TMC recognizes Acacia Elementary teacher Linda Anderson as a Legendary Teacher

When Linda Anderson turned 40, she got serious about getting fit.

She started walking and before you knew it, she was running short distances.

She was hooked.

The third grade teacher has since run nine marathons, including one up Mount Lemmon for her 50th birthday and too many half-marathons to count. She runs three times a week, including three miles on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and a longer 7 mile run on Saturdays.

She’s shared that love of fitness with students, serving for eight years as a Girls on the Run coach.

For her commitment to building health in her community, Tucson Medical Center honors her on Legendary Teacher Day, held annually the fourth Thursday in September – Sept. 27 this year.

Legendary Teacher Day

TMC selects a special teacher each year to honor on the day, which was established in 2014, is a tribute to teachers and a chance to reflect on those who make differences in the lives of others.

Anderson never thought she’d be a teacher. After a career in the banking industry while raising her two children, Linda began working in the children’s ministry at her church. That inspired her to embark on education studies.

“It’s a calling and I know I am exactly where I need to be, praise God,” she said.

Girls on the Run

When she learned about Girls on the Run in 2011, Anderson was able to combine her passions for teaching and for running. The youth development program teaches life skills, culminating in a 5k to build confidence and a sense of accomplishment in girls. This fall, Acacia has four coaches with two groups of 15 girls each.

Sylvia Brown, who serves as the TMC coordinator of the program, said she was honored to nominate Anderson. “Linda has been a consistent supporter of Girls on the Run, fully supporting the program and the mission,” she said.

As for Anderson, she said she believes in the purpose of the program.

“The girls are at such a pivotal age to learn these things. With third through fifth graders, they are still young, but their foundations are being set. There are things they’ll have to deal with and this program helps teach them and provide them tools to meet these challenges – whether they come next week or years down the road.”

Anderson recalls getting choked up at one year-end celebration, when one girl shared that the program “has changed my life. I was one of the mean girls, but I’m not anymore.”

“I can see girls grow into their own,” she said. “Some are shy coming in and they open up, gaining self-confidence.”

“I believe in the program and the impact it has on these girls. They learn they can do anything they want. They can make decisions on their own.”

This fall’s season, sponsored by TMC and UnitedHealthcare of Arizona, is just getting underway with the girls, who meet twice a week.

“Girls on the Run provides a tremendous opportunity for UnitedHealthcare to help support these Tucson youngsters as they learn to live healthier lives and to become strong, independent and confident women,” said David Allazetta, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “We salute Linda Anderson for the commitment she has made to their education and their transformation through running.”

The program also comes at a critical time, when peer pressure starts ramping up, Anderson noted. “The program teaches them to be healthy, not skinny, that they are worthy. We encourage them to see the beauty and self-worth inside of themselves, and we talk about the benefits of moving and taking care of themselves.”

An elementary school teacher’s life is busy by default. Still, taking on the added responsibility of being a coach is not a problem for Anderson. “It’s not extra for me. Its part of what I do. I look forward to it. It’s one area I can make a difference.”

“It’s really cool to watch them encourage each other. We encourage them to be the best you, you can be.” We don’t ask if you beat the other girl. We ask ‘Did you do your best?’”

“Then to see the sheer joy when they finish their first 5K run is so amazing,” she said. “Their smiles are as big as Texas.”

TMC congratulates Mayo Clinic on the new Ken Burns PBS documentary

MayoAs a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Tucson Medical Center looks forward to THE MAYO CLINIC: FAITH – HOPE – SCIENCE, a two-hour movie that explores the Clinic’s 150-year history and what it means to “Put the Needs of the Patient First.”

The film will air Tuesday evening, Sept. 25 at on Arizona PBS- KAET, with a repeat broadcast on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Please check local listings.

The film, which features the voices of Tom Hanks, Sam Waterston, Blythe Danner and Josh Lucas, blends historical narrative with contemporary patient stories, including former U.S. Sen. John McCain and the Dalai Lama.

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, TMC works with Mayo Clinic to better serve patients and families by sharing education and best practices. TMC in 2015 joined the network, which allows physicians aligned with TMC to connect to more than 4,500 physicians and scientists at the Mayo Clinic. The relationship has also brought the hospitals together to host an annual Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium.

“The Mayo Clinic is known nationally and internationally for the quality of care it provides, and this film promises to be a powerful exploration of how that care has evolved over the past 150 years,” said Susan Willis, executive director of strategy at TMC.

The film begins with the story of Dr. W.W. Mayo who, after traveling throughout the Midwest looking for a place to practice, settled with his family in rural Minnesota. Together with the Sisters of Saint Francis and his sons Will and Charlie, he laid the foundation for a medical center that now treats over a million patients every year from 50 states and 150 countries, and employs 64,000 people in Rochester and at campuses in Jacksonville, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona.

“The history of healthcare is a larger reflection of who we are as a nation,” said executive producer Ken Burns. “It includes advances in science and technology, but also touches on more universal themes of love and compassion. This is an extraordinary story that places our fundamental need to care for each other within the larger framework of America’s healthcare system and modern medicine.”

