Monday’s the last day to register to vote in the primary election

Vote Naromi Kautsch Crop.jpg

A number of important, hotly-contested races are on the Aug. 28 primary election ballot.

Make sure you have a say in who will represent you in the nation’s Capitol and at the state legislature.

If you’re not registered yet, July 30 is the cutoff date.

Primary elections may not get as much buzz as general elections, but in many districts with lopsided partisan registration numbers, the primary is where the real decisions are made.

There are a few reasons you would need to complete a new registration form:

  • You’re a new resident to Pima County
  • You’ve changed your address since the last time you registered
  • You’ve changed your name
  • You want to change your party

Vote-Christina.jpg

Make sure your voice is counted. Register to vote online. 

If you’re not sure if you need to register, you can check your status by going to the Pima County Recorder’s website.

And don’t forget, if you’re an independent voter, you may choose the partisan primary you’d like top vote in.

Questions? Call  the Pima County Recorder’s office at 520-724-4330.

TMC CEO participates in bipartisan initiative to ensure equity in care; serves on panel discussion

USofC_fb_shareTucson Medical Center CEO and President Judy Rich will serve on a panel discussion with leaders across other health systems to discuss viable ways to ensure quality, affordable health care for every American.

Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, as well as former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger are among the well-known health care leaders who are supporting the United States of Care effort and are participating in the July 23 discussion.

“The founding belief is that when political rhetoric is removed, Americans outside of Washington agree more than they disagree about health care access and coverage,” according to a statement from the group. “The organization seeks politically and economically viable solutions that can garner broad support that won’t disappear with the next election or presidential administration.”

JudyCropRich said she is supporting the effort because it builds on the commitment TMC has made to the community.

“As a nonprofit community hospital, TMC cares for everybody who comes through our doors, regardless of their ability to pay,” she said.

“We’ve spent a lot of energy in this country debating whether the Affordable Care Act was a good thing. TMC has spent a lot of energy for a number of years refining our systems to provide more efficient care, to better coordinate our care and to manage our population to actually keep them out of the hospital,” Rich explained. “But at some point, there’s just a basic fundamental question we have to answer and that’s whether we believe that all Americans have a right to health care.”

Other panelists include Sandra Hernandez, the president and CEO of California Health Care Foundation, and Mark Zitter, the chair of The Zetema Project.

For more information, please visit A Bipartisan Approach to Health Care Reform event page.

 

TMC helps kick off effort to save more lives at Pima Animal Care Center

Julia Strange and Simon at campaign kickoff

Julia Strange and PACC alum Simon at campaign kickoff

Any given day at Tucson Medical Center, pet therapy teams including 32 dogs and one miniature pony visit hospitalized patients to share comfort and affection.

“They bring their love and their compassion to our patients and they provide a welcome distraction when people are at their most vulnerable,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of Community Benefit.

Pup at PACC waiting for new home

Pup at PACC waiting for new home

Many of the dogs on these teams are rescues. It’s just one of the reasons TMC, which appreciates the role pets have in the overall wellness of the community, is supporting an effort to raise funds for life-saving programs at the shelter, said Strange.

Strange and TMC’s President and CEO Judy Rich are serving as co-chairs of the
Your Love Saves Lives campaign through the Friends of PACC, the nonprofit arm of Pima Animal Care Center.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $5 million in private donations to expand veterinary services, to purchase needed medical equipment and to support programs such as community cat screenings and behavioral training for dogs.

To date, the community has raised more than $4.25 million toward the goal, announced Friends of PACC Executive Director Jennifer Camano.

Ray Carroll and Dan Eckstrom with PACC alumni Simon

Ray Carroll and Dan Eckstrom with PACC alumnus Simon

“We are asking the community now to help us close the gap,” Camano said, at a kick-off press conference with supporters. “This is a doable goal for this community and we know this community loves pets.”

The only open admission animal shelter, which accepts every pet in need, Pima Animal Care Center saved more pets in 2017 than ever before – more than 91 percent, of the more than 16,000 pets it took in.

Additionally, the shelter performed more than 7,500 spay and neuter surgeries and addressed more than 20,000 animal protection calls.

“We are honored to be a part of this effort,” Strange said, “and passionate about making sure the public understands the important role pets play in public health.”

To learn more about the campaign or to donate, please visit the Friends of PACC website

 

Rear Admiral visits TMC for Children as part of larger engagement tour of Tucson

Honorary Soldier enjoys stories from Rear Admiral MacInnis.jpgSmall patients were wowed by the sheer mass of an aircraft carrier – surprised to hear that it would be the equivalent of a floating city with nearly 5,000 crew members on board, sharing space with aircraft and helicopters.

Rear Admiral Daniel MacInnis was perfectly suited to answer their questions: While participating in the U.S. Navy’s flight program, after all, he landed craft 17 times on each of four carriers during training runs. MacInnis, who also served as a diving officer, deployed to Iraq in 2006 and to Afghanistan in 2013 and has earned several recognitions, including three Meritorious Service Medals.

