Today’s Update from Governor Ducey (6 new priorities)

  1. Governor Ducey Announces Arizona Together Initiative, Linking Arizonans To Resources During COVID-19 Outbreak
  2. Governor Ducey Announces Public-Private Partnership To Secure Additional Medical Equipment
  3. Governor Ducey Takes Step To Free Up More Physicians To Address COVID-19
  4. Governor Ducey And Superintendent Hoffman Announce Childcare For COVID-19 Frontline Workers
  5. Arizona Medicaid Program Receives Authority To Implement Program Changes To Address COVID-19
  6. Governor Ducey Issues Order Delaying Evictions For Renters Impacted By COVID-19

Governor Ducey Announces Arizona Together Initiative, Linking Arizonans To Resources During COVID-19 Outbreak

PHOENIX⁠ — Governor Doug Ducey today launched the Arizona Together initiative to support Arizonans during the COVID-19 outbreak, connecting individuals and businesses to resources, raising money for community organizations and providing information on volunteer opportunities. A website, ArizonaTogether.org, serves as the centralized location for Arizonans to find help or provide support.

“As we work to combat the spread of COVID-19, access to resources that can help support families and businesses in this time of need is critical,” said Governor Ducey. “We’re calling on Arizonans to be informed, get engaged, and support organizations doing important work to keep our communities safe and healthy. Arizona will get through this together.”

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund, established by Governor Ducey as part of the initiative, will provide financial support to organizations working to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in Arizona. Initially, the fund will focus on the following immediate needs:

Funding of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline medical personnel.

Supporting non-profit organizations that help vulnerable Arizonans through food banks, homeless shelters, domestic violence facilities and other services.

Expanding technology access for low-income students to help them transition to online learning.

Michael J. Bidwill, Chairman and President of the Arizona Cardinals, has stepped forward to provide a generous founding contribution to the fund of $1 million.

“Like so many in our community, this unprecedented crisis has us asking what we can do to help and what might have the greatest impact,” said Cardinals Chairman and President Michael Bidwill. “We are grateful for the creation of this relief fund, are proud to support its critically important mission and hope that others throughout the community can join this effort in whatever way that they are able. As a team, we will continue to work on additional ways to make a difference and know that as a community we will get through this challenging time together.”

The Arizona Together initiative brings together the growing list of resources and information being offered by state agencies and community partners. Individuals who register to volunteer through the ArizonaTogether.org website will be connected with organizations across the state seeking community assistance.

“We continue to see a need for donations and volunteers to help Arizona beat this pandemic,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Our food banks, hospitals, youth centers, and nonprofits serving the community all need support. We’re calling on Arizonans to come together and help where they can, while continuing to follow safe practices and the guidance of public health.”

Please visit ArizonaTogether.org to learn more, donate and find volunteer opportunities.


Governor Ducey Announces Public-Private Partnership To Secure Additional Medical Equipment

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced a new partnership between the state of Arizona, the BSTRONG Initiative partnering with the Global Empowerment Mission, and the Verstandig Foundation to secure up to 1 million N-95 masks and other equipment for Arizona health care professionals.

As part of the partnership, the first 250,000 N-95 masks will be donated by the Verstandig Foundation, with anticipated arrival within 10 days.

“Arizona is proactively seeking innovative and resourceful ways to ensure our medical professionals and first responders have the protection they need,” said Governor Ducey. “For doctors, nurses and other personnel providing testing and care, these protective supplies are critical. I am immensely grateful to Bethenny Frankel and the BSTRONG Initiative and Grant Verstandig for stepping up to help in this way and for their continued partnership to protect public health.”

“Across the country, the need for personal protective equipment is significant,” said Bethenny Frankel, founder of the BSTRONG Initiative. “Through our disaster relief networks, we are working with suppliers throughout the nation to help meet demand and get supplies and resources to the people saving lives. We’re proud to work with Grant Verstandig and the State of Arizona to make this partnership possible.”

“This partnership is about breaking down barriers and getting resources to our everyday heroes on the front lines of this war against COVID-19,” said Grant Verstandig. “These unprecedented times require truly innovative solutions, and in that area I applaud Governor Ducey and his team for their truly distinguished leadership in the fight against COVID-19.”

Over the weekend, Governor Ducey announced a new shipment of medical supplies for Arizona health care professionals from the Strategic National Stockpile. The shipment includes more than 440,000 personal protective equipment that will be distributed to county health departments to provide to local hospitals and medical professionals as they address the COVID-19 outbreak and treat patients.

About the BSTRONG Initiative:
The BSTRONG Initiative provides real time emergency assistance to individuals and families in crisis. Since 2017, the initiative has worked with suppliers and charities to raise and distribute millions of dollars and aid to victims of natural disasters, including victims impacted by the Australian bushfires, the Puerto Rican earthquake and Hurricane Dorian. The initiative is on pace to allocate over 1.5 million medical masks to help fight COVID-19, and counting.

Donations can be made to the BSTRONG Initiative at bethenny.com/bstrong.


Governor Ducey Takes Step To Free Up More Physicians To Address COVID-19

PHOENIX⁠ — Governor Ducey yesterday notified the Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of his decision to exempt the State of Arizona from a federal regulation requiring Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to be supervised by a physician. The reform will expand access to care, especially in rural areas, and free up physicians for other needed medical services.

“Arizona’s hospitals and medical professionals need all the help and resources they can get right now,” said Governor Ducey. “I am confident that this exemption will enhance access to high quality care, provide additional options to our rural hospitals, and is in the best interest of the citizens of Arizona.”

