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

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.

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.”

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.

 

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.

 

TMC celebrates the economic impact of hospitals in building healthy communities, healthy economy

Hospital WeekWhat does $740 million in total economic impact look like?

It comes in the form of:

  • Salaries for 5,800 jobs
  • Vast deliveries of office supplies and medical equipment
  • Nutritious ingredients for 3,200 meals served each and every day
  • Technological innovation and capital investment

In short, it looks like Tucson Medical Center – the area’s sixth largest private employer – and its total annual economic impact, most of which occurs at home in Pima County.

Hospitals play a strong role in improving the physical health of a community, from caring for people in emergencies, performing healing surgeries and welcoming babies into the world.

Hospital Week 2Beyond that important work, National Hospital Week, starting May 7, is an appropriate time to celebrate the economic contribution hospitals make. The sector is the largest employer industry in the state, making up 13 percent of Arizona jobs and contributing $22 billion in direct economic impact.

Last year, TMC invested $58 million back into the community, in the form of providing charity care, engaging the community in wellness and helping to fund Medicaid expansion. In fact, nearly 80,000 people were touched by TMC outreach and education programs in 2016, spread across 751 events.

“As one of this region’s largest employers, and as Tucson’s locally-governed nonprofit community hospital, TMC is proud to play an active role in supporting our local economy and helping improve the community’s health and wellness,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of community benefit.


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