Through the story of The Mayo Clinic, the film demonstrates the power of collaboration in medicine, the role of humanity in science and the importance of hope in healing. In doing so, it provides insight into ways to make America’s healthcare delivery system more effective, efficient and compassionate.

TMC presented with award, recognition for achievements in stroke treatment

BDP49509Tucson Medical Center routinely achieves critical treatment timelines for patients that give them the best outcomes after heart attack or stroke.

“On behalf of the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, I thank you for your commitment,” said Ron Loomis, Jr., the senior regional director for quality and systems improvement for the associations, in presenting an award to the TMC team.

TMC earned the Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award by meeting specific quality metrics for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke within a designated period that are scientifically proven to reduce death and disability for stroke patients.

TMC additionally received the Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll award, which reduces time between when a patient suffering from ischemic stroke arrives at the hospital and when treatment starts with a clot-busting drug. Ischemic strokes occur when the arteries to the brain narrow or become blocked, reducing blood flow. We are the only hospital in Southern Arizona with this top level designation.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of disability. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to these evidence-based guidelines often see improved outcomes and fewer readmissions,” Loomis said.

BDP49513Dr. David Teeple, the medical director for TMC’s stroke program, said the program has been growing in effectiveness for the last 10 years, to the point that TMC has for many years been recognized for putting proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis.

“It’s ingrained in what we do here now,” he told the team, “but don’t underestimate the hard work you all do to achieve these guidelines. I’m incredibly grateful and our patients are incredibly grateful.”

Thank you Tucson for making us the Readers’ Choice

Thank you, Tucson, for your support in the Arizona Daily Star 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. We have been serving Southern Arizona for 75 years and are proud to be recognized as the top choice in these categories:

Best Hospital

Best Emergency Room

Best Pediatric Emergency Room

Best Women’s Center

Best Surgical Weight Loss

Best Birthing Center

Thanks to our staff, volunteers and providers for making TMC the hospital of choice in Tucson for the fourth year in a row. As Tucson’s only nonprofit, community-owned hospital, TMC’s mission is to provide exceptional health care with compassion.  We take your trust in us seriously. Thank you for your vote of confidence!

Separate Girl Scout troops deliver encouraging notes, tiny onesies to cheer patients at TMC

Girl scout notesWhen Girl Scouts Jenna Ahrendt and Megan Smith of Troop 475 recently took to Tucson’s streets to leave sticky notes with positive, encouraging messages all over town, their first stop was Tucson’s nonprofit community hospital, Tucson Medical Center.

The small gesture went over in a big way when pediatric patients at TMC for Children and TMC’s pediatric Emergency Department began to see the pink, 3-inch-by-3-inch notes with kind and supportive memos.

“Believe in yourself!”

“You have someone who cares.”

“You are an inspiration!”

“Sentiments like this can have a wonderful impact on children who are anxious or frightened about a hospital stay,” said Heather Roberts, MSW, CCLS, the Child Life supervisor at TMC for Children. “It might seem like just a few words on a pink post-it, but it really helps us put a smile on those faces.”

Experts, physicians, and parents know it can be a challenge to bring a smile to sick children –  for Jenna and Megan it only required colored parchment, a sharpie and heart.

“They wanted to do something for the community, to spread positivity.” said Troop leader Becki Ahrendt. “I asked where we would put them and they said, ‘Everywhere!’”

GirlScoutsWithTieDyeDonations.jpgMeanwhile, 8-year-old Annabella Carpenter and 7-year-old Mary Redding of Troop 908 worked over the summer to tie dye nearly 80 onesies for babies born prematurely and recovering in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at TMC.

Mary, born at TMC, was treated as a newborn for jaundice in the NICU. And both girls experienced the unit last year when a friend of the family had twins who came early and spent time recovering there before the whole family went home.

The girls made the babies some tie-dyed onesies, made after Annabella received a tie-dye kit last year and started experimenting. The onesies for the twins were such a hit with the mom and the staff, the girls decided to use a part of their cookie profits to expand the effort.

“We wanted to congratulate them for being strong,” Annabella said. “And the babies will be happy to have something warm to wear when they go home,” echoed Mary.

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, 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/

 

TMC receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

American Heart Association Award recognizes Tucson Medical Center’s commitment to quality stroke care

 

StrokeRecognitionIconTucson Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

TMC earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Tucson Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said David Teeple, MD, and the director of TMC’s stroke care program.

“The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

TMC additionally received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Elite Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize TMC for their commitment to strokecare,” said Eric E. Smith, M.D., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

 About Get With The Guidelines®

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org/quality.

Our greatest reward is caring for our patients. That’s why we’re committed to turning treatment guidelines into lifelines. Tucson Medical Center is dedicated to helping our patients achieve the best possible outcomes, and implementing the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines program will help us accomplish that by making it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis.