Rear Admiral MacInnis on tour of TMC for ChildrenA sleight of hand magician, MacInnis entertained youngsters and handed out certificates that dubbed them an “honorary sailor.”

One of 180 rear admirals in the Navy, MacInnis visited TMC’s executive team and TMC for Children as part of a larger two-day tour to share the importance of naval service with city leaders, including civic groups, universities and veterans groups.

“We meet local leaders in cities that are away from fleet-centric areas where people may not have as much information about the importance of the Navy so we can hopefully inspire their support and advocacy,” MacInnis said.

MacInnis noted that 70 percent of the earth is covered with water, 80 percent of the world’s population lives near water and 90 percent of global commerce uses maritime routes. “The Navy is a 24/7, 365-day organization that is here to protect America, preserve our way of life and America’s influence in the world and to deter aggression,” MacInnis explained.

To see more coverage of his visit, please see KGUN’s story. 

 

Do I need a fence for the inflatable above-ground pool? Pediatric Emergency Notes

Do I need a fence for our above ground pool? Drowning prevention,We don’t have a built-in pool at our home, but we often use a little splash pool which got me to thinking about the safety of above-ground pools — you know, the sort that just go up for the summer, whether rigid sides or inflatable, and come down when school is back in session.

As a pediatric emergency department nurse I’ve seen my fill of child drowning victims and so I tend to be hypervigilant around pools. The absolutely crushing part about drownings is that they are nearly always preventable.

I asked Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids Pima County coordinator, what the rules are regarding fencing and general safety practices around temporary above-ground pool structures.

“The law…oh the law on pools! It can be so confusing. Pretty much, if you have a pool that is taller than 18 inches and wider than 8 feet intended for swimming, it requires a fence/barrier that is at least 5 feet tall with a self-closing or self-latching gate. The entire law for pools can be found on the Arizona government pages“ Jessica shares.

“Mesh fencing is a great option for those with above-ground temporary pools because when the pool comes down, the mesh fence can also come down. There is one exception to having to put up a pool fence, and that is if everyone in the household is 6 years or older, no safety measures need to be in place. This doesn’t mean this is the safest option. Not everyone over the age of 6 can swim, and even swimmers can get into difficulty in a pool.

“If you decide to get a temporary above-ground pool make sure you have a fence at least 5 feet tall with a self-latching gate. Make sure your child cannot use a chair or other item to climb over the barrier or to unlatch the gate. And emphasize to all kids and adults that the gate is not to be propped open.”

Also, we worry most about pool mishaps in the summer, but be vigilant all year for drowing hazards. Empty the cooler of melted ice water; dispose of the bucket of mop water; drain the bathtub (and never leave your toddler or pre-schooler in the tub unsupervised). Unfortunately, we see all these drowning scenarios in the emergency department.

Whether it’s in the pool, the ocean or the bathtub, you will not hear a child drowing. Drowning is silent … keep your eyes on your child.

This summer we’re going to follow all the advice above as well as the ABCs of pool safety whether it’s a splash pool or a regular pool:

“A” is for Adult Supervision

Always have an adult watching the pool, not reading, not looking at their phone, not taking an afternoon siesta – just watching the kids in the pool. Go ahead and take turns if it’s a social gathering, but make sure that the designated adult knows the rules. Better yet, consider hiring a trained lifeguard. While it seems like the more adults who around, the better. But the reality is that it seems to be the opposite – everyone thinks someone else is wathcing. Make hiring a lifeguard a part of your pool-party budget.

Jessica also wanted to remind folks that floaties are toys and not safety devices. If you have a life vest, they need to be the right size, and they are not a substitute for adult supervision.

“B” is for Barrier

Yes, even with an above-ground temporary pool that you picked up for $75 you want a barrier. It can be mesh; it just has to be at least 5 feet tall and have a self-latching gate. Even if your kids are over the age of 6, what about the neighbors or the grandkids? Make sure the barrier isn’t compromised – there aren’t any chairs or trash cans that can be dragged over to act as a ladder, and that nobody props open the gate.

“C” is for Classes

Tucson has lots of great options for swim classes including Vest it Up!  TMC for Children and Credit Unions for Kids offer FREE year-round swim lessons at dates, times and locations that meet the needs of busy families. These free lessons are at local YMCA locations and include a free personal flatation device, or PFD. This U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest for kids is provided to kids completing swim classes. The free classes are available to the first 400 kids each year between 4-17 years old.  Register here for Vest it Up!

I have a few additional thoughts:

Having a party? Hire a lifeguard.

It seems like the more adults are around to watch the better right? But in reality it seems to work in the opposite way. Everyone thinks someone else is watching. Make hiring a lifeguard part of your pool party budget.

