ArizOTA Legislative Updates

May 20, 2019

Given that the occupational therapy (OT) profession is subject to laws and regulations,
advocacy plays a crucial role in shaping decisions that impact the practice and delivery of
patient care. To ensure decisions made at the Arizona State Legislature (“Legislature”)
positively impact the ability to help patients, ArizOTA must play an active role in shaping the
laws that govern the profession.

Legislative Efforts
Through the partnership with ArizOTA’s local lobbying firm, TRIADVOCATES, you – as an ArizOTA
member – have a daily presence at the Legislature during each legislative session, as well as
strong representation during the interim, when many of the concepts and strategies are
developed for the ensuing year. As your contract lobbyist, it is our job to understand the issues
important to ArizOTA members, to know your profession well enough to be able to identify
which policy discussions or activities are most likely to affect you, and to act as your eyes, ears
and voice in monitoring and responding to those activities. TRIADVOCATES serves as ArizOTA’s
“eyes and ears” at the Capitol, providing timely information to the legislative committee chairs on
all legislative issues of concern.

Every year, hundreds of bills are introduced on topics ranging from anesthesiologist assistants
to pension reform. Because Arizona legislators are part-time lawmakers, they have their own
livelihoods to pursue and simply do not have the time, interest, technical background, staff
support or resources to understand the factual content of every bill. Technical facts are often
overlooked in the legislative process and, as a result, political facts surrounding an issue can
often overshadow the issue itself. Given the general unfamiliarity with OT – and how it differs
from PT – amongst elected officials and decision-makers, relationship-building and education
are a critical part of our public affairs strategy. In addition to serving as “eyes and ears” for
ArizOTA members at the Capitol, TRIADVOCATES proactively works to educate stakeholders and
create links between occupation, occupational participation and health in ways that are
understandable to policymakers—ways that demonstrate the direct correlation between a
person’s active participation in life and his or her health status.

On February 26, 2019, TRIADVOCATES facilitated legislative visits with ArizOTA members—an
effort that also included developing tailored talking points and coordinating the recognition of
ArizOTA members on the House floor by the Vice-Chair of the House Health Committee,
Representative Jay Lawrence. Several members of the TRIADVOCATES team and ArizOTA met
with the following legislators to ensure each was left with an understanding of occupational
therapy, how it benefits Arizonans and the importance of protecting funding for AHCCCS
coverage in the state budget:

 Senator Kate Brophy McGee — Chair, Senate Health Committee; District 28 (North
Central Phoenix, Paradise Valley)
 Senator Heather Carter — Vice Chair, Senate Health Committee; District 15 (North
Phoenix— Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, North Gateway Village)
 Representative Nancy Barto — Chair, House Health Committee; District 15 (North
Phoenix— Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, North Gateway Village)

 Representative Alma Hernandez — Member of the House Health Committee; District 3
(Southwest Tucson)
 Representative Becky Nutt — Member of the House Health Committee; District 14
(Southern Arizona—Sierra Vista, Willcox)
 Representative Kelli Butler — Member of the House Health Committee, District 28
(North Central Phoenix, Paradise Valley)
 Representative Jay Lawrence — Vice-Chair, House Health Committee; District 23
(East Valley— Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills)
 Representative Pamela Powers Hannley — Member of the House Health Committee;
District 9 (North Tucson)
 Senator Sylvia Allen — Member of the Senate Health Committee; District 6 (Northeast
Arizona—Payson, Heber, Flagstaff)
 Senator Rebecca Rios — Member of the Senate Health Committee; District 17 (South
Phoenix— Laveen, South Mountain, Gila River Indian Reservation)
 Senator Victoria Steele — Member of the Senate Health Committee; District 9
(Catalina Foothills, Casas Adobes)
 Senator Tony Navarrete — Member of the Senate Health Committee; District 30
(Central Phoenix)
 Senator Rick Gray — Senator Majority Leader, Member of the Senate Health
Committee; District 21 (Northwest Valley—Peoria, Sun City, El Mirage)
State Agencies

Many critical decisions are made outside of the legislative setting, including some with potential
impact on the OT profession in Arizona. To ensure that ArizOTA is represented as state
agencies develop their respective regulatory proposals, TRIADVOCATES remains engaged with
agency leadership and monitors for any relevant activity. This includes:

Pediatrics — Each state has the authority to develop its own early intervention program based
on state needs and resources. In Arizona, the program is referred to as the Arizona Early
Intervention Program (“AzEIP”). AzEIP partners with families in developing an Individualized
Family Service Plan (“IFSP”), which focuses on expanding the child’s engagement,
independence, and success in typical daily activities and routines by building on family and child
resources and identifying the necessary services and supports, including OT, to attain identified
outcomes. While a handful of state agencies participate in AzEIP, the Arizona Department of

Economic Security (“DES”)—Division on Developmental Disabilities (“DDD”) and the Arizona
Health Care Cost Containment System (“AHCCCS”) – the state Medicaid system in Arizona –
are responsible for establishing the rate structure for providers, including OT practitioners.
Provider Rates — On March 5, 2019, TRIADVOCATES facilitated introductory meetings with
ArizOTA and DDD Deputy Assistant Director Dr. Pearlette Ramos to discuss concerns
surrounding provider rates and to identify potential partnership opportunities between ArizOTA
and DDD.

School Setting — Given the crucial role that OTs play in schools by supporting students to
succeed in their daily classroom routines, TRIADVOCATES is working with ArizOTA to develop a
strong relationship with the Arizona Department of Education (“ADE”). Efforts are underway to
facilitate a meeting with agency leadership within ADE and ArizOTA to discuss concerns
surrounding billing practices.

Job Growth — According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of occupational
therapists is projected to grow 21% by 2026—much faster than the average for all occupations.
OT will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and
disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Cerebral Palsy or autism. With higher-education
programs across the state preparing students for a career in OT, there are strong opportunities
to not only engage policymakers representing districts in which the schools are located, but also
state agencies, including the Arizona Commerce Authority, that are focused on supporting
industries that demonstrate strong potential growth throughout the state.

TRIADVOCATES, on behalf of ArizOTA, has been or is currently engaged on several regulatory
issues, including:
 Occupational Licensing
 Provider Rates
 AHCCCS Complete Care Implementation
 AHCCCS Billing Codes
 Workers’ Comp & Third-Party Payors—Industrial Commission of Arizona
During the 2018 legislative session, TRIADVOCATES, on behalf of ArizOTA, worked with the
Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners to support its efforts surrounding board
continuation. As part of those efforts, TRIADVOCATES met with legislators to not only educate them
about OT as a profession, but to demonstrate how the practice benefits the state (i.e., cost
savings and improved quality of life). The best way to protect the AHCCCS funding secured in
2017 is by consistently communicating the benefits of OT, which TRIADVOCATES views as a top
priority for ArizOTA.

Legislative Resource for Members
As a member of ArizOTA, you have access to information that directly affects you as an OT or
OTA, particularly as it relates to the laws and rules that regulate the profession. Most recently,
TRIADVOCATES served as a guest presenter at the NAU School of OT to provide an overview of
the legislative process and discuss opportunities for OT and OTA students to get involved in
advocacy efforts.

In August 2018, TRIADVOCATES provided a legislative update presentation at the 2018 ArizOTA
Annual Fall Conference and attended a “meet-and-greet” happy hour to engage with ArizOTA
members regarding any questions, concerns, priorities or legislative interests. TRIADVOCATES will
be providing legislative updates at upcoming ArizOTA conferences and looks forward to further
engaging with the ArizOTA membership.

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