Posts Tagged ‘Arizona Department of Health Services’

Arizona State Hospital In Good Standing

March 14th, 2014

Last September the Arizona State Hospital (ASH) was inspected (surveyed) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The survey team can review over 20 different areas and three were identified that we needed to address: Governing Body, Patient Rights, and Nursing Services.   In December, we developed and implemented a Plan of Correction which was submitted to CMS.  Some people think certification or licensure surveys are something to fear.  At the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and particularly at ASH we take a different approach.  Surveys are an opportunity.  They are part of the quality improvement process that health care facilities employ to make sure patients receive high quality care.  

A few weeks ago we had a return visit from CMS surveyors to verify whether we executed our Plan of Correction.   The entire team at ASH did a great job during the inspection- ensuring that the surveyors had everything that they needed to meet their objectives.  The required documentation was easy to find, and the surveyors got to see how well our team works together.  Today we received good news from CMS.  They’ve concluded that we’re satisfying their requirements, and that the Arizona State Hospital is in good standing, including our Deemed Status as a result of our Joint Commission Certification.  Congratulations Team ASH. 

Having external entities such as CMS and the Joint Commission (JC) review your organization creates an exceptional opportunity to get a fresh set of eyes on what a facility is providing for services.  If you think about it in the quality realm, the survey is an evaluation using evidence based practices.  Survey and accreditation standards are built to determine whether programs are delivering services in accordance with the accepted “Standards of Care” that have been developed from years of surveys, experience, research and best practice from regulators, clinicians, academics, legal analysis and patient experience.  Why would a program not want to have an opportunity to be evaluated according to these standards? 

So while some people look at surveys and their results as a negative reflection on the program we need to reframe that look from the lens of quality.  We want quality services and outcomes for patients.  Learning from both internal and external quality processes helps organizations meet those goals.  Continuous quality improvement only happens when you continually evaluate the services through the quality lens.  The team at ASH and ADHS is proud of the work that staff at every level are doing to meet the needs of some of Arizona’s most vulnerable citizens and fulfill our requirement of delivering high quality care. 

BTW: You can read more about some of our initiatives to improve the quality of care at the State Hospital here and here.

Patient-driven Solution Needs Your Help

December 13th, 2012

The Patients and Hospital Rehab Departments at the Hospital are working together with the Phoenix Rescue Mission (homeless shelter) to create Blessing Bags. Blessing Bags are large gallon sized Ziploc bags filled with basic necessities which will be handed out by the Phoenix Rescue Mission to the homeless. 

But they need some donations to get going.  The patients would like to begin assembling bags soon so they’re  asking for any donations to be received by December 31.  The rehab department has placed boxes to collect the items in various areas around the hospital and in the lobby of the 150 Building.  They need donations of:  gallon size Ziploc bags, chap stick, packages of tissues, toothbrushes, mouthwash, shampoo (small sizes), combs, soap, band aids, hand-wipes, socks, gift cards for retail stores, trail mix, granola bars, crackers, and/or gum or mints. 

Anything on the list above that you can bring in over the next week or so will really help. The contact at the Hospital is Jackie Tisler, Director of Rehab Services – (602.220.6171). Donations can be dropped off at the Arizona State  Hospital civil lobby (501 N. 24th St) or the Arizona Department of Health Services 150 Building lobby.


“It’s a Wrap”

May 25th, 2012

It’s been a busy week for our medical marijuana team.  Our 2-week dispensary application period ended a couple of hours ago…  as did the hearing regarding adding new debilitating medical conditions.

We received 484 dispensary applications over the last 2 weeks.  As you know, we have 126 Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAAs) and a maximum of 126 possible dispensaries (one per CHAA).   Some of our CHAA’s received multiple applications- for example, the Estrella CHAA had 16 applicants and the Flagstaff E  CHAA 13 had applicants.  Many other CHAAs had only 1 applicant. 27 areas didn’t receive any applications.  You can see the number of applications by CHAA on our website.

Our team just finished logging all of the applications that we received and has already started reviewing some of the applications for “Administrative Completeness”.  Any applications that are “Administratively Incomplete” (in other words, if they’re missing something) will be returned to the applicants so they can correct whatever is wrong.  In June, we’ll be checking for “Substantive Completeness” (which is a more thorough, quality review), and the applicants will have another chance to make corrections.  We expect to award all of the Registration Certificates on August 7.

Registration Certificates will be awarded to applicants in CHAAs with only 1 applicant on August 7 as long as their application is Administratively and Substantively complete.  We’ll be holding a random drawing on August 7 to award Certificates in the CHAAs with more than 1 qualified applicant.   Of course, some CHAAs will not have a dispensary this year because we didn’t have an applicant.

We also had our hearing regarding adding debilitating medical conditions this afternoon at our Laboratory.  We heard from dozens of folks – some urged us to add the conditions and some that urged us not to.  We have also received hundreds of comments on-line.  We have several more weeks before we need to make a decision.  If you’d like to view the public comment session, we have a link on our website.


ADHS is Seeking an Insightful, Creative Leader for Behavioral Health

May 15th, 2012

Do you think you can help us in “Promoting Health and Wellness for all Arizonans”.  That’s the motto here at ADHS and we are looking for a new leader to join our Behavioral Health team.