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Charles Bascom

Charles BascomA physician yells “stat,” labs and med orders fly, nurses and techs scurry at a fevered pace. For staff, the Emergency Department can be an extraordinarily stressful environment, but that’s not what first comes to the mind of ED Lead Nurse Charles ‘Will’ Bascom.

“Our responsibility is to give 150 percent and treat each patient like they are family,” said Bascom. The longtime ED nurse began his career as an EMT/firefighter and moved into nursing after experiencing a serious injury. He completed his training in the ED and garnered experiences in psychiatric, float and critical care venues.

“At first, I worked in several nursing care settings – but I always ended up coming back to the ED.” So, what is it that kept Bascom returning to one of healthcare’s most challenging environments?

“Being there for patients and their families during one of their toughest times,” Bascom said confidently. “For any nurse, in any setting, it’s challenging and you never know what situation is going to walk through that door, but at the end of the day it is so rewarding to know you made a difference in a patient’s life.”

For Bascom, providing exceptional care with compassion goes hand-in-hand. “If you make the effort to show that you really care, patients will pick-up on your sincere intent,” he said. “They will feel more comfortable sharing important things about their health that will help you provide even better care.”

Respected for observing best practices, Bascom is also known for adhering to strict safety standards. “You have to keep your head in the game, be mindful, and ask questions to ensure the best for patients and ED coworkers.”

Yet, some still ask how Bascom consistently provides such outstanding care, shift-after-shift and year-after-year. “It’s about your motivation,” he said. “It has to be more than a title or a paycheck. If you’re in this because you have a passion for helping people – the reward is ten-fold.”

In addition to his busy schedule, Bascom is attending graduate school to become a family nurse practitioner. “This next step is very important to me because I will be able to do even more for the community and patient population.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Will on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

TMC director, Beth Dorsey, honored as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Beth Dorsey, Dietitian, President Elect of Academy of Nutrition and DietitiansBeth Dorsey couldn’t believe it when a recent Saturday Night Live skit used a relatively rare word that just happens to also be one of her favorites: dietitian.

In the skit, the protagonist’s sandwich fell on the ground, much to his consternation. He went on to complain that he has GI issues and that meal had been specifically planned for him by a dietitian.

“He said he was working with a dietitian! I couldn’t believe it – it was like we had arrived,” joked Dorsey, the director of Food and Nutrition Services at Tucson Medical Center, who was recently recognized as a Fellow by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

The designation recognizes Dorsey’s commitment to the field of dietetics and celebrates her professional accomplishments and pursuit of life-long learning.

We caught up with Dorsey for a few questions:

  • What is the reaction from people when you explain what you do?

I get one of two reactions: They ask what they should eat, or they share a confessional that they need to eat better.

  • So what do you tell them when they ask what they should eat?

I let them know that there isn’t a magic pill. For dietitians looking to help their clients create change, it’s all about relationship building, communications and goal setting. The fact is, it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet, and that’s why this is usually not easy. We start with what they currently eat and what their goals are. Then we go from there.

  • It has to be difficult to keep track of all the nutritional information out there. It seems we’re inundated with it.

There is incredible complexity in what we do because of the breadth of patients we see, who have everything from easy issues to address to very difficult, chronic issues to manage. On top of that, we see all ages, from beginning to end of life. And the reality is, that something innocuous like eating a banana is really not advisable for some people. If you have kidney malfunction, that may not be a food of choice for you. If you are taking an iron supplement, you have to take it with other vitamins, such as C, to increase absorption of iron in the stomach. There is a lot of nuance involved in what we do.

  • What are some of the challenges that face the field?

Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition and are incredibly skilled people. They must have a bachelor’s degree and 1,200 hours of supervised, post-graduate practice, and they also must pass a national exam and maintain credentials with 75 hours of continuing education every five years

Even with all of that, we still have a hard time being reimbursed by insurance for the work we do. Medicare only reimburses for some very specific disease states. Other insurances may cover up to four visits a year.

We’d also like to increase the diversity of our workforce. America’s first dietitian is considered to be Sarah Rorer, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1849 and educated herself in chemistry, anatomy and medicine and eventually, was consulted to prepare special meal plans for patients. The field continues to be dominated by women and we would like it to evolve to see more gender and ethnic diversity.

  • What would your recommendations be for people who want to improve their nutritional intake?

First, check your insurance to see if dietetic visits are covered. Dietitians can tailor and assess the total picture of your health using your individual lifestyle along with your lab results and any medications you might be taking to formulate a nutrition plan.

Secondly, some of the standbys still haven’t changed. If you do not have any medical issues that restrict your intake, drink plenty of fluids, eat moderate portions and enjoy lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. And keep in mind, too, that less isn’t always more. Don’t skip meals and starve yourself or you will undermine your efforts by either slowing down your metabolism or binge eating later.