The Governor’s Office consulted with the Executive Directors of both the Arizona Nursing Board and the Arizona Medical Board prior to notifying CMS of today’s exemption. To date, 17 states have taken similar actions.

See a PDF of the letter HERE.


Governor Ducey And Superintendent Hoffman Announce Childcare For COVID-19 Frontline Workers

PHOENIX⁠ — Today, Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman jointly announced a partnership to launch Arizona Enrichment Centers starting next week to offer childcare for the children of first responders, critical healthcare workers, and essential public sector workers, including child safety workers. This announcement comes as school closures have been extended and other safety measures have been put into place to respond to the spread of COVID-19.

This initiative is made possible thanks to the strong leadership and partnership of several school districts across the state. With more expected to join in the coming days and weeks, several of our school leaders are already offering childcare services to provide much needed assistance to kids and families in their communities, especially critical workforce employees.

All school sites will follow the CDC Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs, the ADHS Childcare Facility COVID-19 Guidance, as well as guidance issued by local public health departments.

“This initiative will offer critical support for the women and men working on the front lines to respond to COVID-19,” said Governor Ducey. “We will continue to work with our outstanding school leaders all across Arizona to provide more capacity to serve these families.”

“This is just another way that our schools are stepping up to support our students and families right now,” said Superintendent Hoffman. “I’m grateful to the continued leadership from our school leaders, who are going above and beyond to provide critical services like meals, distance learning, social-emotional support and more to our students.”

Key things to know about the Student Enrichment Centers:

  • Children and staff/volunteers will have their temperatures taken upon entering the enrichment center – anyone with a fever will not be admitted.
  • Volunteers/staff at the enrichment centers will wipe down surfaces frequently with disinfectant.
  • Each room will not exceed a safe maximum of students, supported by at least one adult; this will both allow for personalized attention and will meet social distancing needs.
  • Children will be offered a site based on their home address and their parent or caregiver’s eligibility.
  • Districts are working to select schools in close proximity to hospitals to add convenience for health care workers.
  • Centers will be open Monday through Friday. Hours may vary by location.
  • The environment will be safe and supportive, and staff will be prepared to respond to children’s social and emotional needs. All staff will complete background checks.
  • Children will be allowed to bring remote devices so they can work on schoolwork while at the centers.

More information will be forthcoming over the next few days. At this time, if you have pressing questions please email [email protected]


Arizona Medicaid Program Receives Authority To Implement Program Changes To Address COVID-19

PHOENIX⁠ — Arizona’s Medicaid agency today received federal approval to implement programmatic changes to help ensure access to health care for kids and vulnerable Arizonans.

Arizona was one of the first states to submit a request to waive certain Medicaid and KidsCare (CHIP) program requirements in order to address the COVID-19 outbreak. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved components of Arizona’s request under the 1135 Waiver. Under the waiver, AHCCCS will be able to strengthen the provider workforce, remove barriers to care for AHCCCS members, enhance Medicaid services and supports for vulnerable members, and remove burdensome cost-sharing and other administrative requirements.

“There is no greater priority than the health and safety of Arizonans,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Working with our federal partners, Arizona is increasing flexibility for health care providers and ensuring access to health care for our state’s most vulnerable populations during this unprecedented national emergency.”

CMS approved the agency’s request to relax some administrative requirements, including but not limited to:

  • Permitting providers located out of state to offer both emergency and non-emergency care to Arizona Medicaid and CHIP enrollees;
  • Streamlining provider enrollment requirements and waiving the provider enrollment fee during the course of the declared emergency period;
  • Suspending revalidation of providers who are located in state or otherwise directly impacted by the disaster event;
  • Waiving the requirement that physicians and other healthcare professionals be licensed in Arizona, to the extent consistent with state law;
  • Suspending pre-admission screening and annual resident review (PASRR) for individuals being considered for admission to a nursing facility;
  • And modifying existing prior authorization requirements for AHCCCS’ fee-for-service programs.

The allowances from CMS grant broad authority to Arizona to tailor changes to best serve its citizens. AHCCCS will make decisions about how and when these changes will be implemented in the coming days. The agency awaits direction from CMS regarding additional requested flexibilities.


Governor Ducey Issues Order Delaying Evictions For Renters Impacted By COVID-19

PHOENIX⁠ — Governor Ducey today issued an executive order delaying the enforcement of eviction action orders for renters impacted by COVID-19. The order applies to renters who are quarantining due to COVID-19 or are facing economic hardship as a result of the outbreak. It will remain in effect for 120 days.

“Nobody should be forced out of their home because of COVID-19,” said Governor Ducey. “This order is about protecting public health and providing relief to families impacted by this virus — whether through sickness or economic hardship. This is the right thing to do to support Arizona families during their time of need and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Today’s action aligns with recent federal actions. On March 18, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a suspension of all evictions for HUD-financed properties. On the same day, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency.

The Arizona Department of Housing offers assistance to Arizonans struggling to make mortgage payments. Through the Department’s “Save Our Home AZ” (SOHAZ) program, Arizonans may qualify for:

  • Principal Reduction Assistance,
  • Monthly Mortgage Subsidy Assistance for under and unemployed Arizonans,
  • And Second Lien Elimination Assistance.

View the executive order HERE.

SOHAZ Program questions may be directed to the Arizona Department of Housing, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. by calling (602) 771-1000 or by visiting housing.az.gov/save-our-home.

View information on the SOHAZ program HERE.

The Arizona Department of Housing also operates a toll-free hotline staffed with housing counselors to answer questions about housing in Arizona. To reach a housing counselor toll free, Arizonans can call: 1-877-448-1211.

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