Improving Access to Care for Arizona’s Most Fragile Population

Update on AZ HB2521

At MGA Homecare, the patient comes first. Seeing the need to improve access to care for the medically fragile pediatric population, MGA led the charge the past two legislative sessions to work with legislators to introduce and subsequently pass legislation that creates a vehicle for relatives to become LHAs (Licensed Health Aides).

HB2521 was introduced by Representatives Joanne Osborne and Regina Cobb and was signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. A huge champion of this issue, Representative Osborne has been pushing for this option for families for several years after learning about Colorado’s Medicaid program that allows relatives to be paid caregivers under its home health benefit.

MGA proudly led the coalition of other homecare providers this legislative session, as there was clean-up legislation that needed to pass containing essential details on licensure, terminology, and payment. A collaborative partnership formed with AHCCCS and the BON on this legislation will help get this program implemented.

According to Alexandra Koloskus, Director of Policy and Legislation at MGA, “MGA worked with state senators, representatives, and other providers to get the Relative Caregiver legislation initially passed. Now that the clean-up legislation passed this year, we are spearheading talks with the AZ Board of Nursing and the State Medicaid Program to get the awaited program up and running.” This must be done to make details very clear and unquestionable.

What Yet Needs to Be Done

At this time of writing, there are still two critical steps that need to be completed. One resides with the Arizona Board of Nursing, and one under AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid program). MGA is still leading the way with those two entities, facilitating communication and making sure what was envisioned in HB2521 can be implemented as soon as possible for Arizona families.

The 2021 law requires the AZ Board of Nursing to pass regulations to create training and licensure (caregivers will be Licensed Health Aides, as opposed to Licensed Nurse Aides). Then the state needs final approval from CMS to get federal funds for payment.

MGA is following the drafting of the regulations very closely and will update clients as steps are made.

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