Mission Moment: Traffic accident allows TMC Security to shine

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TMC Security Officer Raymond Dugdale

On a recent weekday morning, an elderly gentleman lost control of his vehicle and struck one of the signs at the entrance to the hospital.

TMC Security made sure the man and his wife were not injured, ensured the electricity was turned off to the sign, and directed traffic around any blockages.

Officers Raymond Dugdale and Richard Jaeger didn’t stop there.

They waited with the man and his wife about two hours until the tow truck arrived for the badly damaged vehicle.

They made sure they had water.

They helped the couple cancel some later medical appointments that day, since they would be dealing with the fallout from the accident.

The man called to thank their boss for the kindness they demonstrated.

IMG_8781Dugdale, who came to TMC three years ago after being drawn by its mission and the quality of its Security Department, said people might be surprised at the ways they are called upon to assist patients, families and visitors. On any given day, help might include assisting with failing batteries and flat tires, to finding lost belongings or even helping frazzled family members find their vehicles after parking in a rush to go to the side of a loved one.

“I like to be able to help people,” Dugdale said. “I just put myself in their shoes and in this case, it was clear the gentleman was receptive to help and appreciated it, so we responded in kind.”

Jaeger, who came to TMC nine months ago, added, “I would do the same for anybody.”

He learned kindness, ironically, from working in the prison industry. “Just because someone is incarcerated, you still treat them as people and so you help them when they need it. It’s the same thing here. I try to treat people like family, because they could be going through a lot here at the hospital.”

“What I like about TMC Security is that it’s a lot more than that. It’s overall just helping people, no matter what the issue is – like a complete care package.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with yo

Mission Moment: Life-saving care inspires first donation to Mix Miracles Radiothon

Phil WagmanAlthough Phil Wagman says he can never repay Tucson Medical Center for saving his granddaughter’s life, he certainly tries – making the first donation to the MIX Miracles Radiothon every year.

At just six-weeks-old, Wagman’s granddaughter, Kaylee, became extremely ill. “Little Kaylee had a terrible fever and other serious symptoms – we knew it wasn’t just a cold,” he explained.

Comprehensive tests at TMC revealed Wagman’s instincts were correct. Kaylee had a splenic infarction – a serious condition in which the oxygen supply to the spleen is cut-off and threatens the vital organ. “She could have died,” said Wagman. “Their equipment and expertise saved her.”

For the past six years, 94.9 MIXfm has broadcast the MIX Miracles Radiothon from Tucson Medical Center. The two-day, radio fundraiser benefits Tucson’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital – TMC for Children.

In 2011, the first Mix Miracles Radiothon got off to an early start at 5:30 a.m. The Radio DJs were surprised to find Wagman already waiting.

“I wanted to be the first donor – it was time to give back and keep giving back,” said Wagman, who has been the first donor of every Mix Miracles Radiothon.

Wagman takes his participation a step further than dollars, answering the phones and speaking on the radio. “I want to share our experience every year – so that everyone can feel confident their donation is going toward the medical equipment and programs that save children’s lives.”

How is Kaylee now? “She is a healthy young lady who will graduate high school in 2018,” Wagman said.

“She is wonderful and her family can’t imagine life without her.”

Wagman shared another aspect of Kaylee’s care that motivated his philanthropy. “At the time of Kaylee’s illness, her mother didn’t have insurance and that really added to her worry.”

Although, there was never a worry for Wagman. “A strong push for my loyalty and love of TMC is that care is the first and foremost priority. I also knew that TMC has a program to help families in financial need.”

The TMC Community Care program is designed to provide assistance for patients experiencing financial challenges. It’s another way TMC supports the community and provides exceptional care with compassion.

Wagman is a native Tucsonan, who grew up less than a mile from TMC – where he has worked for more than 25 years.

“As long as they have a Radiothon, TMC can count on me to be the first donor.”

Every dollar raised from the Mix Miracles Radiothon stays at TMC, helping purchase life-saving equipment, promoting health and safety education and expanding pediatric programs.

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share?

Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

 

Mission Moment: Bringing comfort to a patient in need

Tucson Medical Center employee Rochelle Kee went above and beyond, providing exceptional health care with compassion for a patient struggling to find needed medical equipment.

A health crisis can be frightening and overwhelming – which is why TMC employees actively look for ways to bring comfort and peace of mind to patients.

If you have walked by the TMC Outpatient Check-In Desk, then you’ve been met with a helpful smile from Kee, who has been a patient service representative at TMC for the last three years.

“I help patients check in for procedures, radiology and more,” she said. “The ‘more’ part covers a lot – because if I can’t help you, I’ll find the right person who can.”

Recently a patient approached Kee, though he wasn’t checking in – he had been discharged from the Emergency Department with a prescription for a cane and was looking for help.

“The gentleman was limping and I could tell he was suffering,” Kee said. “He was so frustrated and upset because every provider was too expensive or didn’t take his insurance.”

Kee took the initiative to call several locations. “Some of the locations couldn’t help and the few that could were across town, and he didn’t have transportation.”

The elderly patient seemed to lose all hope. “He said he was going to give up,” said Kee “But I don’t give up.” She had an idea – and asked the patient to wait a few more moments.

Kee went across the street to the Teal Saguaro, a thrift store operated by the TMC Auxiliary with proceeds supporting TMC and its services.

“He just couldn’t believe it when I came back with a cane for him,” said Kee. “And I couldn’t believe it when he started crying – he even gave me a hug.” Although Kee bought the cane herself, she presented it to the patient as a Christmas gift from TMC.

Her act of kindness quickly spread, with other TMC personnel offering the patient lunch at the nearby café inside the hospital.

Several fellow employees witnessed Kee’s interaction with the patient, and nominated her for a “Caught in the Act” recognition.

At TMC, we aspire to serve our community by being the best health system as defined by the quality of care we deliver, the experiences we create and the value we bring. Employees like Rochelle Kee help make the hospital’s vision a reality, every day.

“I just want to help people the best I can,” she said. “I feel blessed in my life and I hope I can be a blessing to others.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share?

Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

 

Mission Moment: Two hearts, two stories and a stocking

Marlise and baby in stockingBridget Stith’s Story

On a Christmas Eve nearly 46 years ago, Bridget Stith gave birth to her son, Kalyn, at TMC. Early on Christmas morning the TMC nurses carried her baby boy into the room, holding him in a precious holiday stocking.

“It was so memorable – I never forgot the thoughtful gift and the special joy it brought me and my family,” said Stith. “Every year since, Santa has left gifts in Kalyn’s stocking.”

Fast forward four decades – Stith and her family are active community advocates who were motivated to action when they made a discovery.

“That holiday stocking made such a difference for me, and I remember it as though it were yesterday,” said Stith. “I recently learned that TMC Labor and Delivery needed funds to provide stockings for babies born around the holidays – I’m sentimental and I felt in my heart that I had to do something.”

Marlise Mackey’s Story

In 1988, Marlise Mackey was rushed to TMC, excitedly expecting her first child – but that excitement turned to worry when complications arose.

“My placenta had detached and I was taken to surgery right away – I was so worried for me and my baby,” she said. Both baby and mom made it through – Mackey welcomed a baby boy at 7 lbs. 9 oz.

“I never forgot the TMC doctors and nurses, they were so caring and so professional – it inspired me to become a labor and delivery nurse.”

Today, Marlise Mackey has been a nurse for almost 30 years, and she currently serves as a surgical technician right here at TMC Labor and Delivery.

When an expectant mother was experiencing a detached placenta, just as Mackey had, she provided comfort as she moved the mom-to-be into the very same operating room that she was treated in.

“We saved the mom and baby, who was born at 7 lbs. 9 oz., just like my son,” said Mackey. “When I had the chance to give back to a mom and baby in the same OR, with a son born in the same way and at the same weight – my heart told me I could do more.”

Marlise and Bridget

Two Hearts

The two hearts came together when Bridget Stith provided a generous grant to the TMC Foundation to fund the stocking materials, and Marlise Mackey offered the time and effort to tailor the festive garb.

“The doctors and TMC nurses were so good to me – they went above and beyond, and this is my way of doing the same,” said Mackey.

The non-denominational holiday stockings are provided for babies born the week before, during and after the Christmas holiday.

“I’m so excited to be a part of it,” said Stith. “I hope the stockings bring families the same joy and memories that it still brings me.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we will share an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com

Mission Moment: Transporter warms hearts with simple gesture

Transporter Christina Ruebush living the mission by going beyond.
When a simple get-well card brought joy to a discouraged patient, a TMC employee decided to provide a thoughtful card to every patient she serves.

TMC patient transporter Christina Ruebush joined the ranks six months ago, after having an exceptional health care experience at TMC. “The staff were so polite and thoughtful that I knew this would be a great place to work.”

Ruebush’s fast-paced position takes her back-and-forth across TMC’s 100-acre campus, but she doesn’t mind. “I really enjoy the patient interaction,” she said. “Anytime I can be supportive or help in any way, I do.”

Not long ago, a patient motivated Ruebush to start doing something new. “I had transported an elderly man several times – each time he was very unhappy, grumpy and even mean.”

Ruebush thought about what might help. “So I went out and bought him a get-well card.”

When Ruebush was called to transport him again, she handed the card to the patient. Although Ruebush didn’t expect anything in return, she received a new understanding that would change her forever.

“The patient’s demeanor was completely different – he kindly thanked me over and over, and explained that he was alone, with no friends or family – he really just wanted someone to talk with.”

After enjoying a conversation with the patient, Ruebush stopped by the dollar store on the way home. “I decided that I was going to give every patient I transported a get-well card.”

For months, Ruebush has been providing every patient she transports with a card offering kind and sincere wishes. “It’s well worth the heartfelt thank yous and smiles I get,” she said.

This week, Ruebush is doing even more – she is providing each patient staying at TMC on Christmas Day with a get-well card.

“At TMC, we thrive on patient experience,” said Ruebush. “No matter what they are experiencing, patients appreciate knowing that TMC cares.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com

Mission Moments: Cultivating kindness at a crosswalk

Audrey Fimbres has started building extra time into her walk across Grant Road as she heads to Tucson Medical Center’s surgical tower from her office across the street.

A nurse and the manager of Pre-Anesthesia Testing located across from the main hospital, Fimbres typically comes upon others in need at least three times a week, and particularly as they head to the Emergency Department.

Recently, she came upon a man on crutches, carrying two large bags of belongings and clearly in pain, trying to make it from Grant to the Emergency Department. She had him rest where he was while she got a wheelchair to get him more comfortably to his destination.

The day before, she met a woman whose car was stalled in the intersection. Fimbres helped her call for assistance, and in the interim, called an officer from TMC Security, who was able to jump her car, revive her battery and get her back on the road.

“I want to help people and be kind to people – because sometimes people aren’t kind,” Fimbres said, adding that commuters were honking and yelling at the woman whose car had stalled. “She was crying and she clearly needed someone to be kind to her that day. You can’t just walk past people who are in distress or who need help.”

Fimbres started cultivating kindness as a way of getting through those awkward years in middle school when kids can be mean – and it’s something she’s practiced the rest of her life. It’s why she got into nursing 16 years ago and why she has been at TMC for the past 11.