Dorsey, who serves as president-elect of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and directs a dietetic internship at Tucson Medical Center, was also named as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2016 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Chief Nursing Officer, Marketing Manager go “Over the Edge” for the Girl Scouts

Four questions with TMC’s Chief Nursing Officer Mimi Coomler and Marketing Manager Tim Bentley on supporting the Girl Scouts by rappelling 17 stories from the 5151 E. Broadway Boulevard Office Tower on Saturday, March 24:

  1. What speaks to you about the Girl Scouts?

Coomler: The Girl Scouts is amazing at empowering young girls – and I support them so they can help more and more girls find their own center and their own power. My 7-year-old daughter is a Girl Scout so I’ve seen firsthand the great work they do.

Bentley:  I like their drive to instill confidence in girls at a young age. As a former high school coach for cross country and track, I truly believe that young people – especially girls – set themselves on a path to be successful by gaining confidence at a pivotal age.

2. Have you rappelled before?

Coomler: I haven’t, but I’m always up for an adventure!

Bentley: One time at a rock climbing gym. It was a 20-foot wall and all the young kids cheered me on when I did it. :/

3. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Coomler: I did the tango in front of 500 people to the tune of Sweet Caroline to raise money for the Diaper Bank. That was way out of my comfort zone.

Bentley: I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane years ago – with a parachute of course. I’m assuming the step off the building will be similar to the step out of the airplane. Although, I’m hoping my answer will be different this time –

Parachute Instructor: “Ready, GO!”

Me (looking down 5,000 feet): “You mean, right now??!?”

  • 4. What’s the most important lesson young girls should learn?

Coomler: Dream Big! When I was little, we said, “Girls can do anything they want to.” Now, it is more a reality than ever. Find your voice, find your dream and go for it.

Bentley:  It’s OK for girls to be smart, it’s OK for girls to be successful and it’s OK for girls to be recognized for their accomplishments. Don’t ever downplay them.  And as a track coach, it’s always OK for the girls to be faster than the boys. I always told the girls #BeFierce #BeStrong #BeBrave

Rather than directly sponsoring Tim or Mimi to go over the edge, we encourage donations to the Girl Scouts of TEAM G.I.R.L. who will also be going over the edge on Saturday to support their Girl Scout sisters here in Southern Arizona.

Tucson Medical Center director honored with HIMSS Book of the Year award

As a proud supporter of the Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson Medical Center is celebrating one of its very own literary talents!

Focused on leadership and management in health care and health information technology, Leading Healthcare IT: Managing to Succeed, by Susan Snedaker, MBA, CISM, CPHIMS, CHCIO, this week received the 2018 HIMSS Book of the Year Award.

The book presents a practical guide for developing passionate, engaged and competent leaders to meet the demands of today’s health care IT environment.

Snedaker is an accomplished IT executive and author. She is the director of Infrastructure and Operations and information security officer for Tucson Medical Center, where she oversees IT infrastructure and clinical engineering. Snedaker’s team developed and deployed innovative technology solutions to meet the evolving needs of the organization. Her approach to cross-team collaboration, clinical engagement and technical innovation has created an IT environment that delivers exceptional results. TMC is a HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 hospital and has ranked as a Most Wired hospital every year since 2012.

“I’m extremely pleased to receive the HIMSS Book of the Year Award,” Snedaker said. “This book represents an amalgamation of what I’ve learned through both education and experience, as well as what I’ve gleaned from working with peers, colleagues and mentors.

“I wanted to create an approachable, user-friendly book – with clear, concise and actionable information – that could accelerate leadership development specifically for healthcare IT. To have this book selected as HIMSS Book of the Year is a great honor.”

Gus Venditto, vice president, content development, HIMSS Media said, “Susan Snedaker’s ‘Leading Healthcare IT: Managing to Succeed’ provides a concise roadmap for professionals who manage, direct or oversee healthcare information and technology. Her insights provide a valuable perspective for readers, and we congratulate her for this significant milestone as an author.”

TMC nurse helped make wedding dream come true for one couple

Malloree Ingalls (2)It only takes a quick chat with TMC Cardiac Unit nurse Malloree Ingalls to understand why she was drawn to a career in nursing. Her upbeat smile and approachable attitude put her patients at ease during what is often the most stressful time in their lives.

One such patient was just days away from open heart surgery when his fiancée of 12 years told him that she would like to stop waiting and just get married, to her delight, he said yes. “She was worried about upsetting family and friends by not having a big thing. I told her, “Don’t worry about them, this is for you,” Ingalls recalled.

Cutting the cake at hospital wedding

When the couple asked cardiothoracic surgeon Kushagra Katariya, M.D., how many times he had performed this particular surgery, the patient’s fiancé recalled with a laugh, “He said five times … this week.”

With that reassurance and the surgery in a few short days, Ingalls and the team from the Cardiac Unit sprang into action. “She told me that she heard that you can get married in a hospital, so I started making some calls,” said Ingalls.

With two rings purchased at the TMC Gift Shop, calls were made to arrange for a cake, refreshments from Food and Nutrition Services, a notary and TMC Chaplain Mary Klaehn.

With that, a wedding came together.

