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Community Partnerships Through Volunteering

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rhonda Anderson RN,DNSc(h), FAAN,FACHE


As I reflect on our profession and my professional colleagues contributions to patients, families, and the community I became passionate about continuing to give back to our community through volunteering.


I would like to start a special interest group of nurses passionate about giving back to their community through volunteering and sharing of their time and talents with those less fortunate. 


I reviewing community agencies who have volunteers as part of their team I found our first partnership with Hospice of the Valley.  Below please find their varied volunteer opportunities and a testimonial from a nurse volunteer.


Please note that their volunteer activities and opportunities are in a variety of areas and they look to the following as the commitment of their volunteers:

   It is helpful to patients and families to have a volunteer working with them about 4 hours a week.  This provides for them consistency in assistance and support but there can be some flexibility in that commitment.


There is an orientation for the volunteer, providing comprehensive education on ethics, history of Hospice and Palliative care and Death and Dying.  This is provided by the Hospice clinical and non clinical staff at no cost to the volunteer.


As I learned about the diverse areas of need for volunteers I became very excited!!  There is something for everyone and I would like to share those with you:


  1.)  Palliative care units --(10 located across the valley) need volunteers to greet and support patients and families through preparing meals; creating a home like environment; offering companionship and just being present with them.

   2.)  Ryan House -- needs volunteers to read and play with children who are their so the childs family can have some respite time.  Volunteers also provide support and practicle assistance to siblings and the pediatric patient with complex medical conditions.

   3.)  Gardiner Home Palliative Care Unit--(patients in this setting are experiencing dementia) has the biggest need for volunteers to use sensory stimulation and other activities for those patients.  Volunteers receive additional education for this very

          special and meaningful work.

   4.)  Patients at home -- volunteers are companions; give respite to the caregiver; and provide transportation for errands and doctors appointments.


Shelly Oliver a retired nurse is volunteering at Gardiner House and states "nurse volunteers can support the clinical staff by providing observations that the other non clinical volunteers may not notice; nurses volunteers also have the distinct advantage of understanding the patients needs."  Shelly also states "It is GREAT to say to a family who can go home and rest--I am going to be here with your loved one".  Shelly says she feels so lucky that she is able to do this work.


Each of us has a passion to give back to others beyond our daily paid work.  Volunteering is one way to give back to those in need and to families who need rest.


I ask each of you to search your heart and mind and if you so desire to volunteer join me in starting a nurses special interest group and volunteer in any of the above areas with Hospice of the Valley.

For more information you may contact Hospice at 602-636-6336 for more information or apply online


I am excited for us as we support these patients and their families through volunteering!

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HHS Statement on Arizona Health Insurance Rates

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 27, 2016


News Release





U.S. Department of Health & Human Services                                 



            Twitter @HHSMedia



October 19, 2016


Statement on Arizona Health Insurance Rates


WASHINGTON, DC – Jonathan Gold, Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the following statement on 2017 Arizona health insurance rate changes.


“It’s important for Arizonans to know that headline Marketplace rate changes do not reflect what most consumers actually pay, because the majority of those who might buy 2017 coverage are eligible for tax credits to keep plans affordable. In 2016, average premiums for the three quarters of Arizona consumers with tax credits decreased by $3 per month, or 2 percent, even though headline rates rose. Meanwhile, for the 53 percent of people in Arizona with employer coverage, premiums have grown at some of the slowest rates on record since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. All Arizona consumers, no matter where they get their coverage, are benefiting from ACA protections like no more exclusions for preexisting conditions, no annual limits on coverage, and no cost sharing for preventive services.” 





Since the Affordable Care Act became law, health care prices have risen at the lowest rate in 50 years.  Premiums for the 150 million Americans with employer-sponsored insurance have grown at some of the slowest rates on record. 


The Health Insurance Marketplace is designed for affordability. Two important features of the Marketplace protect Arizona consumers from the impact of rate increases.


  • Tax credits go up along with premiums. Tax credits are designed to protect consumers from rate increases and keep coverage affordable, increasing by whatever amount the cost of the second-lowest-cost silver, or benchmark plan increases. So if all premiums in a market go up by similar amounts, 69 percent of consumers in Arizona will not have to pay more, since tax credits will increase in parallel. Last year, despite headlines projecting double-digit rate increases, the average premium increased just $4 per month for consumers with tax credits, and 7 out of 10 Marketplace consumers could purchase 2016 coverage for less than $75 per month.  Even if premiums and tax credits rise, the overall cost of the ACA is still below CBO’s original projections. CBO’s recent projections estimate that for 2019 coverage, ACA coverage will cost $49 billion less than originally predicted.