“I became a nurse to take care of people and my favorite part of working here is all the ways we get to engage with our community,” she said. “I just think it’s important to think about what kind of day other people might be having and what they’re going through.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moments: Health insurance a passion for outreach specialist

Sylvia Brown lives insurance.

As an assister who helps community members sign up for insurance on the marketplace or through government channels, Brown knows when open enrollment comes around in the fall, she will be fielding lots of insurance inquiries.

“Off hours, after hours, weekends – you have to help when you get the call, so if it’s 7 or 8 p.m., that just means I’m hopping on the laptop to walk someone through it,” said Brown, who has been helping community members with marketplace enrollment since its inception in 2014.

After open enrollment began this fall, Brown received a phone call from a woman who was worried about the high cost of insurance premiums through her employer.

Brown walked her through why it was going to be more cost effective to stay with the employer’s health plan – but insurance can be complex, and she knew the woman would benefit from coming in after work to go through it in person. While she was at it, she helped the woman understand other benefit fundamentals, such as the difference between a health savings account and a flexible spending account – and how those could help her meet her health care goals.

“Even though I knew it wasn’t going to change the outcome and it was going to be a late evening, I wanted to take the time to sit with her and go through numbers with her so that she had peace of mind that she was making the right choices for herself and her family,” Brown said.

She makes her personal phone number easily accessible on social media – and has become a bit of the go-to guru on insurance for her family and friends as well.

Brown is so committed because she knows all too well the difference that insurance can make for a family.

“As a young single mother of small children, having to provide coverage by myself for my kids, there was one time my daughter jumped off the bed and cracked her head on the dresser,” Brown recalled. “I was so thankful I had budgeted to have insurance – so I know firsthand how important health coverage is and I also know there are so many consumers out there are in need of information.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moments: Missing tennis shoes meet a bulldog of a nurse

After an elderly patient left Tucson Medical Center following a stroke, her sister called in a panic.
The patient had compromised movement with partial paralysis of the left side that required special shoes to help with her mobility. They would be important in physical therapy sessions to help rebuild her strength.

And they were missing.

Will Bascom was the charge nurse that evening in the Emergency Department when the frantic call came in. He promised to track them down.

They weren’t in the Emergency Department and they weren’t in the room she recovered in. It took a bit of sleuthing, but ultimately it turned out they already had been brought back to the patient’s care home and were waiting for pickup.

The patient’s sister called later to say how appreciative she was. “Amidst his busy scheduled, he hunted them down. I can’t say enough about how he treated me when we were going through such a hard time.”

For Bascom, of course, he was going to help.

“More often than not, we see people in some of the worst times of their lives. It’s as simple as that. So if I get a request like this – to help someone out at a time when they’re going through this life-changing event and even a small thing means the world in that moment – I’m like a bulldog,” he said.

Bascom said people typically get into health care because they have compassion and empathy for others. “I treat everyone like my own family. I don’t care why you’re here and where you’re from. I’m not a judge. My job here is to take care of you. I think many people just lead such busy lives that it’s hard to have time for anyone else. I’ve always done what I could to help others.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moments: Community projects give added purpose to employee group

Each quarter the 230 employees who make up nine different areas of TMC Revenue Cycle & Health Information Management pick community projects in which to participate.

The employees, who work in areas such as admitting, billing and medical records, have been doing these projects as a group for 15 years – ever since their director, Maria Persons, brought the practice with her from Yale New Haven Health.

They’ve held drives for household items for survivors of domestic violence. They’ve adopted schools for back-to-school supplies and backpacks. They’ve collecting clothing and monetary donations for homeless teens. They’ve adopted nursing home residents, providing lap blankets, socks and other necessities we often take for granted.

They’ve donated books for book drives and stocked Peppi’s House “family closet” with pajamas, playing cards and family games for hospice visitors to help ease stress and build memories during those times of transition.

There have been holiday toy and food drives, campaigns to help provide for underserved children and most recently, an effort to provide vaccinations, leashes, collars and other supplies for the pets of homeless people. They’ve even helped fellow employees, supporting one whose home burned down and provided holiday food baskets for others going through rough patches.

The donations come from a “jeans fund” that employees pay into so they can wear jeans on the last Friday of the month, but the bulk of it comes from personal donations. The projects are selected by a committee of about a dozen employees from the nine areas and designed to mesh with TMC’s values.

“I am always overwhelmed by the generosity of the staff,” Persons said. “We’re a community-based hospital and we’re here to serve, and I think these efforts just add another level of humanity to the work we do here.”

She added that “it is just so heartening to see the work of the other community organizations out there helping and it feels good to jump in and be part of it. I’m so proud of the efforts they make each quarter because even though we’re a small group, I think we’re making a big impact.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moment: Nurse heroes saving a life out in the community

When nurses Kimberly Fore and Cindy Sacra agreed to staff the first aid booth at the recent Health Insurance Enrollment & Family Fun Festival in early December, they figured they might help with the small injuries that can come along with community running events.

With three races that morning, including nearly 1,000 girls and their running buddies doing a 5k through Girls on the Run, they figured it would be the usual. Scrapes. Maybe a blister. At worst, a turned ankle.

So in that split second when they heard there was a runner down during a 1-mile running event for men, they thought maybe they’d be patching up a skinned knee.

Fore, the director of TMC Hospice, started loping out to the scene. A passing runner told her it was serious. She broke into a sprint and found the runner in the throes of a serious medical event.

Sacra, the Clinical Informatics team lead, was right behind her, carrying medical supplies.

The two, along with TMCOne front desk service representative Lauren Barnhart, whose son was participating in the race, provided CPR until medics arrived.

In large part because of the speedy reaction of the TMC staff member, the man was revived and taken to the hospital.

While others at the festival were in awe of the heroic work that unfolded before them, Fore and Sacra afterward brushed off any adulation. “We’re nurses. This is what we do,” Fore said. Sacra agreed. “When we have an opportunity to help someone in need, we are always going to respond.”

Barnhart agreed that help was just instinctive. “It was my first reaction to help this gentleman. In the moment I was doing what I do best. It is so rewarding to know I helped save someone’s grandpa, uncle, brother, dad or son.”

But for others, it was a moment that crystallized TMC’s mission.

“Our mission is to provide exceptional health care with compassion. That was on display on this day and I am humbled to work with amazing people who serve our community every day,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of Community Benefit.

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we will share an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Heart of Hospice: The glue that holds the team together

Sherry Schneider, admissions coordinator for TMC Hospice, was honored this week as the Heart of Hospice.

Schneider, who has been with TMC Hospice for almost eight years, coordinates the assessments of patients to ensure they qualify for hospice benefits, and then begins the process of admitting patients into Hospice. She works hand and hand with admission nurses, case managers and physicians within TMC Hospice as well as all over the community. She is also usually the person one would call if they were considering hospice for themselves or a loved one.

TMC Hospice admissions coordinator holding a boquet of red and white rosesAnyone who was around for the morning celebration would have heard the superlatives flying around to describe Schneider.

“Sherry is a really incredible person to work with,” said Stephanie Carter, manager of hospice care. “She’s always willing to help out no matter how long it takes.”

According to the anonymous nomination, “Sherry is amazing! Somehow she is able to juggle so many responsibilities at once. She always does her best to get as many people seen as quickly as possible; often with not enough staff and paltry records. She navigates the murky waters of insurance companies, Medicare and the VA and case managers, all the while be politic and professional.”

But perhaps the highest praise comes by those who have had to step into her shoes when she is not around.

“I can safely say that anyone of us who has ever covered for her has likely cried at his or her desk, overwhelmed by the phone calls, requests, question and responsibilities,” the nominator said.

Her director, Kim Fore, put it succinctly, “Sherry is awesome. She’s our glue.”

The quarterly award comes with a recognition plaque on the unit, a pin and a dedicated parking space. The award allows colleagues to recognize their peers:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

Has a TMC Hospice nurse made a difference in your life? Consider recognizing this extraordinary nurse with a DAISY Award nomination.

Mission Moments: Responding to the disaster in Puerto Rico

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we will share an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Dr. Monica Guzman Zayas

Dr. Monica Guzman Zayas watched helplessly as news reports showed her childhood home in Puerto Rico being decimated by hurricane winds and rain.

Her parents still live in her small hometown of Villalba, in a remote central area high in the mountains. For 16 days, she couldn’t reach them to find out if they were in a refugee center or if they were OK.

When the anesthesiologist at Old Pueblo Anesthesia finally was able to connect with them, she was relieved that they were OK. But she heard terrible stories of people on dialysis or in need of oxygen tanks struggling for any kind of routine medical services given the damage across the island to road networks, communication channels and power services.

“It just all seemed so desperate and I could not believe what I was seeing. I knew I had to help somehow.”

Dr. Guzman decided to ask if TMC might be able to assist with medications. The Pharmacy rapidly identified drugs that could make an immediate impact in the disaster, including those needed to treat infections and provide relief from symptoms.

“I cannot tell you how happy I was,” she said. “I asked because I feel that TMC is very involved in the community to make a difference. They don’t just say it, they do it. Their goal is to help the community to make things better, and that was true when another part of this country was in great need,” she said.

Guzman partnered with an aid group comprised of other doctors from Puerto Rico who banded together to secure desperately needed medicine, equipment and supplies. Dr. Guzman drew strength from seeing the photo (above) of the medical staff on the ground in Puerto Rico opening the boxes.

“It feels great to be able to help, especially being originally from there and seeing the destruction and knowing that what you remember is not there,” Dr. Guzman said. “You feel you are so far away and not able to reach them, so to be able to make some difference, I just don’t have the words to describe it.”

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

TMC and Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona

 

Tucson Medical Center and Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona have a long-standing partnership that is delivering special friendship to isolated and homebound Arizonans.

For nearly 50 years, Mobile Meals has delivered nutritious, locally-prepared meals to elderly and disabled adults in Tucson and the greater area. The homegrown nonprofit supports the independence, health and dignity of homebound adults by providing home-delivered, special-diet meals each day.

Special effort providing special meals

“What makes Mobile Meals unique is we deliver meals that are specially prepared for each client’s specific nutritional needs,” said Tamara McKinney, executive director of Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona. “And they are delivered daily by volunteers who really care about our client’s health and well-being.”

The added challenge of delivering medically-tailored meals doesn’t discourage McKinney or the organization. “That’s when people need us most – 94 percent of our clients need a special diet,” she explained. “Our Mobile Meals dietitian works closely with each client’s medical provider to determine what specific diet is needed.”

A community working together

McKinney noted that Mobile Meals doesn’t happen without the support of local organizations. “TMC has been a key partner since Mobile Meals began in 1970, together we are helping our community’s most vulnerable adults maintain their health and independence.”

The specialized meals are prepared at TMC each day, explained Ruth Halter, TMC’s manager of food services and Mobile Meals board member. “Proper nutrition is key to maintaining health in general, but it becomes increasingly important when someone has a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, kidney disease or diabetes.”

Halter added that the meals have an indelible and positive effect. “Those receiving Mobile Meals are able to continue living at home – which is a benefit to our patients and the community as a whole.”

Volunteers make the difference

Like clockwork, a supervisor reviews the meals in the TMC Kitchen, ensuring each recipient receives the correct food. Volunteers soon arrive to pick-up and deliver.

“The delivery is the best part,” said Mobile Meals volunteer Bev Lundquist. “We sit, talk and get to know one another – I’m friends with every person I deliver to.”