 

The bride nominated Ingalls for a DAISY Award, an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses every day. In her nomination, the bride said of Ingalls, “Words can never explain my utter love and gratitude towards her and her beautiful soul…Having her as our nurse was the best thing that happened to us, in our most troubling time.”

hospital wedding rings

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.

Nominate an extraordinary nurse for the DAISY award

Flu season procedures in effect to protect patients, visitors, staff

when to come to the ed with flu and when to stay awayWith Arizona currently experiencing a nearly 800 percent increase in flu cases over last year, Tucson Medical Center has implemented new visitation procedures to reduce the spread of the flu and better protect patients, families and staff.

  • Children can be highly susceptible to flu and those under the age of 13 may not enter patient care areas, although nursing staff will consider extenuating circumstances. Parents are asked to provide supervision while children are in other areas of the hospital, including public waiting lobbies and the cafeteria or coffee shops.
  • Please do not visit patients if you have flu symptoms yourself, including fever, cough, vomiting or other ailments indicating a contagious illness.

Please remember to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently. Also, please keep your hands away from your face to reduce your risk of contracting the flu.

Support from family and friends is important in recovery. We thank you for your help in keeping your loved ones as healthy as possible during this severe flu season.

TMC receives recognition as top 100 hospitals, health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs

Neurosurgery-spine-programs-2017

Tucson Medical Center was pleased to be named to Becker’s Healthcare’s 2017 list of “100 hospitals and health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs.”

The list of organizations reflects those with extensive neuroscience and spine programs and that provide treatment and cutting edge research into neurosurgical disorders. The editorial team examined national and regional rankings and awards for neurosurgery, neurological care and spine surgery.

“The hospitals on this list have earned top honors for medical excellence in their spine and brain surgery departments and we are heartened to see that our hard work in achieving excellent outcomes for our patients has been recognized,” said Chief Medical Officer Rick Anderson.

Becker’s noted that TMC is a regional leader in spine surgery, with specialists performing about 1,000 spine operations per year. National organizations have taken notice of TMC’s neurological surgery program; CareChex ranked the hospital among the top 25 institutions in the country for neurological surgery in 2018. Stroke care is another focus for TMC’s neuroscience department, which boasts Tucson’s only comprehensive stroke center with 24/7 coverage.

Stroke prevention 2018

TMC also has earned comprehensive stroke certification from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program and received the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. TMC also has a robust brain tumor program, and the Center for Neurosciences worked with the hospital to develop the Brain Tumor Hotline for newly diagnosed patients.

To view the full list, please visit:

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/lists/100-hospitals-health-systems-with-great-neurosurgery-and-spine-programs-2017.html

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve got the flu: Is the Emergency Department for you?

when to come to the ed with flu and when to stay awayThe flu outbreak across the state is hitting much earlier – and far harder – than expected.*

If you’ve come down with influenza, how do you know when you should see your primary care provider or if you should go to the emergency room?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a flu guidance page on its website to help you determine whether you should head to the emergency room or your doctor. In short, the emergency room should only be used by those who are very sick and are exhibiting emergency warning signs, including:

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Looking for a same day appointment with a primary care provider? Check out TMCOne.

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

Some people are at much higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu than others.

They include:

  • pregnant women or new mothers who have given birth in the past two weeks
  • children, especially those under 2 years old
  • adults over 65
  • people whose body mass index is over 40
  • people with diabetes
  • anyone with a medical condition that compromises his or her immune system

“The important thing to do is to prevent the flu in the first place,” said Cynthia Carsten, interim director of TMC’s Emergency Department. “Wash your hands. Avoid close contact with people who have the flu and get a flu shot – and particularly if you are in a high risk group. If you’re sick, stay home if you can.”

*Arizona Department of Health Services Influenza Summary.

TMC welcomes Tucson’s first two babies of the New Year

Two families at Tucson Medical Center had a lot to celebrate when the clock struck midnight and the calendar turned to 2018.

Baby Nic Tribolet arrived at midnight on the dot, and Baby Aminah Albaka came into the world two minutes later.

Both babies came early, earning a place as Tucson’s newest residents.

“He’s a delight. He’s beautiful and he defies description,” said Nic’s dad, Dominic, of his 7 pound, 15 ounce bundle of perfection. “He’s definitely our New Year’s present.”

Aminah, meanwhile, a petite 5 pound, 10 ounce miracle, was described as a “peaceful baby” by mom Christina Bowe. After a long labor, Bowe said, “All my worries left when I saw her. She’s just a little blessing.”

For more coverage of the babies, check out the links to reports by the Arizona Daily Star and KVOA.

We offer free tours of our maternity departments. Find out more about our services here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Because medicine is not static: Meet Lacie – authentic obstetric simulator

obstetric simulator obgynTMC for Women is the lead provider for childbirth in Southern Arizona. Whether a mother is seeking a natural birth with no interventions or a high risk pregnancy that requires interventions and everything in between, the staff at TMC is constantly updating their knowledge to be prepared. Thanks to the support of the TMC Mega Raffle, a lifelike training simulator is giving techs, nurses and physicians realistic preparation to best address birthing complications and challenges.

