President Biggs Sits Down with Ted Simons on Arizona Horizon

President Biggs sits down with Ted Simons to discuss the issues the legislature faced with passing the 2015 State Budget.

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Senator McComish

Senator McComish

Senate Majority Leader McComish on Arizona Horizon

Senate Majority Leader McComish sits down with House Speaker Tobin for a discussion of what’s happening down at the State Capitol on Arizona Horizon.

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Senate passes President’s bill for external review of CPS

President Biggs

President Biggs

The State Senate this afternoon passed SB 1386, a bill providing money for an independent agency to conduct an external review of Child Protective Services CPS). The bill passed 29-0, and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The idea behind the bill is to bring in an outside group to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the state’s child welfare system, identifying best practices used in other states and determining recommendations for improving the delivery of CPS in Arizona.

This bill follows the discovery last fall that Child Protective Services ignored thousands of reports of possible child neglect. In January lawmakers approved more than $5 million in new spending for more CPS case workers. Governor Brewer has also put together a team of child welfare experts to determine legislation to further improve the agency.

“This bill does nothing to interfere with ongoing efforts to improve child welfare in Arizona. In fact, it complements it,” said President Andy Biggs, sponsor of SB 1386.”I think it’s a mistake to just have current CPS staff determine the future of CPS. Arizona has a structural problem with the child welfare system. Other states are not seeing this level of failure.”

“I think we are letting down the children of Arizona if we don’t pursue a full review, and find out what works in other states and how we can bring those effective practices to Arizona.”

SB 1386 provides $250,000 for the outside review.

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CPS needs outside eyes to help develop reforms

President Biggs

President Biggs

Our View: Andy Biggs’ bill should win quick approval

By Editorial board The Republic | azcentral.com Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:32 PM

Senate President Andy Biggs is pushing a bill to bring in outside experts to review Arizona’s child-welfare system. It’s a good idea that won unanimous approval from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week. Today, it should pass the Senate Appropriations Committee.

It makes sense to spend $250,000 on a fresh look at the long-troubled agency that is now called the Division of Child Safety and Family Services. National experts who specialize in this field can compare what Arizona is doing to best practices from around the country.

To read the rest of the editorial, click here:

http://www.azcentral.com/opinions/articles/20140218arizona-cps-outside-experts-review-editorial.html

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Doing the people’s work at the State Capitol

Senator Griffin

Senator Griffin

PHOENIX — Less than 30 words described Republican State Sen. Gail Griffin’s view of what encapsulates good government and her responsibilities as an elected official.

The wording of the Second Section of Article 2 of the Arizona Constitution succinctly describes the powers of the state government and of the legislators, said Griffin, who is the Senate President pro tem.

Holding up a copy of the section’s text which reads: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights,” she said any action by the state government, especially legislators, which violates those words are constitutionally not allowed.

To read more of this profile of Senator Griffin, click here:

http://www.willcoxrangenews.com/news/article_ece1c19c-9369-11e3-822c-0019bb2963f4.html

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President Biggs Sits Down with Speaker Tobin on Arizona Horizon

President Biggs sits down with House Speaker Tobin for their monthly discussion of what’s happening down at the State Capitol on Arizona Horizon.

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Arizona patients now know the price

Senator Barto

Senator Barto

In addition to continuing rising costs of health care, another concern for patients in Arizona is the wildly different costs of the same procedure, depending on where you go for the procedure. Now, a new law is calling attention to these varying costs.

Beginning on January 1st, hospitals and healthcare providers in Arizona are now required to post the out-of-pocket costs for some of their most common procedures. As required by HB 2045, signed into law last June by Governor Brewer, healthcare providers must post the direct pay cost for their 25 most common services and hospitals are required to post the prices for their 50 most common services. Senator Nancy Barto (R-15) sponsored the amendment to the bill that put in place these requirements.

In a study done by the University of California San Francisco, healthcare costs vary widely between states and even between communities. For example, a patient could pay $21,000 to treat heart failure in Denver, Colorado or $9,000 for the same procedure in Jackson, Mississippi. The HealthCare Incentives Improvement Institute gave Arizona an “F” rating for healthcare transparency. “Arizonans simply don’t know what they could be paying for a procedure if they are paying for it themselves or through a Health Savings Account. All they know is what their co-pay is,” says Senator Barto, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.

In an attempt to fix this, Senator Barto followed the lead of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, which began posting their prices for services online five years ago. This, according to the New York Times, has led other healthcare providers in the area to post their prices, driving down costs.

Senator Barto’s goal is to lower the enormous cost of healthcare for Arizonans. “With more people having higher deductibles or not having insurance altogether, knowing how much an operation or procedures costs is incredibly important. How can we lower medical bills if patients are buying health care with no idea what it costs? Now that the bill has passed, people need to make sure that their healthcare providers are following the law and they are getting the true cost of their healthcare.”

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