The connection and friendships that are cultivated through mobile meals go a long way. “They’d be happy to see me even if I didn’t have any food,” Lundquist said. “It’s very fulfilling to know we are making a real difference in the lives of people in need – we get such a great sense of community.”

Improving health, enriching lives

McKinney explained the volunteers are very passionate, motivated by the challenges recipients are facing – including isolation.

“Many recipients live alone and really look forward to interacting with our volunteers,” she said. “The visits are more than meal delivery or social visits; for many of those isolated and medically fragile adults, the volunteers are making sure they’re safe.”

McKinney explained that a client fainted during a recent delivery visit. The volunteer was able to call 911 and get the client immediate medical attention. “Can you imagine what might have happened if our volunteer hadn’t been there? Many of our clients have outlived their friends and family, and our volunteers might be the only people they see in a week.”

Grateful for community partnership

“We are so thankful for the local support that makes our program possible and for our partnership with TMC,” said McKinney. “Our collaboration shows how we can bring together needed resources to protect our most vulnerable, and it inspires volunteerism to make a positive change for our whole community.”

To volunteer or donate to Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona, call (520) 622-1600 or email info@mobilemealsoftucson.org.

 

 

Health systems hosting enrollment event and family fun festival

health enrollment fairDo you need affordable health insurance?

Southern Arizona’s major healthcare providers have come together to make sure you have free, personal help to find the right fit!

With enrollment ending Dec. 15, the Pima County Enrollment Coalition will be offering in-person assistance with Medicare, AHCCCS/KidsCare and Marketplace coverage on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 8 a.m. to noon.

To make an appointment, call 800-377-3536 or go to coveraz.org/connector and enter zip 85713.

Walk-ins are welcome at the event, which will be at Kino Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way.

In addition to several community runs, there are lots of other activities as well:
• Check your blood pressure
• Drop off old medications
• Learn more about vision and dental assistance
• Find out about pet adoptions from Pima Animal Care Center
• Enjoy bouncy houses for the kids
• Pledge to end bullying

For more information on the event or enrollment, visit the SOAZCares website – sponsored by Tucson Medical Center, Carondelet Health Network, Banner-University Medical Center Tucson, El Rio Health, Northwest Healthcare and Pima County.

Those who miss the enrollment window may have to wait until the next enrollment period to get coverage, unless they experience a life changing event such as getting married or losing your health insurance through a job. “It’s easy to enroll and there’s plenty of help to make sure you understand the process,” said Nancy Johnson, CEO of El Rio Health.

Physicians and patients taking on the opioid crisis together

The practice of prescribing opioid drugs to patients following surgery has been the go-to standard in an environment where zero pain in recovery is the expectation. But with the fallout of opioid drug overuse painful to communities across the nation, both providers and patients are looking for alternatives.

Anesthesiologists from Old Pueblo Anesthesia, who practice at TMC, have been working to enhance their regional anesthesia program to provide additional options for patients.  If patients can keep opioid use to a minimum in those crucial first days after surgery, while reducing their pain and inflammation, the hope is that they can use fewer narcotics through their recovery period.

Opioids and Older Adults free seminar

Shoulder surgery, for example, is notoriously uncomfortable for some patients because the shoulder is engaged when a patient is standing or when laying down. Traditional anesthesia only lasts about 24 hours.

Now, in addition to direct injections to numb the area and block pain during surgery, physicians can place tiny catheters near the nerves that supply the shoulder with a local anesthetic to provide greater comfort for up to 3 days. The patient can care for the pump at home and throw it away when the anesthesia is depleted.

Dr. Robin Kloth said that Old Pueblo performed a comparison of patients with total shoulder replacement who used traditional pain relief and those who used interscalene catheter placement. “Over the course of the full 3 days, the catheter patients took less than half the narcotics that our compared group took in just a single day,” she said, adding patients also reported far less nausea.

Dr. Neesann Marietta concurred. “These techniques can really extend a patient’s pain relief, which greatly increases patient satisfaction. They can go home and sleep comfortably, which is so important for the healing process.”

And that’s just one example. For abdominal surgery, patients relied previously on epidurals that could only be used during their hospital stay. Now, anesthesiologists can do a block that provides local relief in the abdominal wall that will last up to 24 hours, and patients may be sent home the same day.

Colorectal and gyn-oncology surgeons are increasingly using a slow release local anesthetic that lasts up to 72 hours.

The colorectal program reports that between greater patient education, early ambulation and regional anesthesia, patients are seeing a decrease in patient length of stay by 1.3 days and an 88 percent decrease in morphine equivalent, given in the first 24 hours post-surgery.

“Both doctors and patients are becoming increasingly aware of the potential for the misuse of highly addictive pain medications and it’s important that we be part of this national discussion,” said surgical oncologist Michele Boyce Ley, who uses regional anesthesia as well as nonsteroidal medications such as Celebrex and gabapentin to help control pain for her patients having breast surgery.

Ley said her patients are doing so well, many are managing post-surgical pain with little more than Tylenol or ibuprofen.

“We have been working on this in earnest and getting training on these techniques because of concerns about opioid usage,” Kloth said. “Opioids have been the go-to solution for many years, in part because patients had high expectations of pain relief and because a bottle of Percocet is really cheap. These techniques are more labor intensive, but we’ve demonstrated value to the patient – and it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

Many patients also feel less lucid and less awake when using narcotics, which could delay physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Physicians have several opportunities to manage the use of narcotics, particularly important as patients leave the hospital with a plan for pain management during recovery.

Marietta said the techniques are not right for every patient and every case, but patients who are concerned about the potential for opioid misuse should have a conversation with their physician about pain control – and see if a nerve block would be appropriate.

Meet with Drs. Marietta, Kloth and Lambert Wednesday, November 15 as they discuss how anesthesiologists and patients can address this in practical terms at TMC for Seniors. More details available here.

Military service shaped TMC Imaging Director

danfelix3 (002)Every day is Veteran’s Day for Air Force veteran Dan Felix. There will be no parades or fanfare for him today. Instead, he will go to work to serve, shaped by his service in the Air Force.

Felix, the director of imaging at TMC, joined right after graduating from his high school in his rural, mining community of Hayden. There were 43 students in his graduating class.

A first generation U.S. citizen, whose parents hailed from Mexico, Felix was drawn to military service. “I wanted to give back to the country that allowed my parents to raise a family in America with all the benefits we all enjoy,” Felix explained. He’d seen firsthand great poverty in Mexico. “We had health care, clothing, food, money. From a young age, I learned to appreciate the opportunities and luxuries   our great country had to offer.”

The Air Force provided structure, taught him to develop his natural qualities of perseverance and patience, and challenged him to keep growing. He appreciated the mines – his father and brothers retired from that work – but he didn’t want it for himself. He signed up for college classes, obtaining associate’s degrees in X-ray technology and later, nuclear medicine. A bachelor’s in medical and imaging technology followed. He is now one class away from a master’s degree in leadership.

The transition was a natural one. “X-ray has some parallels to the technical work I was doing in the Air Force – there’s electronics and physics and you’re working with your hands – and that’s combined with an intellectual component.”

It was nuclear medicine that stole his heart. He initially told his instructor there was no way he was going to like it. But Day One he was besotted. “Just the sound of it is intriguing, but beyond that, you’re in the physics world, talking about radiation at its origin. I was living in this cerebral realm I had aspired to my whole life.”

He ended up joining Tucson Medical Center in 1999 to train in nuclear medicine. He never left.

“As I look back and analyze the mission of the military and TMC, they dovetail,” he said, noting both exist to serve others and play a role in providing for the greater good of everybody else.

He never takes the day off for Veteran’s Day. “I am so appreciative of being able to come into work to help others – the patients we serve, the workers who make up this hospital – and to provide for my family. I take a lot of pride in those three things, so if you think about that, why wouldn’t I want to work?”

That doesn’t mean he won’t spend some time reflecting on those who serve. “Joining the military at a young age means leaving your comfort, your home, your family and everything you know that is normal, and embarking into a huge world of unknowns,” he said.

“When I think about veterans, I think about those who decided to take a risk and take a leap of faith for the sake of their country. It’s not just a job. It’s a sacrifice for others – and I don’t think that’s easily understood unless you’re the one doing the sacrificing.”

Join the conversation: Reviving trust, civility in a time of political and social divides

It too often seems we are more divided than ever, from political ideology to social issues.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse will share actions we can take individually and locally that can serve as a balm to the friction around us.

The one-hour discussion will take place at Tucson Medical Center’s The Core at La Encantada at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 2.

Rounding out the Downtown Lecture Series on “Truth and Trust in the Global Scene,” the discussion is open to all participants who want to learn and practice tools and skills to restore civility in their everyday lives.

Earlier this year, The Institute launched an initiative to revive civility through small groups and texting platforms to help members of the community build trust and invite open, respectful dialogue.

“Engaging in constructive dialogue is something we have to consciously work at – and particularly when our political discourse is often peppered with personal attacks and when we are so often exposed to hateful rhetoric and polarization,” said Basant Virdee, who works on the Institute’s Revive Civility Initiative.

“The good news is that we can get better at cultivating a respectful environment and we are looking forward to connecting with people about how to foster civil, civic discourse.”

Kindness, trust and respect are foundations not just for healthy dialogue, but for healthy communities, said Tara Bruce, assistant manager of The Core. “As a nonprofit community hospital that is committed to building health, we are pleased to support the work of the National Institute as our society continues to grapple with conflict and how we can best respond to it,” Bruce said.

The event is free but registration is requested at https://www.tmcaz.com/body.cfm?id=324&registration=true&action=detail&ref=5092

For more information about other health lectures, wellness events and fitness classes at The Core, please visit www.thecoretmc.com

 

TMC resale boutique holds big sale to celebrate five years of helping patients

resale, tucson, thrift, sale,What’s better than a great sale on quality clothing and household items?

A great sale, combined with the knowledge that all proceeds go to help patients and families in need.

The Teal Saguaro, Tucson Medical Center’s resale boutique across from the hospital, is holding a fifth anniversary sale on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., with a whopping 50 percent off most items!

When TMC opened the Teal Saguaro, it was envisioned as another way to raise revenues to serve the community, with all proceeds directly support TMC and its services.

The retail space also serves as a family resource center, where families can pick up free booster seats and bicycle helmets for children. And because families can’t plan for emergencies, the shop accepts vouchers from the hospital so that families who dropped everything to come to a loved ones’ side, can pick out clothing or other necessities to help during their stay, which can sometimes be days, depending on a patient’s condition.

“The Teal Saguaro vouchers bring a lot of comfort – providing a fresh pair of clothes for child patients and parents who have had an unexpected hospital stay,” explained Jamie Antrim, a child life assistant at TMC for Children.

Director of Community Programs Hope Thomas, who opened the shop five years ago, applauded it as a great example of a volunteer-run business. “I think it’s been such a success because it really combines creativity, a clean shopping environment and a fabulous group of dedicated volunteers working to support those in need,” she said. “We are thrilled to be celebrating this milestone with our community.”

 

 

 

Dispose of unneeded medications Oct. 23 at TMC Senior Services

Meds.jpgHaving old medications lying around puts children, teens and even pets at risk from inappropriately ingesting them.