During childbirth, serious health risks can arise suddenly and clinical staff must act quickly to protect mom and baby. “The better the training – the better the patient outcomes,” said Stacie Wood, clinical nurse educator at TMC for Women. “Our simulator is a bridge between classroom learning and real-life clinical experience.”

Just what is an advanced obstetric simulator and how real is it?

“The simulator is a wireless, robotic mannequin that can talk, breathe, blink, and respond,” said Wood.

The authentic simulator, which the TMC for Women staff named Lacie, is intended to be as human as possible – even her skin texture is strikingly realistic.

Yet, there is more to this mannequin than a realistic appearance. Lacie can give birth, react to medications, simulate bleeding and record metrics, such as the force of CPR compressions.

“We are able to train for all obstetrical scenarios and emergency care,” Wood explained. “Lacie offers unrivaled realism and versatility for clinicians to practice high-risk scenarios.”

TMC has taken full advantage of the unique training opportunities that Lacie offers. Lacie is housed in her own simulation suite, built to resemble TMC’s patient rooms. There is an adjacent control room with a one-way mirror, through which specially trained nurses operate Lacie using a laptop computer.

The control room also serves as a debrief room. Debriefing is the most important part of the training exercises. Participants are asked to reflect on their actions and discuss key learning points, which can then be applied to real-life situations.

Why is training with Lacie better than a standard training?

“Lacie is interactive and that makes the clinical participants more than observers,” said Wood. “The clinical staff engage the emotional and sensory components of learning that are beneficial for critical thinking, decision-making and delegation.”

TMC is the only hospital in Southern Arizona with the advanced simulator and one of very few hospitals to have the in-depth training available on campus. “Going forward, we will provide quarterly simulations using Lacie, because enhancing staff education and proficiency means enhancing patient care and safety.” Wood said.

 

 

TMC receives Dietetic internship accreditation

dietetic internship tucsonTucson Medical Center has been granted accreditation for a Dietetic Internship Program by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). TMC will accept four interns per year to complete the 1,200 hours of supervised practice in order to be eligible to take the exam necessary to become a Registered Dietitian.

“For this first year what we really wanted to do is give back to TMC, so we did an internal candidate selection. We wanted either an employee or a volunteer,” says Beth Dorsey, director of food and nutrition services. The interns starting Jan. 2 are Zoe Schroeder and Lance Kokot, both Food and Nutrition Services Associates. TMC will participate in the national match program for the next round of interns.

“You have to complete an accredited supervised practice internship in order to sit for the examination to become a registered dietitian. There aren’t enough internships in the United States and of those internships, there is only a 60 percent match rate,” said Dorsey.

To be eligible for the nine-month TMC internship program, candidates must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition with a Dietetics emphasis from an accredited institution.

“While precepting interns is a time commitment, it encourages us to stay up to date on the most current research and nutritional practice. All of our clinical dietitians are qualified to precept dietetic interns because they are credentialed through CDR and maintain a current registration,” said Dorsey. “We have precepted interns in the clinical portion at TMC for years for other organizations; we’ve just never had our own baby, we’re really excited.”

The full dietetic internship program includes community, clinical, research and food service. To build the program prior to applying for accreditation, Dorsey and Patient Food Services Manager, Ruth Halter, reached out to consultant Apameh Bashar, “Her expertise was essential to the creation of this program and we are so grateful for her,” said Halter. After guiding them through the development and application process, Bashar joined the TMCOne staff as a certified diabetes educator.

Dorsey says, “Ultimately, it’s good for the Tucson community. The reason that we did this is because the University of Arizona has so many graduates in nutrition, approximately 150 a year, and there are very few spots in Tucson to get an internship … maybe ten spots for all of the graduates. And if they don’t get an internship in Tucson that means that we lose them and we want to keep them in the community of Southern Arizona.”

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.

 

 

Five-part series helps inform transformation agenda for health care, business

TransformationReportHealth care industry leaders face incredible challenges in shifting from traditional, volume-driven fee-for-service to value-based care.

As a member of the national Health Care Transformation Task Force, an industry consortium, and as the hospital member of two accountable care organizations, Tucson Medical Center is at the forefront of innovative work to provide higher quality, more efficient health care.

“The Transformation to Value: A Leadership Guide” from the Health Care Transformation Task Force shares the collective experience and wisdom from organizations at the vanguard of value-based payment and care delivery.

The Health Care Transformation Task Force created the “The Transformation to Value: A Leadership Guide” to assist health care leaders as they design and implement their transition to value based delivery and payment. This series of captures the transformation journeys of individual organizations, including both successes and lessons learned, and allow decision makers to benchmark themselves against similar organizations that are actively moving toward value-based care.

“The Transformation to Value: A Leadership Guide” is one more reason we’re proud to be part of the Health Care Transformation Task Force,” said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC. “This new series offers proven advice to health care leaders as they design and implement their own transition to value based delivery and payment. This initiative reflects our and other task force members’ common commitment to facilitate transformation, both for members and others.