We’re looking for an Assistant Director who is insightful and can see the forest and trees at the same time.  This person oversees general business operations, contract compliance and work on policy development.  We’re looking for a caring, forward thinker to join our team that cares for all the folks in the public behavioral health system.

Visit the state jobs website and put in health services.  We’ll start reviewing applicants after May 25th.

Weight of the Nation – Free HBO

May 14th, 2012

Update: We were incorrect in the earlier posting about free access to HBO. In fact, if you are not an HBO subscriber, you can watch the documentary online for free here:

We don’t shy away from tough battles in public health.  Through the last century, we’ve tackled all types of diseases, worked with public infrastructure to provide healthy water, fought to reduce teen pregnancies, but there’s one battle we haven’t won.  Some folks may remember it as the Battle of the Bulge – it hasn’t gone away and it is a “growing” concern.

Nationwide and in Arizona, more than two out of three adults are overweight or obese. Matter of fact, we’re 15th in the country for childhood obesity. 

The fight has new life today with new partners jumping in to help.  You can watch the Weight of the Nation special for free on HBO tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm.  The series of documentaries look at the consequences, choices, challenges and children in crisis.  The Institutes of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente joined HBO in making the series.

We’ve created a special website to show what is available to help you if you’re looking to make a change – either for yourself or in your community.  One of the things we want to do is share stories that work.  Pin your story to our Pinterest page or fill out a survey.

This is an ongoing effort in Arizona . If you don’t get the chance to watch HBO tonight, you can watch it online or come to ADHS this summer.  We’re going to host a viewing with opportunities to talk about how to change the direction of the obesity problem.  I’ll keep you posted.

ADHS Looking for a Forward-thinking Assistant Director

May 8th, 2012

Promoting Health and Wellness for all Arizonans” is the motto of the Arizona Department of Health Services.  We promote and protect the health of Arizona’s children and adults and set the standard for personal and community health through direct care, science, public policy and leadership.  Want a piece of the action? 

We’re looking for an experienced and proactive leader to become our new Assistant Director for Licensing Services. This key position reports directly to me and manages six different state and federal licensing units including Long Term Care, Medical Facilities, Child Care, Assisted Living, Behavioral Health, and Special Licensing.  The job oversees about 200 employees and a budget of $17M.  But- what makes the job exciting is that you’ll have a unique opportunity to lead a dynamic team and use your talents and skills to make Arizona a healthier place- “Promoting Health and Wellness for All Arizonans”.

Marijuana & Opiates – Recent Study Shows a Link

March 29th, 2012

One of the missing ingredients in medical marijuana has been peer-reviewed science- but there is some out there. Studies are happening across the country to see how marijuana impacts and interacts with other drugs.  One small-scale study done by UC San Francisco recently suggests using marijuana with opiates allowed some patients to reduce the amount of opiates needed to manage their pain.  This was a small study done with only 21 patients – so it indicates more research needs to be done.  The paper was published this month in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Qualifying patients in the Arizona registry can receive information about studies like this through the program – when you sign up you can check a box to find out about the studies or we also post information on our website.

100 Years (actually more) of the AZ State Hospital

February 16th, 2012

Check our excellent new web page about the history of the AZ State hospital. The stuff on the new hospital history page is fascinating. One of the things that struck me is that the issues of concern to the Superintendent of the Hospital 100 years ago were remarkable similar to today. The 100 year old documents we have talk about things like staff shortages, salaries, budget shortfalls and building maintenance and renovation. All of these are still relevant today! Of course, we’ve made huge strides in treatment, patient therapy techniques and implementation, overcrowding, patient quality of life and community reintegration- so in those respects today’s hospital is nothing like it was 100 years ago. The hospital continues to be innovative leaders in mental health for the state of Arizona. We anticipate the next 100 years to be filled with hope and promise.

Dispensary Application Timeline Forecast

February 6th, 2012

As you know from earlier blog posts a judge ruled in a state case that had challenged our dispensary applicant selection criteria.  The judge’s decision basically struck down several of the selection criteria we had been planning to use to for competitive areas of the state (areas where there will be more than 1 applicant per Community Health Analysis Area.

Our teams are busy dotting the Is and crossing the Ts right now on an express rule package that would remove the dispensary selection criteria struck down (AZ residency, child support, previous bankruptcies etc.) and to set new dates to accept dispensary applications.  Our rule changes will focus solely on making adjustments to comply with the judge’s decision and to set a new timeline for accepting dispensary applications.  

Our team is making good progress on the Rule package, and we expect to be finished this month (February).  I’ll keep you posted here, and I’ll let you know when the rule package is filed- including a link to the final set of rules.  We’re still on track to be able to accept dispensary applications in April.  We’d then have  about 45 days to review and award dispensary certificates- so we could potentially award up to 125 dispensary certificates by mid- to late-June. If someone is pretty much ready to go at that point, we could see medical marijuana dispensaries operating in July or August.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Update

January 19th, 2012


With the recent ruling in Maricopa Superior Court, ADHS is analyzing the best way to responsibly begin accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries. Last week, the Governor instructed ADHS to proceed with the dispensary portion of the AMMA. One of the stumbling blocks was the pending Compassion First vs. Arizona case, which challenged some of ADHS’ rules for prospective dispensary owners. Now that the judge has ruled, ADHS is working to determine the next steps to begin accepting dispensary applications.