It also increases the risk of mix-ups with any of your existing prescriptions.

If you have any medications you don’t need any longer, dispose of them safely and securely at a free Dispose-A-Med event at 1400 N. Wilmot in the El Dorado Health Campus.

Tucson Police Department will be on hand from 10 a.m. to noon to accept prescriptions or over-the-counter medications and vitamins. Sorry but sharps aren’t accepted, and we have to decline medication in liquid, creme or inhalation/aerosol form.

Come early for a free 9 a.m  presentation that morning on medication safety – and make sure to bring your current bottles for free one-on-one pharmacist consultations from 10:30 am. – noon.

To RSVP for the presentation, please visit the event registration page at TMC Senior Services.

For more information, please call 324-1960.

 

Ballots are in the mail for Nov. 7 election

Engaged voters are fundamental to a healthy community and a healthy democracy.

If you’re registered to vote, watch for a ballot coming soon to your mailbox for Nov. 7’s consolidated election.

Depending on where you live, you’ll have a say in:

  • ward races for the Tucson City Council
  • ballot propositions that would raise the salary of Tucson’s mayor and council as well as to increase the sales tax to fund zoo improvements and early childhood education
  • bond or override elections in several school districts, including the Tucson, Sunnyside, Flowing Wells and Marana unified school districts
  • funding and other issues in several fire districts

Oro Valley, where voters will decide on a park improvements package, will have polling sites open on Election Day, but the other jurisdictions are holding mail elections.

Please mail your ballot by Thursday, Nov. 2 to ensure your ballot is ready for counting on Election Day.

You may also track the status of your Vote-by-Mail ballot online. Simply visit: www.recorder.pima.gov and click on “Early Ballot Status” to ensure your ballot was received and processed.

For more information, please direct questions to the Pima County Recorder’s Office at (520)724-4330

DACA participant faces uncertainty with resolve, optimism

YesikaMartinezYesika Martinez looks into her future and dreams that she will someday serve others as a nurse or a counselor.

But her future possible self is on hold while she waits to see what comes next after the Trump administration’s recent directive to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program in six months unless Congress comes up with a legislative solution.

Martinez, 25, has been in this country since she was 9 months old. She was born with spinal bifida, a birth defect in which the spinal canal doesn’t close before birth. Fearful her complex needs would not be met in their small community in Mexico, her parents moved to Tucson.

Growing up meant a lot of time in hospitals, with many surgeries, as well as extended physical and orthopedic therapy, and neurology and urology care. With the assistance of leg braces, she can walk, ride a bike and drive a car and is successfully working toward her career path.

Martinez watched her other friends in high school celebrate things like driver’s licenses and first jobs that were out of reach for someone with undocumented status.  Her parents instilled in her to believe that all things are possible and encouraged her growth.

When she turned 18, waiting to see if DACA participants would be eligible for in-state college tuition, she began volunteering at the Children’s Clinics, where she had received much of her care, in order to help other young patients going through other health care challenges.

In the afternoons, Martinez volunteered to teach violin to the afterschool mariachi group at her previous elementary school. “I couldn’t work, but I didn’t want to sit home. I wanted to do something with my life and contribute,” she said.

When DACA was passed, she was hired on at the Children’s Clinics as a clinical associate.

President Trump’s announcement, she said, “was a rough day for me because I know there are so many people in my same situation who don’t know what’s coming next.” Thanks to a recent renewal, her status is OK until early 2019, but she hopes a resolution will come long before then.

“What I think people don’t understand is that we go through a lengthy process to get permits,” she said. “We aren’t bad people. We’re working hard to go to school to try to contribute. I would ask this community to help fight for us and support us.”

TMC President and CEO Judy Rich recently wrote an opinion piece for the Arizona Daily Star, urging Congressional leaders to resolve DACA. Click here to read it. http://tucson.com/opinion/local/judy-rich-dreamers-make-our-workforce-stronger/article_7cdc96c8-9fb9-5435-957a-1893de6d62ce.html

 

TMC recognized as a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador of Excellence

BDP33616Tucson Medical Center is honored to be recognized by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tucson as the 2017 Southeast Arizona Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador of Excellence, for going above and beyond the call of duty to help the NWS build a Weather Ready Nation.

This year,  NWS Tucson nominated TMC for its work in hosting its annual Be Safe Saturday event. For 13 years, TMC has conducted car seat checks, distributed bike helmets and booster seats and invited community partners to staff more than 100 interactive booths committed to the safety and wellness of children throughout Southern Arizona.

The National Weather Service is one of those Be Safe Saturday participants, speaking about weather safety to hundreds of families, said Ken Drozd, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the NWS Tucson office. “Dozens of other organizations also help educate the public about how to stay safe and we appreciate TMC’s  dedication to community safety,” he added.

BDP33551The ambassador initiative recognizes leaders in the community that help build community resilience in the face of extreme weather events – from promoting safety messages in outreach activities, to being a “weather-ready” role model.

Safety Manager Steven Barnes said TMC monitors weather conditions to ensure the safety of its HazMat team when wearing gear in the heat of the summer. The TMC Safety Department presents heat stress prevention classes to facilities personnel each June, followed by lightning safety in July and West Nile disease prevention training every August.

TMC is prepared for electrical outages during the monsoon storms with very extensive backup generator equipment for patient safety, Barnes noted, adding the hospital also has a fully equipped disaster command center and participates in local and statewide exercises every year.

“As you can imagine we are very dependent on accurate weather forecasts and prepare on a regular basis for all weather threats and situations,” Barnes said, adding he was pleased with the recognition.

Any organization can  become a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador. Schools, government agencies, private businesses, civic organizations, home owner associations and others can apply online at https://www.weather.gov/wrn/amb-tou

 

TMC salutes Walker Elementary teacher on Legendary Teachers Day for infusing wellness into her school

LegendaryTeacherMonicaBermudez.jpgA few years ago, elementary school teacher Monica Bermudez had seen one too many students pull out tortilla chips or candy for their snacks – or worse, lunch.

So she started a “Fitness Fanatics” group at her school, volunteering after school to teach as many as 95 students at a time about wellness. It’s become something of the go-to club ever since.

On Legendary Teacher Day – a day set aside to honor special teachers who make a difference – TMC celebrates Bermudez, who has been teaching for 33 years and is currently teaching second grade.

Fitness Fanatics was her own brainchild. The students earn charms for every mile they run, participate in stretching exercises and play games that keep them active. The program is open to parents and teachers, too, to broaden relationships and opportunities for wellness at the same time.

There is also a nutrition component when funding allows, teaching students how to make nutritious snacks at home – from trail mix using cereal, raisins and nuts, to a fruit salad or banana sushi, which is essentially a banana rolled in Nutella and sliced. “I wanted to use things that they can find in their cabinets at home so they can make better choices,” said the 55-year-old Bermudez.

Bermudez doesn’t stop there.

MonicaGOTR.jpgShe coaches Girls on the Run, a youth development program that teaches life skills and culminates in a 5k run to build confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

She also volunteers with Fit Kidz, a program of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners that offers free one mile races for elementary school children.

In part, Bermudez does it because she’s become a disciple herself. Although she ran in middle school, she didn’t start running again until about seven years ago, trying to find more balance and take better care of herself. “It was my release,” she said of those early forays into running.

The next thing she knew, she was running with her daughters, and then signing up for races, and then joining a running group. She’s since started triathlons and offroad running, and is doing a half Ironman next month.

“It just took on a life of its own,” she said, noting she’s noticed a significant difference in her own health. “I used to be sick year-round, starting the second week of school and I wouldn’t be well again until the week after school was out. I wasn’t sick one time last year.”

But what keeps her going is what she sees from the kids. Inevitably, the shy girls start running and by the end of the semester they’re raising their hand in class and contributing with confidence. Several of her students have made a pact not to sit during recess, but instead, will either walk or run around the playground.

“And parents come and say, ‘Please keep doing what you’re doing because my child used to go to snack aisle at the grocery store first thing, and now they’re actually picking out fruits and vegetables from the outside aisles first.’ “

Nicholas Clement, the former Flowing Wells Superintendent and founder of Legendary Teacher Day, applauded Bermudez’ work. “Monica earned her Legendary Teacher stripes by energizing, engaging and enlightening every student every day.”

TMC encourages the entire business community to take time today to celebrate a Legendary Teacher who is making a difference in our future.

For more information about Legendary Teacher Day, which is always commemorated on the fourth Thursday of September, please visit  www.legendaryteacher.com. You may also share tributes of your own Legendary Teachers on Facebook as well.

 

Save Arizona health care – ‘No’ on the Graham-Cassidy bill

McCain say no on Graham Cassidy #saveazhealthcareToday, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) announced its formal opposition to the “Graham-Cassidy” legislation, the latest congressional effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. AzHHA President and CEO Greg Vigdor issued the following statement:

A central goal of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is to ensure more Arizona families have access to quality care they can afford. The Graham-Cassidy legislation being considered by Congress falls short on both counts.

This proposal erodes critical protections for patients and consumers, and would lead to costlier premiums for many individuals – especially those with pre-existing conditions. Millions would lose coverage altogether.

From a fiscal standpoint, the legislation represents a massive shift in financial risk and responsibility from the federal government to states like our own. According to an independent analysis by the non-partisan Avalere Health firm, this legislation would reduce federal funding to Arizona by $11 billion between now and 2026.

Just as troubling is all we don’t know about this bill. Because of the frenzied fashion in which it is being considered, Congress lacks even the most rudimentary analysis necessary to make an informed decision. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has indicated it won’t even have time to ‘score’ the bill in terms of its impacts to patient coverage and federal finances.

This process is the furthest thing from a ‘return to regular order,’ as advocated by Senator McCain. The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association stands ready to work with our congressional delegation to address shortcomings with the Affordable Care Act, especially to stabilize the insurance market. This legislation is a step in the wrong direction. We urge Arizona lawmakers to vote NO.

About AzHHA

AzHHA is Arizona’s statewide association for those organizations and individuals devoted to collectively building better health care and health for the patients, people and communities of Arizona. Founded in 1939, AzHHA’s objective is to improve health care through Better Care, Better Health and Lower Costs with the ultimate goal of making Arizona the healthiest state in the nation. For more information, please contact communications@azhha.org or call (602) 445-4300.

Could you be a friend for a senior?

SeniorHomeVisitsThere are seniors in your area who are waiting for a visit right now.

In just an hour each week, you could make a difference in the life of an older adult.

Senior Home Visit volunteers provide a friendly face and supportive listening to older adults who may not see anyone else during the week.

Volunteers can make a positive difference in the lives of others, particularly for those who are socially isolated, since loneliness can lead to depression and worsening health conditions.

If you are 50+ and are interested in volunteering, please contact Anne Morrison at 324-3746 or anne.morrison@tmcaz.com to find out more.

Courageous TMC nurse takes on suicide stigma

Jason CuttingSeptember 10 – 16 is National Suicide Prevention Week – reduce the stigma, start a conversation and #StopSuicide.

Jason Cutting wanted to be in the middle of it all. He loved the arts and entertaining. RENT was his favorite musical, and he knew every word to every song. He put his heart into everything he did, whether crushing a performance in My Fair Lady or advocating for equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation.