The Transformation to Value: A Leadership Guide” from the Health Care Transformation Task Force is practical freeware that can save organizations at any stage of the transformation journey countless hours, while avoiding the pitfalls uncovered by early adopters. Others are encouraged to use and share this work. http://bit.ly/2ylIwEK

TMC wraps up summer challenge asking employees for their best ideas

Tucson Medical Center five years ago embraced the Lean management process, which works to eliminate waste and tap the knowledge of employees to make steady improvement every day.

The Summer of Ideas challenged employees to channel their creativity and share their suggestions across the hospital.

More than 250 ideas were submitted since the July kickoff. Awards were given for the team and the individual with the most ideas, as well as the best “out of the park” idea.

Some of the ideas included a TMC-specific rideshare program, new software for clinicians and an app to help patients and visitors navigate the campus.

LeanAmyThree of the four finalists – and the winner of the category – for the most ambitious idea generators work in Unit 750, an adult medical unit. Unit clerk Amy Hill, who came to TMC six years ago, won a reserved parking space for a month.

“What I really appreciate about TMC is that there is an acknowledgment that those who are closest to the work often have the best solutions to improve a process,” Hill said. “I appreciate that whether it’s finding root causes of a problem or finding the where efficiencies are, we can all have some ownership of making things better.”

Janet Heckman, the manager of Unit 750, applauded the efforts of her staff. “Taking ideas from the front line staff who actually do the work is very important as I may not realize there is an issue,” Heckman said. “I also believe being heard is a huge employee satisfaction point as they feel empowered and heard.”

Ideas were logged on a Lean tool known as an “idea board.” There are 120 idea boards throughout TMC as well as at TMCOne locations and TMC Hospice.

It’s different from a suggestion box in that ideas – as well as any outcomes or solutions – are visible to the entire team, who can contribute to the idea as it matures, said Pat Ledin, the manager of Lean and quality efforts at TMC. “We hoped the Summer of Ideas would serve as a fun catalyst to continue driving engagement and we were really pleased with the participation across so many of our departments, from environmental services to information technology to clinical staff.”

lean ideas

Medical librarian Marni Dittmar, who picked up an extra day off as an award for her most “out of the park” idea, is an example of how the process worked. She not only came up with her idea for new clinical software, but then researched it to determine the benefits and feasibility.

Click here to see a short video about how idea boards are igniting creativity and empowering staff at TMC.

TMC receives prestigious national procurement recognition

procurement team

Tucson Medical Center was one of only 242 hospitals and health systems nationwide that were recognized for significant supply chain savings through efficiencies in procurement.

“As a community hospital, Tucson Medical Center knows the importance of efficiency in managing health care costs, even while never compromising on the ability to deliver high quality care,” said Kim Moon, TMC’s supply chain director.

The recognition is particularly special, Moon said, because of the 3,000 members participating in Vizient Inc’s group purchasing organizations, only 500 are even eligible for the award by participating in Vizient’s Impact Standardization Program, which helps drive down costs through group buys.

Only hospitals that earn at least $250,000 in rebates on an annual basis are eligible for an award. TMC, which has received this recognition annually since 2010, reduced its costs by achieving nearly $400,000 in rebates in 2016.

The program works through capturing rebates and reducing variation through standardization – which helps with bulk purchasing prices, but as an added benefit, improves inventory management and provides greater consistency across the hospital.

“This is not an easy bar to meet, which is why we’re so proud to receive this award,” Moon said. “Through thoughtful sourcing and standardization, we’re able to drive quality patient care, while getting the best value at the same time.”

The effort dovetails with TMC’s other work around building efficiencies throughout the hospital. The hospital introduced Lean management practices in 2013 to help root out waste and streamline processes. And TMC participates in two accountable care organizations that reward value – not volume – in health care.

“As a community hospital, TMC is responsible for the health of the people who live in this community, but we must also maintain the financial viability of our organization and keep healthcare costs under control,” said Steve Bush, TMC’s chief financial officer. “Leveraging our purchasing power is just one of the strategies we are using to do that.”

vizient award

 

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

 

Tucson Medical Center honored with five top Readers’ Choice awards

2017 Readers' Choice Win OutLNTucson Medical Center has been named “Best Hospital” in the Arizona Daily Star’s 2017 Readers’ choice awards.

TMC also was recognized for having the best women’s center, best emergency department, best pediatric emergency department and best surgical weight loss center.

“TMC has had the privilege of serving as this region’s nonprofit, locally governed community hospital for more than 70 years,” said Judy Rich, president and CEO. “This recognition is an honor – not only because it comes from the community, but because it recognizes the work that our staff and volunteers do every day to care for those who need us.”

The Readers’ Choice awards, which launched in 2015, give the Tucson community an opportunity to vote for their favorite organizations across a variety of categories, from restaurants to shopping and home service.

