician shortages in various parts of the state, which puts rural communities at a disadvantage.

Dickson says he enjoys launching and employing new technologies and hopes Copper Queen will be the first virtual hospital in the United States. Becoming a virtual hospital will “eliminate the disparities of care between rural and city” hospitals, adds Dickson, who also chairs the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association’s (AzHHA) small hospital committee.

AzHHA, Dickson says, has helped Copper Queen affect legislation at the state level. Currently, Dickson, Copper Queen and AzHHA are lobbying the state Legislature to pass a law that will ensure Arizona’s health insurance companies cover tele-medicine. With AzHHA’s backing and advocacy, he says this legislation will guarantee that people in rural areas receive better health care.

Dickson says he is pushing “to ensure that all the people in the communities we serve receive the care they deserve as American citizens.”

Another way Copper Queen serves its patients is by operating the state’s three largest rural health care clinics. Through these clinics and tele-medicine, Copper Queen not only has begun to serve its patients better, but also save money. The hospital has grown by 30 percent each of the past three years.

During his time at Copper Queen, Dickson has used his experience to bring quality health care to the people of Bisbee and its surrounding communities.

“They needed it,” he says. “In Bisbee, you can really make a difference.”

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010