PHOENIX — To help Arizona’s hospitals weather the impact of COVID-19, Governor Doug Ducey announced today that the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) will work with its provider partners to make available more than $50 million in accelerated hospital payments and advances and extend an additional $5 million in new COVID-19 related funding to Critical Access Hospitals throughout the state. A Critical Access Hospital is a rural acute care hospital located more than a 35-mile drive from any other hospital.
“Our hospitals represent the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “We need them operating at full strength, which is why AHCCCS will be advancing these payments ahead of schedule. I’m grateful to AHCCCS Director Jami Snyder for her leadership and to the health care professionals across our state working day and night to provide care to those in need and save lives.”
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorizes AHCCCS to use the 6.2 percent increase in federal matching dollars (FMAP) to increase supplemental payments to Critical Access Hospitals by $5.3 million in additional payments. AHCCCS intends to make these payments in April.
"As health care leaders, we are committed to doing our part to ensure Arizona’s hospital systems provide excellent care for patients during this COVID-19 crisis but that comes at a significant cost," said Jennifer Carusetta, Executive Director of the Health System Alliance of Arizona. "We are grateful for the leadership of AHCCCS Director Jami Snyder and her team for securing additional resources that will provide much needed relief to Arizona hospitals as we manage the COVID-19 pandemic."
Through a combination of agency authorities, AHCCCS expects to accelerate supplemental payments to hospitals that participate in graduate medical education programs and operate trauma facilities. Select payments could be made this month, with additional funding available in June, more than two months ahead of the scheduled timetable.
AHCCCS continues to explore additional opportunities, with federal approval, to secure another $270 million in hospital advances.
Arizona was one of the first states to submit a request to waive certain Medicaid and KidsCare (CHIP) program requirements in order to address the COVID-19 outbreak and strengthen the provider workforce, remove barriers to care for AHCCCS members, enhance Medicaid services and supports for vulnerable Arizonans, and remove cost-sharing and other administrative requirements.
Find more details about actions Arizona is taking in response to COVID-19 HERE.