It’s not just pools and it’s not just summer time

We worry especially in the summer when kids are in the pool, but be vigilant all year. Empty the cooler of melted ice water, dispose of the bucket of mop water, drain the bathtub (and never leave your baby, toddler or preschooler in the bathtub unsupervised.) Unfortunately, we see all these drowning scenarios in the emergency department.

Eyes peeled

Whether it is in the pool, the ocean or the bathtub you will not hear your child drowning. Drowning is a silent affair…keep your eyes on your child.

Hope your summer is splashing good fun.

Stay safe,
Melissa

P.S. Did you know that the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona provides pool safety checks? Request one here 

Melissa HodgesPediatric Emergency Notes from Melissa
Melissa Hodges is a pediatric emergency room RN and mom to two young boys. Melissa has been at Tucson Medical Center for 10 years. She is a knitting ninja apprentice who makes a mean chili and enjoys spending time with her family and friends in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.

TMC participates in national day of awareness to end violence on June 8

IMG_0289Violence is an ongoing public health and safety challenge throughout the country.

Join Tucson Medical Center and hospitals and health systems across the country on June 8 for the second annual #HAVhope, a national day of awareness that calls for ending violence in all forms.

IMG_0294“Hospitals serve as the backbone of healthy communities, supporting victims of violence-related trauma, answering the call in times of tragedy and attempting to prevent violence in the first place by building healthy communities and embracing best practices to keep employees safe,” said Judy Rich, TMC’s president and CEO.

“This event presents an opportunity for us all to show our commitment in ending all forms of violence, both in our workplaces and in our communities,” she added

IMG_0291

To support #HAVhope day:

  • Share a photo on June 8 of yourself holding hands with others in your community or workplace committed to combating violence. This collection of photos will provide a visual to demonstrate that we stand together to combat violence. Download a sign here.
  • Use #HAVhope on social media to highlight your work or commitment to combat violence in your community or workplace.

TMC, Davis-Monthan work together to augment training for military medical personnel

BDP41009Master Sgt. Pablo Vasquez may someday be called upon to care for wounded warriors on a faraway battlefield.

The medical techinician has to keep his skills sharp to be ready for that assignment. But rather than travel across the country for those training opportunities, he just had to take a short drive across town, recently spending a week caring for patients at Tucson Medical Center.

TMC is partnering with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to provide week-long rotations designed to augment the training of the skilled medical staff working at the base clinic. The rotations will continue through the year.

“The clinic is a busy place, but we are able to get exposure to a much larger variety of medical needs here at TMC,” said Vasquez, a San Antonio native who came to Tucson in September for a two-year tour of duty. “This is a great opportunity to help enhance the skills and confidence we need when we deploy to a place – whether overseas or here – where these kinds of skills are needed.”

BDP40992As will his counterparts throughout the year, Vasquez spent two days in the Intensive Care Unit, one day at TMC Wound Care Clinic, one day in the medical-surgical units and two days helping to staff the Emergency Department – which alone sees nearly 100,000 patients each year.

Aside from the hands-on training with patients, he said, it was also an opportunity to learn more about hospital operations and best practices. “There are training platforms like this in other cities for other bases, so when I heard about this, I was really excited about the opportunity to obtain more training and education.”

Dr. Michael Lavor, a trauma vascular surgeon and Navy vet who deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 to direct medical operations at a base there, came away from that experience knowing exactly what kind of training soldiers need to care for their colleagues.

As the Honorary Commander for the 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron and the former physician leader of TMC Wound Care, he thought there might be a way for those two entities to come together to build a stronger community. He brought leaders from TMC together with leaders from Davis-Monthan to solidify the mutually beneficial training relationship.

“These are medics who are highly trained, but the experience they’re getting at the Wound Care Clinic, for example, is still very valuable,” Lavor said. “When you go to a war zone, you’re going to see wounds. It’s beneficial to learn from the highly experienced nurses here about how to put a dressing on or the different techniques in helping patients heal.”

“It’s one thing to read a book and be told how to do something. That’s an important part of medical school or nursing school – but it’s absolutely critical to then participate in clinical training to apply what you’ve learned. “

From TMC’s perspective, he noted, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the 1 percent of the population who work in military service, he said. “There is no small amount of work involved in setting up these rotations, so I give TMC credit for stepping forward to help support ongoing training of medical personnel.”

Judy Rich, TMC’s president and CEO, was part of those initial sessions with Air Force leaders. “We really salute the work that’s being done by the men and women who sacrifice to keep us safe,” she said. “The base is a critical part of Tucson’s economy, but they’re also our neighbor and a huge asset to this community, so we’re pleased to be able to support their readiness and training efforts.”

For more coverage of the effort from Arizona Public Media, visit https://news.azpm.org/p/news-articles/2018/5/31/130552-air-force-and-local-hospital-team-up-for-training/

 

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: 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.

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

 

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