Through it all, he struggled long and hard with mental illness. Even though Jason was lost to the disease when he died by suicide, he will always be a brave big brother to his sister, Sarah. She decided not to allow stigma to steal the focus from Jason’s beautiful memory.

Sarah, an Emergency Department nurse, is leading the effort to eradicate the stigma that surrounds suicide as the TMC champion for Tucson’s  Out of the Darkness Community Walk, an annual event hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Suicide StigmaHard to say, hard to hear

The heart-wrenching loss of suicide – and the stigma around it – make conversations about it difficult.

“I didn’t even know how I was going to talk about it, because I was afraid people would judge, or react with shock or pity,” she said.

Sarah, though, was determined to make a difference and put aside her fears, directly challenging stigma. The open dialogue had an unexpected and positive result. “I found healing in talking about my brother, and I was surprised how many people approached me who have also lost someone to suicide.”

Better understanding, better prevention

Sarah also explained that more discussion brought about a better understanding of suicide.

Sarah Cutting“When survivors share their experiences, people will hear that suicide is not a selfish act,” she said. “Rather, people hear just how intensely someone was suffering, how they truly felt hopeless and believed they were a burden to all around them.”

Sarah believes that better understanding will lead to action. “With this knowledge, people will be motivated to learn the warning signs and feel more comfortable talking to someone they think may be having suicidal thoughts.”

 

 

You can have an impact

Out of the DarknessThe Tucson Out of the Darkness Community Walk is open to all, and free to attend. “This is a way to honor the memories of those we have lost to suicide, and the best way to start discussions and spread awareness,” said Sarah. “Join us!”

 

Walk Date: 10/14/2017                                                                 

Walk Location: Reid Park 

Check-in/Registration Time:  8:00 am

Walk Begins: 10:00 am

Walk Ends: 11:00 am

Donations can be made via Sarah’s donor page. Please note that all proceeds go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Resources:

Suicide warning signs and risk factors

Pima County assistance resources

AZ Department of Veterans Services resources

National suicide hotline

The Trevor Project

Pima County Crisis Response Center: (520) 622-6000 or 1-866-495-6738

 

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild helps welcome new health care workers to Tucson; touts area strengths

NewHire1.jpgTucson Medical Center this week celebrated new employees here from out of state, wrapping up a month of hiring 130 people. Since January, TMC hires have come from 26 different states.

The mixer, held at TMC’s wellness outreach center, The Core at La Encantada, was designed to help newcomers feel welcome in Tucson.

“We’re really glad you came to Tucson. We are welcoming and friendly, that’s one of our values,” said Judy Rich, President and CEO. “Keep our patients in the center of everything we do. Be happy. Show up every day. Take care of our patients. That’s what we ask.”

NewHire5Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who was born at TMC, credited the hospital with being a strong community partner. “You should know you’ll have great and meaningful opportunities to connect with the community and to connect to things that are good in this community,” he said.

Rothschild touted Tucson’s quality of life that includes deep historic roots, great day trips, interesting museums, fun festivals and a vibrant food culture. “Tucson is a welcoming community that celebrates diversity. We understand we’re stronger by being diverse and you’ll have lots of opportunities to experience that.”

“I think you’ll find this at the core of Tucson: We try to help each other. We try to treat each other with respect. It’s a core value in the community and it’s what TMC delivers. We’re delighted to have you join us.”

NewHire9TMC’s Vice President of Human Resources, Alex Horvath, shared that after moving here from Chicago, he was stunned to find people at a local retailer one day urging him to move ahead in the express lane. “I found myself standing at the front of the line and it occurred to me, well, this is Tucson. You don’t find that everywhere.”

TMC Jobs link

‘Popcorn Kid’ retiring after singlehandedly raising $51k for kids through sales

DOROTHYLongtime employee, Dorothy “Popcorn Kid” Lietha, who is retiring after 43 years, made a difference kernel by kernel.

Lietha, who has worked a variety of jobs but most recently was part of the Wellness department’s efforts in the employee gym, is probably best known for her commitment to the children of Southern Arizona.

Since the early days of TMC’s relationship with Children’s Miracle Network, Lietha has sold popcorn — first for 25 cents a bag, and now 50 cents. Those quarters have added up. The TMC Foundation estimates that she has raised more than $51,000 to benefit area children.

“Dorothy embodies the spirit of this organization because of her generosity and her deep love of this community,” said Michael Duran, vice president and chief development officer. “We can each make a profound difference just by leveraging our individual strengths and passions – and for that, Dorothy is an inspiration.”

If you’d like to honor Dorothy and her commitment to children, consider making an online gift in her name for Children’s Services via the TMC Foundation.

Tour Tucson Medical Center’s Healing Art Collection

Bonuccelli_Dusk Carcassonne FranceTucson Medical Center has long believed in the power of surroundings in helping patients feel better.

It’s why we have 35 patios. It’s why our grounds crew cultivates a desert landscape. And it’s why we have a Healing Art Program to inspire, provoke thought, and cheer patients and visitors.

Since the program’s inception in 2014, TMC now has more than 700 gallery-quality art pieces throughout its hallways – from paintings to graphics, photography and sculpture. Each piece has been vetted to ensure quality and consistency with TMC’s healing mission.

TMC’s curator, Lauren Rabb, leads a regular tour of the Healing Art collection on campus.

“The walls of our hospital have been transformed, with more art and photography installed each month to enrich the lives of our patients, visitors and staff,” Rabb said. “But as a community hospital, we also believe it is important to share these gifts with the community – and especially since art draws its power from its stories, its imagination and its engagement.”

The tour covers one mile of hallway – with frequent stops to discuss specific works of art – and is recommended for those over the age of 12.

The next public tour is taking place Monday, August 28 at 10 a.m., with another following on Monday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m.

Space is limited so please RSVP for instructions on where to meet at 520-444-0363 or lrauthor@cox.net.

For those who are interested in the art, but not the tour, the works may be found on our catalog at https://www.artworkarchive.com/artwork/tmc-healing-art-program

TMC helped support conversion of multipurpose space for homeless youth

YOTOpaintingYouth on Their Own, a nonprofit dropout prevention agency supporting homeless youth in their goals of graduating from high school, did not have a functional space to hold youth events, host Board meetings or engage donors in providing critical services for vulnerable youth.

That all changed earlier this spring.

A new multipurpose room, adjacent to the program’s resale store at 1660 N. Alvernon Way, was the culminating project of Greater Tucson Leadership, a nonprofit program designed to develop future community leaders.

Tucson Medical Center was proud to join other local businesses in providing funding and support for the 880-square foot renovation project. Other donors included Tucson Electric Power, Cenpatico, Vantage West Credit Union, BeachFleischman CPAs, architect Kim Wolfarth, Porter Construction Services, Aztec Flooring, Universal Wallboard, Gilbert Electric, Mesquite Valley Growers and Goodwill Industries. Additionally, nearly 100 individuals contributed resources – and sweat equity – to the project.

Shawn.jpgIn addition to financial support, TMC lent the skills of Construction Supervisor Shawn Cole as project manager. Cole has known of the organization’s work for a long time and appreciates the help it provides.

“It’s very rewarding to give back to an organization that gives to so many and serves such a critical need,” Cole said. “It’s tough enough growing up and that’s compounded when kids are homeless and trying to stay in school. It was nice to be able to support that effort – and especially given the importance of the work that’s done there.”

Nicola Hartmann, the CEO of Youth on Their Own, said the space is getting a lot of use. Recently, staff held a summer “cool off party” for youth, with games, pizza and ice cream, as well as assistance with school work and college preparation.

“The youth who stopped in loved it. We would never have been able to do this without the fabulous space that was created for precisely these kinds of events.”

Kasey Hill, executive director of Greater Tucson Leadership, said the project epitomizes the goals of the program.

“At its root, leadership is about identifying a need and galvanizing the community to make a difference through collective energy, focus and commitment,” she said. “The community response to this project really highlights Tucson’s strengths – we come together when there is a need.”

Eclipse watchers: Follow these tips to protect your eyes

EclipseGlassesIf you’re planning to watch the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, do it safely.

Don’t look directly into the sun without eye protection – and sunglasses alone won’t do it. Those are some of the safety tips you’ll see in a short video from @MayoClinic to protect your eyes.

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Tucson Medical Center works directly with Mayo Clinic, which again was named the top hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Reports.

The foundation of our relationship with Mayo Clinic is a shared commitment to improving the delivery of health care through high-quality, data-driven, evidence-based medical care. Our care network membership allows TMC access to the knowledge and expertise of Mayo Clinic to enhance the care we provide locally and save our patients unnecessary travel.

Tucson will see the eclipse as a partial solar eclipse – about 60 percent. It will start after 9 a.m. and end about noon. The Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium reports there will not be another total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States until 2024 – so happy watching, but take precautions!

Community hospital works to reduce opioid use after surgery

PillsInHand_444966868 (002)Even as Gov. Ducey declared a public health state of emergency regarding the misuse and abuse of opioids, physicians practicing at Tucson Medical Center were already working to minimize the use of opioids for patients recovering from surgery.

Physicians have several opportunities to manage the use of narcotics, particularly important as patients leave the hospital with a plan for pain management during recovery.

Anesthesiologists from Old Pueblo Anesthesia, who practice at TMC, have been working to enhance their regional anesthesia program to provide additional options for patients.  If patients can keep opioid use to a minimum in those crucial first days after surgery, while reducing their pain and inflammation, the hope is that they can use fewer narcotics through their recovery period.

Shoulder surgery, for example, is notoriously uncomfortable for some patients because the shoulder is engaged when a patient is standing or when laying down. Traditional anesthesia only lasts about 24 hours.

Now, in addition to direct injections to numb the area and block pain during surgery, physicians can place tiny catheters near the nerves that supply the shoulder with a local anesthetic to provide greater comfort for up to 3 days. The patient can care for the pump at home and throw it away when the anesthesia is depleted.

Dr. Robin Kloth said that Old Pueblo performed a comparison of patients with total shoulder replacement who used traditional pain relief and those who used interscalene catheter placement. “Over the course of the full 3 days, the catheter patients took less than half the narcotics that our compared group took in just a single day,” she said, adding patients also reported far less nausea.

Dr. Neesann Marietta concurred. “These techniques can really extend a patient’s pain relief, which greatly increases patient satisfaction. They can go home and sleep comfortably, which is so important for the healing process.”

And that’s just one example. For abdominal surgery, patients relied previously on epidurals that could only be used during their hospital stay. Now, anesthesiologists can do a block that provides local relief in the abdominal wall that will last up to 24 hours, and patients may be sent home the same day.

Colorectal and gyn-oncology surgeons are increasingly using a slow release local anesthetic that lasts up to 72 hours.

The colorectal program reports that between greater patient education, early ambulation and regional anesthesia, patients are seeing a decrease in patient length of stay by 1.3 days and an 88 percent decrease in morphine equivalent, given in the first 24 hours post-surgery.

“Both doctors and patients are becoming increasingly aware of the potential for the misuse of highly addictive pain medications and it’s important that we be part of this national discussion,” said surgical oncologist Michele Boyce Ley, who uses regional anesthesia as well as nonsteroidal medications such as Celebrex and gabapentin to help control pain for her patients having breast surgery.

Ley said her patients are doing so well, many are managing post-surgical pain with little more than Tylenol or ibuprofen.