Click here to see the complete list of health care winners. Search “Readers’ Choice” for other categories.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

TMCOne opens specialty clinic on NW side, providing quality care and convenience

TMC One Med Group your health your team OLProviding high-quality care means recognizing all aspects that benefit patients and their families. Convenience matters, and TMCOne’s  new clinic will make quality medical care and treatment more convenient for northwest residents by including commonly needed follow-up services at one location.

TMCOne is opening a specialized clinic on 7510 N. Oracle just south of Magee road in northwest Tucson. The office will provide comprehensive and specialized care, as well as imaging, IV infusion and health management services.

Susan Vance 1“This unique clinic has been thoughtfully designed to meet varied medical needs in one place,” said TMCOne Executive Director Susan Vance. “From sports medicine and health counseling to imaging and same-day appointments, we’re taking the next step in care.”

Specialties that often converge such as wound care, chronic disease counseling and complex medication regimens can now be managed in one office rather than several clinics. On-site lab and x-ray services will also reduce multiple trips and appointments.

Borrás Carlos
Dr. Carlos A. Borrás has joined the provider team at the Oracle office. He specializes in both internal medicine and sports medicine, providing a needed perspective for injuries related to golf, swimming, tennis, and other sports.

Dr. Dawn Lemcke also joins the northwest office, brining more than 30 years of internal medicine experience – and a strong focus on communication with patients and families.

The office is conveniently located for Oro Valley, Marana and northwest Tucson residents. Same-day appointments and expanded hours further enhance accessibility.

Patients can visit www.TMCOne.com or call (520) 324-4910 to schedule an appointment or for further information.

 

 

 

 

Babies experiencing withdrawal receive specialized care

As they are weaned off drugs, these babies have very different needs from those not experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Those symptoms may include high-pitched cries, trouble sleeping, shaking, jitters, poor weight gain, irritation and stiff arms and legs. Thanks to a TMC nursing task force, TMC in April opened an annex just outside the intensive care unit, to provide these babies with a calming, quiet room featuring cycled lighting and fewer visitors to reduce overstimulation. Importantly, it also assigns specialized staff members who care just for these infants, who can be hard to console and who need significant time being swaddled and rocked to feel more secure.As hospitals nationwide see more babies born dependent on substances such as opioids, Tucson Medical Center has been rethinking how best to serve those littlest patients.

Tucson Medical Center’s newborn intensive care unit treated 27 babies in April. Of those, 11 were born addicted to drugs and diagnosed as having neonatal abstinence syndrome. The syndrome can also affect babies who were exposed in utero to alcohol and tobacco.

As they are weaned off drugs, these babies have very different needs from those not experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Those symptoms may include high-pitched cries, trouble sleeping, shaking, jitters, poor weight gain, irritation and stiff arms and legs.

Thanks to a TMC nursing task force, TMC in April opened an annex just outside the intensive care unit, to provide these babies with a calming, quiet room featuring cycled lighting and fewer visitors to reduce overstimulation. Importantly, it also assigns specialized staff members who care just for these infants, who can be hard to console and who need significant time being swaddled and rocked to feel more secure.

To expand care for these babies, volunteer coverage has doubled on shifts. “Nursing staff and volunteers alike are thrilled,” said Hope Thomas, director of volunteer services and community programs.

Because treatment can last for many weeks, and even months, the staff members also work to build a relationship with the parents to not only educate them about how best to help their baby through what may be a challenging first year, but to help connect them with counseling and treatment programs, as well as plan follow-up care meetings.

“This is really a new phenomenon that we’re seeing across the country, and we’re learning a lot about how to give these babies a stronger start in life,” said Pat Brown, manager of the newborn intensive care unit. “We are committed to caring for all children, and these are some of the most vulnerable as we work with our community to confront this growing problem.”

For volunteer opportunities in the NICU, visit www.tmcaz.com/volunteering

TMC for Children Supports Research Study to Gauge Success of More Frequent Pediatric Therapy

TMC for Children is supporting a study to help determine whether children diagnosed with cerebral palsy show more progress with a more intense and frequent burst of therapy delivered at young ages when the brain is rapidly developing.

Cerebral palsy, which is a disorder in which damage to the central nervous system results in motor dysfunction, is one of the most common pediatric developmental disorders in the U.S.

Under the study, funded by the TMC Foundation, 20 children with mild to moderately severe levels of spastic cerebral palsy between the ages of 18 to 36 months are being seen by TMC for Children’s pediatric occupational and physical therapists for five days a week for 12 weeks. The children would typically receive just one therapeutic session a week under most insurance plans.

Dr. Burris Duncan, a professor of public health and pediatrics who is leading the study, became intrigued by the question of intensity and frequency when he went to China more than a decade ago to participate in some maternal-child health clinics in rural China. While there, he found that the hospital in which he worked advised parents of very young children with cerebral palsy to put their child in the hospital for three months. The children received daily physical and occupational therapies, as well as acupuncture, deep massage and herb baths.

That isn’t practical to replicate here, he said, since parents and insurance companies would likely balk at three months of inpatient treatment. Read more at TMC for Children.


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