The state’s constitution gives one primary performance measure to the Arizona State Legislature: to develop a budget before the end of the fiscal year (June 30 at 11:59pm). This year that’s a week from Thursday.
I presume that there are negotiations happening behind the scenes – but nothing has leaked out since last Monday – when a draft budget that was supposedly negotiated by House and Senate (R) leadership & the governor’s office was circulated among legislators (see our previous blog post).
There were no budget hearings last week, and as of right now there’s nothing posted on www.azleg.gov to suggest there will be hearings this week.
The only real thing that happened last week at the legislature was a joint meeting of the House and Senate Health Committee to go over the Auditor General’s report about how ADHS (while Director Christ was in charge) fell terribly behind in nursing home complaint investigations from 2019 to 2021.
Instead of catching up and implementing recommendations from the Auditor, they simply reclassified the vast majority of high risk complaints to low and medium to give the appearance that they were improving. Many high risk complaints were simply closed out with no investigation. See our previous blog post: Auditor General’s Office Produces Scathing Review of ADHS’ Nursing Home Complaint Investigations During the Director Christ Era
Note: All the unprofessional conduct documented by the Auditor General occurred while Director Christ was in charge.
For a summary of what happened at the hearings and the damning findings of the auditor general’s report read these articles:
- Arizona lawmakers: Was lax nursing-home oversight criminal neglect?
- Frustrated lawmakers grill state health agency director over failure to investigate abuse in care facilities
- Arizona lawmakers call for changes to health department
The entire 3+ hour hearing is posted here: Joint House Senate Nursing Home Complaint Hearing. To be honest, I’ve never seen a hearing quite like this in all of my 30+ years following state government.