“We have been working on this in earnest and getting training on these techniques because of concerns about opioid usage,” Kloth said. “Opioids have been the go-to solution for many years, in part because patients had high expectations of pain relief and because a bottle of Percocet is really cheap. These techniques are more labor intensive, but we’ve demonstrated value to the patient – and it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

Many patients also feel less lucid and less awake when using narcotics, which could delay physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Marietta said the techniques are not right for every patient and every case, but patients who are concerned about the potential for opioid misuse should have a conversation with their physician about pain control – and see if a nerve block would be appropriate.

 

 

TMC encourages community members to be cautious in sharing information to avoid phone scams

MagnifierHand_221068210 (002).jpgWith local utilities recently warning customers of apparent phone scams in which payment is demanded over the phone, Tucson Medical Center is urging community members to be cautious in responding to such inquiries.

TMC does have conversations over the phone with patients about payments and we will accept payment over the phone as well.

What we won’t do is make threatening, high-pressure phone calls.

If something doesn’t sound right, ask the caller for their name and their phone number. Keep it as a reference but know that scammers have access to ID spoofing software that can disguise phone calls to appear that they are made from a reputable organization.

Instead, call Tucson Medical Center directly and ask the operator for the Business Office or call us directly at 324-1310.

A legitimate representative from TMC will be able to share information about the previous or anticipated hospital stay, including the date and procedure.

“If something sounds suspicious, honor that instinct,” said Maria Persons, the director of TMC’s billing office. “We will always understand and support your choice to be safe and to be extra diligent if someone asks you to share sensitive information over the phone.”

TMC also has a secure way for patients to pay their hospital bill online. To see TMC’s other mechanisms, please visit https://www.tmcaz.com/pay-my-bill

 

Lovell Foundation, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona partner to award nearly $3 million for end-of-life care and planning services

Conversation

The year leading up to death for those with chronic conditions can be emotionally difficult and stressful for patients and families. It’s also costly, with patients in that final year accounting for 25 percent of total Medicare spending on beneficiaries over the age of 65.

There has to be a better way.

The David and Lura Lovell Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona in late July announced their alliance to award almost $3 million to Arizona nonprofits to cooperatively address issues related to the awareness, understanding, and availability of end-of-life care, particularly for underserved and vulnerable communities.

Tucson Medical Center Foundation is pleased to be part of that coalition, which represents one of the largest end-of-life care initiatives across the country.

It also builds on four years of focused effort at TMC on improving care for those with life-limiting illness.

“Breaking down taboos about mortality is the first step in empowering patients and their families to have conversations that provide an opportunity to share their values, priorities and beliefs about death,” said Michael Duran, TMC’s chief development officer. “Having a clear road map about what you want from health care providers to how you want to be memorialized is a gift to yourself and to your family because it reduces the guessing and power struggles that can arise in the absence of that certainty.”

TMC has engaged case management, Hospice and Senior Services teams, and two accountable care organizations, Arizona Connected Care and Abacus Health, in the effort to improve advance care planning for adults and their caregivers throughout the community. The grant will provide resources to primary care practices and hospital case management to assist patients in making more informed decisions.

Karen Popp, the director of care coordination for Arizona Connected Care, said the coalition may ultimately serve as a national model for those assisting patients with their choices at the end of life. “What is particularly profound about this collaboration is that we have an opportunity across an entire region to create positive change around the ability of patients to honor the quality of life they expect as they face the end of their lives.”

The Lovell Foundation awarded a total of $2,507,619 for end-of-life care and planning projects. CFSA grants total $390,000. Grants range from $20,000 to $1 million to support end-of-life care programs that engage the community, educate professionals and patients, institute organizational and community standards of practice, develop the healthcare workforce and impact public policy.

“Our collective goal is to fundamentally change the narrative on how we plan for, care for and experience death and dying in Southern Arizona and beyond,” said John Amoroso, executive director of the Lovell Foundation. “Ultimately we all – individuals, families, caregivers, health systems and communities – bear the responsibility for changing the status quo by helping each other to engage in compassionate, honest conversations about our mortality, the type of healthcare we wish to receive and how it is given across the spectrum of life choices.”

This year’s grants were awarded to the following organizations:

The Lovell Foundation shared this interest in end-of-life care and previously funded “Passing On,” an award-winning documentary produced by Arizona Public Media and broadcast nationally by PBS, and other projects.

“We did a community-wide scan on end-of-life issues. We discovered this group of dedicated organizations and individuals that had been working together with support from CFSA funding. That kind of energy and potential emboldened the Lovell Foundation to expand our commitment to end-of-life care and make an even bigger investment,” said Ann Lovell, president of the family foundation and daughter of its founders.

 

Voting begins next week in the City of Tucson’s primary election

 Candidate Forum

A big thank you is in order to the four candidates running for a seat in the Ward 3 City Council race, who appeared at a candidate forum Tuesday night at Tucson Medical Center, sponsored by the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“The foundation for democracy is an engaged and educated electorate,” said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC. “We appreciate everyone who came out to learn more about the candidates – and importantly, we thank each of the candidates for stepping up and running for office.”

The winner among the three candidates vying for the Ward 3 Democratic primary – Thomas Tronsdal, Paul Durham and Felicia Chew – will face Gary Watson, an independent, in the general election. The winner will assume the seat currently held by City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, who is retiring from the Council.

In addition to Ward 3, the Green Party has a contested primary race in Ward 6.

Ballots will be mailed Aug. 9 to registered voters.

 

TMC thanks, congratulates teacher in residence at close of program

Sheila at TMCCongratulations to Sheila Marquez, an anatomy teacher at Tucson High Magnet School, who finished her third summer working at Tucson Medical Center as part of the business-education partnership known as Teachers in Industry.

The program allows businesses to gain valuable perspectives by employing teachers over the summer, and allows teachers a chance to see firsthand the kind of skills students need to be effective in future careers.

“I’ve been a teacher and a research assistant for the entirety of my career – I’ve never worked outside of the academic realm,”  said Marquez, who has taught high school students for nearly 20 year. “This has been very valuable to learn about the breadth of careers available in health care as students consider their future possible selves.”

Marquez spent her first year at TMC working in infection prevention, her second year working in the lab, and her third year – the culminating year of the program – working in pharmacy.

After her first summer, she implemented a change in her classroom, emulating the one-on-one meetings her manager at TMC held with staff members. “I went back and did one-on-one meetings with each of my students in the first two weeks of class,” she said. “It made a world of difference: Instead of waiting at the end to tell them if they were in trouble with their grades or attendance, we had a chance to be proactive and talk about what might have kept them from being successful in earlier classes and what I could do to help support them.”

Marquez also learned about Lean management processes, which originated in manufacturing but are being used at TMC to empower employees to become problem solvers and to build efficiencies. Some of the problem-solving techniques can be applicable in a science-based classroom, she said.

She said businesses ultimately need students who don’t just regurgitate information, but are critical thinkers and can collaborate successfully with others. “It’s not just about knowing where the tibia is. It’s about having the tools to come up with successful solutions.”

“This has been an invaluable experience,” she said, encouraging other industries to participate in the program.

It has been a positive collaboration for TMC as well, said Pharmacy Technician Manager Sue Weygint.

Weygint credited Marquez with shadowing pharmacy technicians to learn about their processes and workflow, creating Excel spreadsheets and graphs that allowed data mining. “We can now see trends, anomalies and the overall work balance across shifts,” Weygint said, noting the goal is to increase productivity and level the workload.

“We have already made some adjustments with her help and we’re on a path to stronger metrics of productivity and efficiency,” Weygint said.

Master teachers in the program, including Marquez, will be celebrated on Sept. 12 from 5 p.m. -7 p.m. at Tucson Electric Power. For more information about the program, please visit www.teachersinindustry.arizona.edu

Cigna, March of Dimes and TMC share A Common Thread

008Summertime in not usually when Tucsonans think about needing a knit-cap…unless they are a preemie.

This summer, thousands of cute knit-caps are available for preemies thanks to Cigna volunteers, who donated the caps to TMC during national volunteer week.

In April, Cigna volunteers traveled from Phoenix to deliver nearly 3,000 knit caps for NICU babies at Tucson Medical Center.

The community service project is called A Common Thread, and was founded by Cigna employees as part of Cigna’s national sponsorship of the March of Dimes.

The caps provide warmth for babies, which is particularly important for infants facing serious health challenges. Crocheted in many sizes, the caps can accommodate both premature and full-term babies. In addition, families enjoy the different styles and colors that give the newborns individuality.

014“We are most proud of this project,” said Jessica Celentano, executive director of market development at the Southern Arizona March of Dimes. “Each hat takes about 20 minutes to knit – that’s more than 900 volunteer hours to provide a needed and heartfelt service for families in our region.”

Cigna has been a partner of the March of Dimes and a national sponsor of March for Babies for the past 23 years. Since A Common Thread was founded, more than 12,000 baby hats have been donated to NICUs throughout the country and more than 8,500 have been donated in Arizona.

“It is a priority for Cigna and our employees to meaningfully contribute to local communities,” said Dr. Isaac Martinez, medical director of Cigna HealthCare. He joined Cigna employees Pamela Martin and Theresa Richards to deliver the 2,700+ caps to TMC. “Thanks to the many Cigna volunteers, like Pamela and Theresa, we’re honored to make this contribution to TMC.”

002Celentano, Martin, Richards and Dr. Martinez carried countless blue satchels filled with the donated caps through TMC’s Joel M. Childers Women’s Center. Pat Brown, TMC director of women’s and children’s services, thanked them for the unique caps and their community service.

“We are so thankful for their time and effort,” Brown said. “These caps are wonderful gifts for the babies and their families – and there is enough to last us for years.”

The NICU at TMC treats about 500 infants in the NICU each year, and more than 5,000 babies are born annually at TMC’s labor and delivery department – one of the busiest in the state.  A perfect fit for the sizeable donation.

Learn more about Cigna’s community support efforts like A Common Thread, on their Facebook page or on Twitter @Cigna or #CignaAZ. The March of Dimes website can provide more information about their efforts to help infants and families.

 

 

General contractor survives cardiac arrest; teaches July 27 class to show others how to save lives

GaryBrauchlateachesCPRWhen Gary Brauchla went into cardiac arrest before daybreak in September 2012, he survived because others didn’t give up on him.

His wife kept up chest compressions until help came. First responders kept up CPR until they transported him to the hospital.

Brauchla, now 72, is on a mission to show others how to save lives with chest compression CPR.

According to the American Heart Association, most people who experience sudden cardiac arrest die because they do not receive immediate CPR, which could otherwise double or even triple a person’s chance of survival.

“Statistics show that 70 percent of people may not know how to respond if someone collapsed nearby,” Brauchla said. “People should know that in just a few minutes, they can learn how to save a life. You never know when you may need that skill, especially since like mine, four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home.”

With his second chance, Brauchla added two things to his life.

He started running for the first time in his life, and routinely runs 5K races.

And he became an advocate, starting a nonprofit, Arizona Cardiac Arrest Survivors, to provide education about cardiac arrest and the steps that can be taken to save lives. He also became an American Heart Association Basic Life Support Instructor, capable of training clinical staff as well as those with no experience in CPR.