  • Consumers can shop around to find the best plan. In 2016, consumers could choose among an average of 10 plans per issuer. Variations in provider network and drug formulary makeup from plan to plan can offer consumers meaningful choice. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, it was almost impossible to shop around for health insurance. Not only were many Americans barred from coverage due to pre-existing conditions, but those who did have insurance through the individual market were often trapped in a plan, since people with even small health problems could be denied coverage or charged an exorbitant price if they tried to switch plans. Today, any Marketplace consumer can purchase any plan during open enrollment, and Marketplaces let consumers compare prices, plan designs, and networks to find the best choice for them.


Current Marketplace rates are well below initial Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections.

  • Independent researchers recently calculated that 2016 Marketplace rates are anywhere between 12 percent and 20 percent below what CBO initially predicted.
  • 2017 Marketplace rate increases are subject to a number of predictable upward pressures that will dissipate next year.
    • The end of the ACA’s temporary reinsurance program in 2016 puts upward pressure on 2017 rate increases that won’t exist for 2018 and beyond.
    • Evidence suggests that some issuers priced below cost for 2014, reflecting the uncertainties of a new market and a desire to offer strongly competitive initial rates. With two full years of experience, many issuers are making one-time adjustments this year to bring premiums in line with observed costs.
  • CBO's projections show that the law is working to cover the uninsured, while costing less than expected. Recent estimates find that the law's coverage provisions will cost 28 percent less in 2019 than in CBO's original projections.


Marketplace and non-Marketplace consumers are benefiting from slow health care cost growth since the enactment of the ACA.

  • Since 2010, per-enrollee costs in both public and private health insurance have grown more slowly than in previous decades – contributing to lower-than-expected costs in the Marketplace.
  • Ten times as many people are covered by employers as purchase insurance in the Marketplace and the average premium for employer-sponsored family coverage rose about 4% in 2015, far below the almost 8% average rate seen from 2000 through 2010.

·         The White House Council of Economic Advisers calculates that the average family premium in Arizona was $2,900 lower in 2015 than if premiums had grown at the same rate as the pre-ACA decade. Part of the progress in slowing cost growth is the Administration’s work to develop new, innovative ways of paying for care that align payment with improved outcomes which can help sustain and build on the slowdown in health care costs

·         This benefits Marketplace consumers as well. CBO has consistently predicted that Marketplace rates would grow faster than employer premiums for the first few years, but then grow at the same pace as employer coverage.

  • That means Marketplace consumers will also benefit if slow health care cost growth can be sustained and the Marketplace advances in its stability and reaches a steady state.


The Marketplace is providing 179,445 Arizona consumers with coverage they value, because it improves their access to care and financial security.

  • Nearly 4 out of 5 Marketplace consumers are very or somewhat satisfied with their health insurance. Importantly, they are just as satisfied with their coverage as people with employer plans.
  • Marketplace consumers are accessing primary, specialist, and other care they need at rates similar to people with employer coverage and far higher than the uninsured, thanks in part to moderate cost sharing.
  • The share of families struggling to pay medical bills fell for all income groups between 2013 and 2015, and fell the most for the moderate-income families most likely to have gained coverage through the Marketplace.

·         Only 10.8 percent of people in Arizona went uninsured in 2015, new Census data show, down from 16.9 percent in 2010. That dramatic drop means 410,000 more Arizonans had coverage in 2015.




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State and County Officials Confirm Two Cases of Measles in Arizona

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 27, 2016

Arizona Department of Health Services issued the following news release: 


News Release

For Immediate Release: May 26, 2016

Holly Ward
Arizona Department of Health Services

Courtney Kreuzwiesner
Maricopa Co. Department of 
Public Health

Joe Pyritz
Pinal County Public 
Health Services District

State and county officials confirm two cases of measles in Arizona
Recommended: check immunization status immediately and be aware of symptoms

ARIZONA — The Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Pinal County Public Health Services District have confirmed two cases of measles in Arizona. Both are recovering.

