Implementation of New Statutory Requirements Impacting AHCCCS

Although the 2020 legislative session ended abruptly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a few bills which will impact the State’s Medicaid program successfully navigated their way to the Governor’s desk and were signed into law. These laws go into effect on August 25, 2020.

AHCCCS must take steps to implement these new laws, which often include updates to rules, contracts, policies, provider registration, claims processing, financial monitoring and reporting, the state plan, and in some instances even the Waiver.

Bills which were signed into law in the 2020 legislative session include:

SB1523, the Mental Health Omnibus, establishes the Children’s Behavioral Health Services Fund, and appropriates $8 million to be administered by AHCCCS. The Fund is to be used to enter into an agreement with one or more contractors for behavioral health (BH) services for children who are uninsured/underinsured, is referred for BH services by an educational institution, and has written parental consent to obtain the BH services. Under this legislation,  AHCCCS is also to conduct a survey of public schools to obtain information regarding the delivery of BH services on or off school grounds. The bill also creates the suicide mortality review team to review data around suicide and recommend changes to laws or rules to decrease the incidences of preventable suicide.

HB2668 creates the Health Care Investment Fund, for the purpose of funding the non-federal share of the cost for directed payments to hospitals, and for payments to physicians and dentists to restore provider rates to the rate levels in existence before FY2008-2009.

HB2244 will allow AHCCCS to reimburse for adult emergency dental services in excess of the $1,000 statutory limit for members receiving services through an IHS/638 facility, and qualify for 100 percent Federal match (contingent upon approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).


Valle de Sol Serves Community Minority Mental Health Needs

July is national Minority Mental Health Month. In honor of the great work done statewide, AHCCCS is highlighting the work of several community partners. Valle del Sol, based in Phoenix, was founded by Latino activists. CEO Carmen Heredia answered a few questions about Valle del Sol and how they help to address minority mental health needs. 

1. Would you mind describing how your organization addresses minority mental health? 

Valle del Sol was founded 50 years ago by activists in the Latino community that were seeking culturally competent mental health and social services in the valley.   Even though our organization is open to everyone, the strong roots as a Latino founded, Latino led, and Latino serving organization are still core to our makeup and mission.

Minorities often have a distrust of government and health services due to system issues and years of oppressive practices that exclude and marginalize people. We know health disparities exist and they are pronounced among communities of color.   

For the last 50 years, Valle del Sol has established itself as a trusted voice and a go-to advocate for the Latino community.   Our Hispanic Leadership Institute now has over 1,800 alumni that have graduated from our programs and many are in elected positions from school boards to the U.S. Congress.  We use this network and this platform to advocate for minorities, for health and human services on a frequent basis in the media and in the legislature.   Addressing health disparities is a tenant of our organization.

2. Is any of your programming offered in other languages? 

Yes, all services are available in Spanish and usually by a bilingual service provider or in-house interpreter.   We pride ourselves in hiring bilingual Spanish/English staff and make it a required skill set for all our front desk, call center, and medical assistant support staff.    We work hard at recruiting bilingual professional staff as counselors, doctors, and nurses across our programs.  We offer our staff a language stipend differential for testing at a qualified bilingual level.

We utilize a variety of resources and vendors to provide services in languages other than Spanish and English such as Akorbi, the Language Line, and Bromberg and Associates.   

3. What would you like members of the community to know about Valle and your work with minority mental health? 

            Valle del Sol offers culturally competent services our aim is to provide equitable access to high quality healthcare. 

4. How can those interested in your services contact you? 

            İClaro que si!   Valle del Sol 602-523-9312

For more information about Minority Mental Health Month, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness for resources. Read our other provider profiles about HEAAL and NACA


HEAAL Serves Maricopa County Minority Populations

Minority Mental Health Month

July is national Minority Mental Health Month. In honor of the great work being done statewide, AHCCCS is highlighting several community partners.

Tanner Community Development, based in Phoenix, runs the Help Enrich African American Lives (HEAAL) coalition. Program Manager Loren Grizzard answered a few questions about the coalition and how they help address minority mental health.

1. How does the coalition address minority mental health?

The HEAAL coalition partners with mental health professionals to provide community education opportunities. In addition, several coalition members are providers of such services, contribute to our community forums, and monthly spotlights. Additionally, we attempt to collect data through surveys and community outreach to assess our community’s perceived mental health posture.

2. The HEAAL coalition specifically targets African Americans. Is this Maricopa County specific? Are others also encouraged to participate?

HEAAL has the opportunity to serve Maricopa County. We, however, focus on a service area bounded by Camelback Road (north), 48th Street (east), South Mountain Range (south), and 81st Avenue (west).  Although our target population is the African American community we service all communities in our service area and throughout the county.

3. Is any of your programming offered in other languages? 

We endeavor to provide Spanish translation at our community forums and flyers for various events are provided in Spanish.  This depends greatly on the availability of translation services as none of our team members are fluent in Spanish.

4. What would you like members of the community to know about Tanner and the coalition? 

Community engagement and collaboration are the hallmark to the achievement of the goals of Tanner and the HEAAL coalition. We strive to ensure that all voices are heard and all have a seat at the table. We are ever-expanding in bringing new voices to the challenges our impacting the community we serve.

5. How can those interested in your services contact you? 

Program Manager – Loren Grizzard

700 East Jefferson Street, Suite 200

Phoenix, AZ 85034

602-253-6904 ext. 205

Web –

For more information about Minority Mental Health Month, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness for resources. To read our first provider profile on Native Americans for Community Action (NACA), based in Flagstaff, click here.