Last Friday ADHS Interim Director Herrington announced in a blog post that, since the Governor ended the public health emergency, ADHS would no longer be updating their COVID hospital utilization dashboard. Katherine Davis Young and Stephanie Innes saw that post and began asking questions of the department.

Among their questions was something like…

“We understand that the executive order requiring hospital metrics has now been rescinded, but why aren’t you going to use the hospital utilization metrics being collected by AHCCCS to update the ADHS dashboard? After all, AHCCCS is giving hospitals a 0.25% increase in a Differential Adjusted Payment to incentivize the reporting?”

The response from ADHS spokesperson Steve Elliott was that the AHCCCS data wasn’t in the right format, so they aren’t going to use it. Period.

Katherine Davis Young did a piece for KJZZ and tweeted it out, disclosing that ADHS was blowing off the AHCCCS collected COVID hospital data. That gave stakeholders and AzPHA an opportunity to amplify Interim Director Herrington’s directive. It wasn’t long before folks in the Governor’s Office learned about his puzzling and astonishingly foolish decision.

Alas, we racked up yet another victory for the 1st amendment, diligent reporting, and public health advocate amplification. By the end of the day on Friday, Interim Director Herrington had changed his mind, saying that ADHS would indeed use the COVID hospital utilization data AHCCCS is paying for to update their dashboard… albeit he still wouldn’t commit to a date they would be doing so.

Kudos to Katherine Davis Young, Stephanie Innes and the public health world for exposing this terrible decision and getting corrective action. At least we will still be able to detect increases in COVID hospitalizations now (if/when the ADHS follows through).

April 12, 2022 Update: As it turns out, AHCCCS is not asking hospitals to turn in any COVID-specific data as part of their 0.25% DAP. As a result, ADHS is not receiving any COVID-specific data- meaning that the ADHS hospital metric dashboard is now essentially worthless. The federal government still requires hospitals to submit some COVID specific data…  and the best available data on hospital COVID metrics are located on the CDC website at: CDC COVID Data Tracker: Hospital Admissions. Use the AZ dropdown box.