One of the cases may have exposed the public at the following times and locations:

  • Saturday, May 21, 2016: Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 North Maricopa Road in Maricopa from approximately 6:00 PM until 2:00 AM (May 22).
  • Sunday, May 22, 2016: Arco AM/PM Store, 2245 East Florence Boulevard in Casa Grande from 8:30 AM until 11:00 AM.

The other case did not have exposure to public places and does not pose a risk to the public.

“Measles is a highly contagious yet vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “It is spread through the air and through coughing, sneezing, and contact with mucus or saliva from the nose, mouth, or throat of an infected person.” You may be protected from measles if you were vaccinated for measles or if you have previously had the disease. You are immune to measles if you have received two Measles, Mumps, and Rubella [MMR] vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine. Health care providers are required to report suspect cases of measles to their local health department.

The illness begins with symptoms which include fever (101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose. A rash that is red, raised, and blotchy appears after several days. The rash begins on the head at the hairline and moves down the body.

“Symptoms can appear up to 21 days after exposure,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director and disease control administrator for Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “Based on what we know now for the above exposures, if you have not developed measles symptoms by June 13, 2016, you have not been infected. A person with measles is considered to be contagious as soon as symptoms start and can last four days after the rash appears.”

What to do if you think you have measles:

  • If you have a health care provider, contact them by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area.
  • If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles.

The measles cases originated in the private Eloy Detention Center. Seven additional measles tests are being conducted at the Arizona State Laboratory. The facility has taken steps to prevent further spread within the detention center.

For information on signs and symptoms of measles, or where you can find vaccine, please visit Medical questions should be directed to your health care provider. For outbreak-related questions, community members may call 602-839-2275.

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2016 APRN Legislation Ceases to Move Forward

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 24, 2016

When SB1473 (APRN Full Practice Authority) failed to advance through the legislature, it was decided to move forward with a pared-down, strike-everything amendment to HB2236.  This was an effort to remove the “collaboration” language and therefore remove this obstacle to NP/CNM empanelment and reimbursement. 


As part of the proposal we incorporated language presently found in the Board of Nursing rules regarding when it is appropriate to engage in consultations and make referrals.  It is our belief that the language found in HB2236 requires consultation and referrals with physicians only when it is in the best interest of the patient or when the circumstances of the patient are outside the knowledge and experience of the NP/CNM.  In our view this would not prevent referrals to other providers if the NP/CNM has the experience and knowledge to exercise the clinical judgment necessary to make an appropriate referral to a non-physician provider.  We do not believe that this language mandates that NP/CNMs can only refer and consult with physicians.


Although the language of the strike-everything amendment for HB 2236 has been available for more than two weeks, we have recently been informed by the Executive Director of the State Board of Nursing, that she and their lobbyist believe this language in fact would limit all referrals by NP/CNMs to physicians only. 


We do not agree with that interpretation but believe that if the Board is going to take that position it creates a handicap to present NP practice which many feel is not outweighed by the removal of  both “collaboration” and the present requirement that NPs/CNMs establish a relationship with one or more physicians.  


We will request that Senator Barto not move the bill forward.  This is particularly unfortunate since it probably will contribute to the political obstacles that will complicate future attempts  to remove the “collaboration” language and impact efforts on behalf of the consensus model. 


For full information regarding the 2016 APRN Full Practice Authority Initiative, please visit the Top Issues Page.

Tags:  APRN  Consensus  Public Policy 

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AzNA Northern Arizona (AZ05) Call for Board Nominations

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 23, 2016


AZ05 Northern Arizona Nomination/Election Announcement

RN Colleagues;

The Arizona Nurses’ Association Northern Arizona Chapter (AZ05) is on a Mission to:


To advance, promote and protect the values, contributions and development of Northern Arizona’s professional nurses through support of nursing scholarship and activities in the community that showcase the nurses’ role in health promotion and disease prevention.


Northern Arizona’s Chapter AZ05 is pursuing candidates from the following Counties for Executive Board positions:

Mohave Navajo

Apache Coconino

Yavapai Gila


The following positions are open; President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. If you are interested in serving in one of these two-year term positions or would like to nominate a candidate;


Simply (and briefly) complete the consent to serve form and return it to by April 1. Elections will be held online in April.


If you have questions or suggestions on how AZ05 can serve our communities, please feel free to contact me at I look forward to hearing from you!


Katie Windsor
Interim President – AZ05


Carol Stevens, PhD, RN

President – Arizona Nurses’ Association

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