The 2022 Legislative Session ended 85 days ago, which means the bills that passed and were signed become effective next Saturday (laws become effective 90 days after the end of the legislative session).

The session was an enigma. We lost a ton of important public health authority, but there were also positive policy developments & increased investment in several public health programs (because for the first time in forever we had a bipartisan budget). Here’s a summary of the laws that will take effect next Saturday (with links to the language):

Laws Taking Away Public Health Authority

SB 1009 Greatly restricts the public health emergency authority of future governors & state health directors. Ducey enjoyed 700+ days of public health emergency authority (A.R.S. § 26-303) but future governors will only have 120 days of public health emergency authority – after which the legislature must approve extensions in 30-day increments.

HB2616 Permanently takes universal classroom masking away as a public health intervention. Parents must give expressed written consent for their child to wear a mask in the classroom.

HB2453 Prohibits the state or any political subdivision from requiring anybody to wear a mask or face covering on the governmental entity’s premises.

HB2086 Prohibits the ADHS from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine (or it’s ancestors) from being required for school attendance.

HB2498 Prohibits a government entity from requiring anybody to receive a vaccination for COVID-19 (including staff & ancestor vaccines).

HB2507 Prohibits state/local government from directly or indirectly requiring or enforcing anything that ‘adversely affects a religious organization’ during a public health emergency, including ‘exclusion, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal or denial’.

Laws Taking Away Reproductive Rights

SB1164– Reduced the gestational age in which abortions can be performed from 20 weeks to 15 weeks.

Laws Improving Home & Community Based Services

HB 2157 – Appropriates $1.44B in Medicaid in FY 2022 to implement the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) home & community-based services for persons with developmental disabilities. AHCCCS Plan Here

SB1272 allows AHCCCS to extend post-partum Medicaid for up to one year after birth in the SOBRA eligibility category (to 150% of federal poverty).

Laws Improving Access to Care

HB2144 Requires health insurers to cover biomarker testing as part of patients’ treatment plans

HB2113 People with Down Syndrome are now automatically medically eligible for AHCCCS & DD services

SB1162 Expands the list of exemptions from the 90-morphine milligram equivalent (MME) limit on opioids prescriptions to include patients experiencing chronic intractable pain or receiving opioid treatment for perioperative care following an inpatient surgical procedure.

SB1444 Prohibits ADHS leadership from retaliating against a patient due to family participation in Arizona State Hospital Independent Oversight Committee meetings (retaliation has been common). Makes the ASH Superintendent and Chief Medical Officer attend and participate in meetings (they’ve been blowing them off).

SB1162 Prohibits a court from collecting a fee for forcible entry or detainer (housing) & eliminates the $18 forcible entry and detainer filing fee.

Good Budget Items

The Medicaid pregnancy provider rate will increase by 88% for certain pregnancy care provider codes (59400, 59510, 59160, & 59618).

KidsCare members will be able to remain eligible for 12 months.

There will be a new chiropractic care benefit for AHCCCS members (when ordered by a primary care physician or primary care practitioner). Limit 20 visits/year.

Behavioral health providers will be added to the ADHS’ student loan repayment program if they agree to work in public or non-profit BH hospitals, & BH residential facilities.

$105M will be invested over 3 years invested in various programs to enhance the nursing workforce, including:

  • Nurse education programs for universities and community college districts to supplement their existing nurse education programs;
  • Money for institutions that provide clinical training to nurses;
  • Transition to practice program – “nurse residency” program for new graduate nurses;
  • Behavioral health technician training programs; and
  • ‘Accelerated’ nursing programs ($6 million to Creighton, $44 million to other universities)

$25M was appropriated to encourage development of secure BH residential facilities. Priority populations are persons with SMI diagnoses chronically resistant to treatment & court ordered to a secure facility.

The Arizona State Hospital can give out up to $700,000 in hiring bonuses this fiscal year. ASH will also enjoy an additional $7M appropriation for upgraded video/audio.

ADES’ Adult Protective Services will receive an increase in funding so hire an additional 95 staff ($11M).

Development Disabilities providers will receive a 9.7% rate increase. The reimbursement rate for Elderly and Physically Disabled providers will increase 11%.

The Housing Trust Fund (administered by the Arizona Department of Housing) will receive an additional $60M next fiscal year. Another $15M is earmarked for ‘homelessness’ but with few details about how that can be used (at least there will be a new administration for half of the fiscal year).