Brauchla will be teaching Save a Life, Don’t Give Up! Compression Only CPR on July 27 at 5:30 p.m. at The Core at La Encantada, 2905 E. Skyline Drive.

Chest compression CPR not only is easy to perform and eliminates a barrier for those reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Brauchla noted, but it works just as well as traditional CPR in sudden cardiac arrest cases.

“Feeling helpless as a bystander in an emergency is a terrible feeling,” Brauchla said. “It’s my hope to help others be able to take more proactive steps instead of wishing they could help.”

Registration is requested at http://www.thecoretmc.com. Participants will have an opportunity to practice this technique on mannequins during the class.

Artwork at TMC Rincon Health Campus reflects Vail’s community connection and spirit

Vail Preservation SocietyVail – the town between the tracks – is a vibrant community resting in the foothills of the Rincon mountains on Tucson’s eastside.

Along with its leading school system , picturesque landscapes and family-oriented neighborhoods, another of Vail’s greatest attributes is the community’s strong connection to the rich, cultural heritage of the area.

The community values its history, preserving locations like the Old Vail Post Office (built in 1908) and founder’s chronicles like those of the Estrada, Escalante, Leon and Monthan families. You’ll recognize the name Monthan from Tucson’s Air Force Base. Davis-Monthan gets half its name from early Vail resident Oscar Monthan.

Vail Preservation Society 3“Residents, especially the young ones, want to know who came before them,” explained J.J. Lamb, executive director of the Vail Preservation Society. “Our past shows us there is something unique about Vail that it is worth preserving.”

Tucson Medical Center recently opened the TMC Rincon Health Campus at Houghton and Drexel. In the final stages of construction, the community-owned hospital worked with the Vail Preservation society to include artwork and photography that would reflect the Vail community’s connection to their history and to the land itself.

“These photographs give us a sense of place and community continuity,” said Lamb. “We Vail Preservation Society 2were glad to work with TMC and establish these connections to our community through public art.”

The art and photos have an ancillary but equally important effect for the Vail residents visiting the Rincon Health Campus.

“It’s the right fit,” said Lauren Rabb, curator of the TMC Healing Art Program. “Art can be Vail Preservation Society 4powerful medicine, and we took it a step further at Rincon– including comforting and therapeutic images of local landscapes, history and people.”

Local photographer Gregory Cranwell shares thoughts on his photo of Jesus Arvizu that is displayed at Rincon. “Photographs like this show the backbone of our area,” Cranwell said. “This is a rancher doing real ranching. It’s not for show – he’s going about his daily work to provide for his family.”

Vail Preservation Society 7For Cranwell, the photos provide both beauty and truth. “You can’t separate the beauty of our landscapes from the beauty of our culture – all we have is our roots and I hope people will feel this place is special.”

Bill Steen is a Southern Arizona photographer who took several of the landscape photos provided. “Sometimes they just come together and the same conditions will never happen again in the exact way,” he said. “Photos can make people more aware of where they live – and enrich the possibility of being connected to it.”

Vail Preservation Society 6At Rincon, you’ll find many stopping to appreciate Bill’s photos of clouds passing over the Mustang Mountains and of the moon rising above the Huachuca foothills. “They are also designed to soothe – helping people stop and escape the moment.”

Vail Preservation Society 5TMC’s Healing Art Program accepts donations of gallery-quality paintings, graphics, photography and sculptures. The program considers all styles of art that would further our mission to enhance patient care through the creation and maintenance of a healing environment.

 

Southern Arizona hospital coalition addresses opioid misuse in rural areas

SAHA.jpgA coalition of five independent Southern Arizona hospitals this week secured a federal grant to diminish opioid misuse and dependence across rural communities in Southern Arizona.

The Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant, which provides about $100,000 in support to the effort, comes through the federal Health Resources & Services Administration. The grant aims to:

  • achieve efficiencies by collaborating with behavioral health and police departments in rural communities
  • expand coordination of quality health care services by identifying shared communication strategies tailored for rural communities
  • strengthen the rural health care system in Southern Arizona by identifying opportunities for the Alliance to better address regional opioid misuse through the implementation of innovative collaborations and strategies

Formed in summer 2015, the Alliance consists of Northern Cochise Community Hospital, Copper Queen Community Hospital, Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center, and Benson Hospital. Tucson Medical Center is the founding member.

“Our Alliance has already demonstrated we can leverage existing relationships within our network to improve the care we deliver,” said Roland Knox, the chief executive officer of Northern Cochise Community Hospital who will lead the grant project. “Although this is a national struggle, Arizona has the fifth highest opioid prescription rate in the nation, and this award will allow us to work in a more coordinated way to improve outcomes for those grappling with this issue.”

Hope Thomas, the network director for the Alliance and TMC’s director of community programs, noted the challenges in rural communities are magnified because of more limited access to health and social services. Thomas noted an average of 26 percent of adults living in Southern Arizona’s rural counties report current prescription drug misuse and fatal opioid overdose in rural areas is as high or even higher than rates in metropolitan areas.

The grant award runs through May 2018.

Doctors, nurses share implications of federal health reform (BCRA)

What our health care providers are saying about BCRAThe medical community has not had any substantive role in drafting the proposed health care reform legislation in Washington, D.C.

Doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses who practice at Tucson Medical Center have created videos to directly share their perspectives and concerns on behalf of patients who would be affected by changes to Medicaid as envisioned in the proposals.

“As a nonprofit community hospital, TMC provides educational and community events throughout the year on a variety of different topics, from heart health to water safety to nutrition,” explained Julia Strange, the vice president of community benefit for TMC.

“In this particular case, we have been getting a lot of questions from staff and providers and the community about what these legislative proposals would mean to the community and to hospitals,” Strange continued. “We believe it is important to focus on policy and not politics, so these videos are an opportunity for providers to share their perspective, as those closest to serving patients.”

Hear directly from clinicians in the following videos. You can also view all the videos on our YouTube channel.

health care, bcra, midwive

Greta Gill – Nurse Midwife

bcra, healthcare

Mimi Coomler, RN, CNO

 

 

 

 

Dr. Donna Woods, ED Physician

Joey Rodriguez, RN

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa Young, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Melissa Young, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Kimberly Fore, RN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Pal Evans, Physician

Dr. Daniel McCabe

 

 

 

 

Randy Friese, MD, trauma critical care provider.

Donna Woods, ED physician, reading a poem she wrote

Mimi Coomler, RN, speaking about her son with Type 1 diabetes

Regardless of your viewpoint, please consider sharing your own perspectives and stories with your elected leaders in Washington as they collect feedback from their constituents to help inform their vote. For more information visit Save AZ Health Care’s website. 

Downtown discussion: Healthy strategies for the grocery store

Fruits and vegetables overhead assortment on colorful backgroundSometimes we forget what a miracle – and a trap – the grocery store really is.

It can be a place of wondrous nutritional bounty.

It can also be a place where healthy lifestyles go to get derailed.

If you’ve got 45 minutes over the lunch hour Thursday, July 6, pop over to HealthOn Broadway to join members of Tucson Medical Center’s Wellness team to learn more about thoughtfully navigating those aisles.

“People often think they’re making the right choices at the grocery store but they’re often not the right choices for their health or their finances,” said Wellness Director Mary Atkinson, a registered dietitian. “This is an opportunity to help become a more informed consumer.”

Registered dietitian Laurie Ledford will share information, for example, about how to read labels more effectively. “The front of the packaging is not an accurate source of information,” she said. “The truth is in the fine print on the back.”

TMC’s free and informative wellness conversations take place the first Thursday of each month from 11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. and again from noon – 12:45 p.m. The conversations take place on the first floor of HealthOn Broadway, 1 W. Broadway.

And mark your calendars for August’s discussion: Your Perfect Average Day – How to make small steps count towards big change.

About HealthOn

Tucson Medical Center joined forces with El Rio Health Community Health Center to create HealthOn Tucson, a new innovative, integrated health and wellness collaboration.

HealthOn Broadway provides:

  • State-of-the-art primary care
  • Immediate care (for those unexpected illnesses)
  • Virtual visits
  • Health coaching
  • Health and wellness classes

Safe Kids Pima County – keeping kids safe through education and advocacy

Safe Kids Pima County LogoPlenty of us have practice patching up the skinned knees and elbows of active children in our lives.

Unfortunately, though, accidents are too often far more serious than bumps and scrapes. In fact, accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 0 to 19 – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The good news about this chilling statistic is that we have the power to change it. “Childhood accidents can (often? always? Almost always) be prevented – a few easy steps for children and adults can help keep kids safe,” said Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids Pima County coordinator.

Safe Kids Pima County is a network of organizations focused on preventing accidental, childhood injury by educating adults and children, creating safe environments, conducting research, and advocating for effective laws.

Mitchell is a part of TMC’s participation in the Safe Kids initiative, working with community partners to actively engage adults in taking action for stronger child safety. From providing free bike helmets and pool safety to education workshops and school presentations, Mitchell coordinates a full schedule of activities to facilitate child safety awareness.

Jessica MitchellRecently, Mitchell spent a week at Frances Owen Holaway Elementary School, educating each PE class on the merits of bike safety.

“We explain to the kids ‘the brain can’t fix itself’ and make sure every student has a helmet and how to put it on correctly,” Mitchell explained. “The kids also learn the proper hand signals, where it’s safe to ride and how to avoid taking dangerous risks.”

Many child accidents involve bike riding. Over the past three years, Safe Kids Pima County has provided more than 8,000 free bike helmets to children in our community.

Safe Kids Pima County provides information and resources to help keep kids safe. Going forward, look for Mitchell’s monthly blog posts on helping keep kids safe, happy and healthy.

For further information about Safe Kids Pima County, please email safekidspimacounty@tmcaz.com or call (520) 324-2783. If you are holding a community event and would like Safe Kids Pima County to attend or participate, click here.

TMC Sponsors June 26 Forum on Health Care Reform: What it Means to Providers and Patients

community forum tmcTucson Medical Center is conducting a series of health forums to help inform the Southern Arizona community on current health care legislation and other federal actions.

Please join us at our next Health Care Town Hall: Health Care Reform and What it Means to Providers and Patients.

Come be part of the conversation and hear what health care leaders have to say about how health care legislation will impact patients and their families.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 26, at the DoubleTree Grand Ballroom,  445 S Alvernon Way in Tucson.

 The moderator will be Judy Rich, TMC HealthCare President and CEO. Panelists include:

  • Greg Vigdor, President/CEO, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, who will share the impact on health care and the economic sector
  • Daniel Derksen, Professor, Public Health Policy and Management Program, who will discuss the impact on rural health
  • Nancy Johnson, President and CEO, El Rio Health, who will share the primary care perspective
  • Francisco Garcia, Assistant County Administrator, who will discuss the impact on public health
  • Tommy Schechtman, Pediatrician, Past-president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who will share the impact on children’s health.

Please register here for the event to ensure your seat.

American Health Care Act could devastate health care system, panelists say

NursingPhoto.jpgTucson Medical Center  – as well as other hospitals and health institutions across the country – will be under threat if 23 million people lose their insurance in the coming decade under the American Health Care Act.

That was the consensus of panelists at the Mayor’s Health Forum Tuesday, part of a series of forums taking place this week in cities across the state, from Phoenix to Flagstaff and Sedona.  The forum, held at the Pima County Housing Center, was organized by Planned Parenthood.

“Having access to health care means having access to affordable health care,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who served on the panel, which also included patients. “If you can’t afford it, you can’t access it.”

With uninsured rates are at historic lows, Rothschild said he had to change his general stance of staying out of federal policy. “Being mayor gives me plenty of do here locally, but this affects all of us – at the state and at the city level,” he said. “And if bad results occur and it is left to the cities to deal with it, we likely will not have the resources necessary to address it. So to me, this is personal.”

Julia Strange, the vice president of community benefit for TMC, said as the largest hospital in the city, TMC injects $740 million in economic impact into the region, supports nearly 6,000 jobs, cares for about 100,000 people a year in its emergency room, and reinvests millions back into the community in terms of education, outreach, charity care and other benefits.

“I tell you all of this because TMC will not be the same if the AHCA happens,” she cautioned.

After the Affordable Care Act brought coverage to 400,000 Arizonans, TMC’s charity care and bad debt plummeted from $25.8 million to $8 million. Unraveling that would undermine the viability of hospitals, which would ultimately impact everyone – from the vulnerable to the wealthy.

“Even if you have insurance from your employer or are extraordinarily wealthy, coming to the hospital is the great leveler,” Strange said. “In our country, we don’t have a healthcare system for the rich and a healthcare system for the poor: It is for the community as a whole, and we need to invest in it to make sure the services we need are available when we need them,” Strange said, adding it is a moral imperative to protect the most vulnerable.

Panelists urged attendees to share with their Senators, who are largely back in their districts, the need to reset the discussion to protect their constituents.

 

We Are Champions initiative boosting community’s health care knowledge

We Are Champions patio

We Are Champions is an initiative created by the TMC Foundation to build a healthier Southern Arizona by bringing the community and health care knowledge together.

The group organizes in-depth health care presentations that cover important information regarding health and the health care system – helping each member champion stronger wellness and knowledge throughout our communities.

The presentations are conducted by health care leaders, offering the most current information about the technologies being used at Tucson Medical Center and the opportunity to ask questions and share experiences.

Luis LeonA recent discussion featured accomplished vascular surgeon Dr. Luis Leon, where the crowd learned details about the body’s vascular system and new advancements being used to treat complex vascular challenges.

Members will also receive guided tours of TMC, with information about each department and service line.

“This is a great way for our community to come together and share health care knowledge throughout Southern Arizona,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer.

Future presentations are planned throughout the year, with the next being held by Dr. Michele Boyce Ley, a fellowship-trained breast surgical oncologist.

We Are Champions Adaline KlemmedsonAdaline Klemmedson, steering chair of We are Champions also shared her enthusiasm, “It is my privilege to be a part of Tucson Medical Center’s We Are Champions and I look forward to watching it grow in the future, particularly with your participation. We are excited to present a lecture series, facility tours and much more.  Please join us to learn more about TMC, your community hospital.  And through this experience, you will become a more healthy and informed you!”

For more information about We are Champions, call (520) 324-2296, email Krissy King or visit the We are Champions website.

 

Services Thursday for cardiologist Marius Wagner

Wagner-2012Marius Wagner, M.D, was known by many at Tucson Medical Center as a talented healer.

With a lifelong sense of duty to care for the sick, he practiced interventional cardiology as a partner at Pima Heart Associates for 30 years.

“Dr. Wagner was a great cardiologist and friend to many,” said Anita Bach, TMC’s Cardiovascular and Imaging Service Line Administrator. “He was extremely passionate about the care he provided to his patients and was often described as a big ‘teddy bear’ to those who knew and loved him. He will be missed in the cardiology community; especially at TMC where he served as our Cath Lab Medical Director for several years.”

Dr. Wagner completed medical school at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Romania and immigrated to America in 1975, where we would complete his internship and residency at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. His Cardiology Fellowship was completed at Coney Island Hospital.

Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular disease, Dr. Wagner moved to Tucson in 1983.

On Dr. Wagner’s Pima Heart site, he shared, “I practice medicine the old-fashioned way so I really enjoy interacting with my patients and hearing about their backgrounds and experiences. Every day I learn something new and interesting”

Prayers and a eulogy will be offered at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the Chapel of the East Lawn Palms Mortuary, 5801 E. Grant Road.

To read more about Dr. Wagner’s life, please visit

http://tucson.com/lifestyles/announcements/obituaries/wagner-marius-m-m-d/article_5f715937-4b51-5f3e-85df-187166627a2e.html

Tired of renting? TMC hosts Homebuyer Expo May 31

TowerresizedDozens of lenders and housing professionals will be available to provide free information to those exploring the path to homeownership at an upcoming event designed specifically for homebuyers.

The Expo, organized through the office of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, will be held Wednesday, May 31, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in TMC’s Marshall Conference Center, 5301 E. Grant Road.

Attendees can learn about mortgage options, find out how to improve their credit score and determine whether they might quality for down payment assistance programs.

Members of the public are welcome to join TMC employees at the event.

“We know homeownership strengthens neighborhoods. When residents have an investment in the community, they engage with the community, which is why this is an important priority for the city,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “We also know there are more homebuyer assistance programs out there than people are aware of, so this is one tool we can use to help get the word out.”

Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC, noted the economic, civic and social benefits of stable home ownership are well documented. “We are pleased to participate in an event in which provides local community members an opportunity to explore whether homeownership is for them, in a friendly, one-stop experience,” she said.

Parking is available in the Catalina Garage just north of the northeast entrance.

For more information about the Expo, please contact Jaimie Galayda at 791-4201.

 

TMC adopts new testing system to rapidly identify infections, allow targeted antibiotic treatment

Accelerate Diagnostics 4Tucson Medical Center has adopted a new technology developed by local biotechnology firm Accelerate Diagnostics Inc. that is expected to save precious time in identifying the source of bloodstream infections and determine which antibiotics would be most effective in treating them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late February allowed Accelerate to move forward with sharing information about the Accelerate PhenoTest BC Kit, which is designed to help save lives and reduce complications by initiating antibiotic treatment significantly more quickly in cases of bacterial or yeast blood infections.

About 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually in the United States and at least 23,000 die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because these infections escalate very quickly, physicians concerned about a delay in treatment may sometimes employ a more broad-brush treatment. Over time, however, that builds resistance.

Accelerate Diagnostics“When we talk about heart attacks, we say that time is tissue, which is why we need immediate medical intervention,” said John Allen, director of TMC Laboratory Services. “When we talk about sepsis, time is life.

“We’re very excited by the promise of this test to help us find more targeted therapy as quickly as possible to improve patient outcomes and potentially save lives.”

TMC has worked closely with the company since it was recruited to Tucson in 2012, from providing specimens to helping run testing prototypes. “We’re very proud to work with the team at TMC,” said Lawrence Mehren, president and CEO of Accelerate Diagnostics. “Their dedication to providing the best care possible to our community is evident in the work they do each and every day.”

The company, which at the time pledged to add 30 jobs, has experienced rapid growth and now employs more than 100 people in leased space in the Abrams Public Health Center. “In addition to the life-saving work this company is doing, TMC is pleased to foster the biotech presence in our community and support local, ongoing economic development efforts,” Allen said.

Accelerate Diagnostics 3Traditional test results may take up to 48 hours after infection is detected in a positive blood culture. In a fraction of the time, the Accelerate PhenoTest BC Kit can identify more than two dozen species of bacteria and yeast that can cause infection, and help indicate its responsiveness to 18 different antibiotics, according to the FDA. It can also help identify whether the infection is showing indication of antibiotic-resistance.

FDA approval was based largely on a review of a primary clinical study, which determined the test correctly identified strains of bacteria or yeast more than 95 percent of the time in a sample of 1,850 positive blood cultures.

 

During National Donate Life Month, organ donation impacted TMC family

National Donate Life 4.jpgThe Spohn family had a special reason to celebrate this year’s National Donate Life Month – a kidney donation that has made a meaningful difference in their lives, providing great relief and renewed freedom.

When it comes to doing things together, the Spohns are a close-knit family who share every triumph and every challenge. Ed Spohn credits the support of his wife, Michelle and son, Phillip for helping him brave the extraordinary challenges of polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

The Spohns are also a part of the Tucson Medical Center family – Michelle has been a member of the TMC nursing-staff for more than 20 years, and Philip will soon be moving from transportation into patient safety.

Now in his late 50s, Ed has been coping with the disease since age 17. “They told me I’d probably have to go on dialysis in my 50s.” Unfortunately the genetic disease took grip far sooner, and dangerously enlarged Ed’s kidneys before he turned 40. In 1997, Ed received a kidney from his wife, Michelle.

Ed’s life changed and he could resume most activities. After the transplant, Ed says he felt “wonderful.” Gone was the chronic pain in his back, the swelling in his feet, the nausea, and the intense headaches and shortness of breath. Ed’s family experienced the challenges with him – and Michelle knows she did the right thing.

National Donate Life“It’s so gratifying to do something like this,” said Michelle. “It is so hard to see a loved one suffer and It made all the difference. I’d do it again if I had another to give.”

Michelle said she has not experienced any medical issues as a result of her donation, and she encourages others to donate. “I tell people to get tested for a tissue-match if they have a family member or loved one with kidney failure – it will change everything for them.”

Receiving a kidney transplant requires constant care and monitoring. While the rewards change lives, there is a risk of rejection and the recipient will need to take anti-rejection medications that have additional risks and side effects.

Unfortunately, transplant kidneys do not last as long as our own organs. Ed’s periodic blood tests revealed the transplant kidney was failing in 2013. He soon began dialysis – a process in which a machine called a hemodialyzer performs the function of the kidneys. The process is life-saving, but strenuous – often causing anemia, fluid overload, constant itching, trouble sleeping, and other taxing symptoms.

Ed received dialysis treatment three times a week, for several hours at a time. The process also involves frequent testing. “You have to adhere to a strict diet, and get fluids and blood checked all the time,” Ed said. “It was never easy, but we did what we had to do.”

Dialysis also requires frequent sessions, restricting any travel. “I missed a lot of things,” Ed stated. “I couldn’t go to so many family gatherings, like my niece’s wedding – I even missed my mother’s special birthday party when she turned 80.”

National Donate Life 3.jpgAfter a year, the Spohns also provided hemodialysis for ED at home – a very difficult task that was understandably stressful and overwhelming for the family. “We experienced a roller coaster of emotions,” Michelle said. “Ed was on the donation list and we answered every phone call with such hope.”

Those hopes came to fruition last week, when the Spohn family received the call they had been waiting for. The transplant was a success – and the Spohns are overjoyed to be sharing a triumph. Michelle attended a ceremonial flag-raising on the TMC campus last week to bring awareness to the need for organ donation.

“I’m so thankful,” Ed said, with a grateful smile. Transplant recipients can write an appreciative letter to the family of the deceased donor through the Donor Network of Arizona. Ed said he wants to take it a step further. “I really hope I get to meet them, so I can tell them how much it helps our family – I’m forever grateful.”

What’s next for the Spohns? The family will spend the next few months ensuring Ed’s body accepts the new kidney – after that, they hope to travel and celebrate Ed’s restored health. “I’m already feeling so much better!”

For further information about organ donation, visit the website for the Donor Network of Arizona.

National Donate Life 5

 


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461