VIDEO: TMC hosts Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid Expansion Rally

Tucson Medical Center welcomed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Wednesday as she discussed what the Medicaid Restoration Plan means to Southern Arizona. 

This 3 1/2 minute video about the rally includes reaction from Tucson-area healthcare and business leaders, as well as community members.  Find out why Gov. Brewer’s plan to restore Medicaid is the right thing for Arizona at the right time.


Call or email your legislators.  Better yet, DO BOTH.  Let them know how important this issue is to you, your family and Arizona.  Ask your family and friends to do the same.  Time is short.  Now is when action matters!

Visit www.restoringarizona.com.

Rep. Ethan Orr supports Gov. Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan

Rep. Ethan Orr speaks at a Medicaid Expansion Rally at TMC.  He breaks down what’s at stake financially for the state of Arizona.

“The impact on our state budget will be hundreds of millions of dollars.  This decision could infuse billions into our state economy.  In fact, as the Governor mentioned, over the next four years, it will infuse $8 billion into our state and local economies.  Now that is a lot of money.” -Rep. Ethan Orr during today’s Medicaid Expansion Rally at TMC.

Call or email your legislators.  Better yet, DO BOTH.  Let them know how important this issue is to you, your family and Arizona.  Ask your family and friends to do the same.  Time is short.  Now is when action matters!

Visit www.restoringarizona.com.

Gov. Jan Brewer rallies at TMC to expand Medicaid

Tucson Medical Center welcomed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Wednesday as she discussed what the Medicaid Restoration Plan means to Southern Arizona.  The Governor was joined by Tucson-area healthcare and business leaders, along with community members.

“If the Legislature does nothing, more than 60,000 Arizonans now on AHCCCS will lose coverage – totally and instantly – at the end of the year.  That includes cancer patients in the middle of treatment, diabetics, heart patients and about 2,000 Arizonans with serious mental illness.  We cannot let this happen.  I know we won’t let it happen – not with the help of the local leaders standing with me today, and everyone in Pima County willing to raise their voice in support of this important effort.  We can get this accomplished together.”  -Governor Jan Brewer during today’s Medicaid Expansion Rally at TMC.

Call or email your legislators.  Better yet, DO BOTH.  Let them know how important this issue is to you, your family and Arizona.  Ask your family and friends to do the same.  Time is short.  Now is when action matters!

Visit www.restoringarizona.com.

The personal side to Medicaid expansion – what it would mean for a Southern Arizona man

At 36 years old, Jesus Cruz has the body of a 60 year old.  That’s what his doctors tell him. 

Jesus Cruz

Jesus Cruz

Cruz began dealing with debilitating health issues in his mid-20s. He was diagnosed with gout, a kind of arthritis that is caused by too much uric acid in the blood.  It causes an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness and swelling in a joint.  Without treatment, the painful attacks become more frequent and over time, they can cause serious, permanent harm to joints, tendons and other tissues. 

About a year and a half ago, Cruz was working as a security officer when the security company went out of business.  The timing couldn’t have been worse.  Suddenly he found himself unemployed and uninsured – when his health problems went from bad to worse.  The gout was so severe that he had to undergo surgery on both of his feet.

The operations left him crippled. 

Shortly after, he had to undergo two more surgeries – this time on each hand—and doctors had to amputate one of his fingers.  The therapy he’s currently receiving is helpful, but it’s the medication, the newest treatment on the market, that has been the most effective.  Luckily, it was provided to him for free for the first month as part of a program that helps provide care for those who are unemployed and uninsured.  But however helpful the medicine is, it is simply not something he can afford on his own.

“I need this medication to make me better, but since I am unable to work, I can’t afford it,” he said.  “It helps reduce the amount of uric acid in my blood.  My doctor says it will make me significantly better.  He anticipates that with this treatment, I will be able to work again in about a year.”

Cruz is one of thousands of Arizonans who would be covered if Arizona’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), is expanded under Governor Jan Brewer’s budget proposal.  The move would restore AHCCCS eligibility for approximately 240,000 adults, and expand AHCCCS to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.  Combined, the steps give an additional 300,000 low-income Arizonans AHCCCS coverage over the next four years.

Cruz is watching and waiting to see how the decision plays out in the State Legislature, knowing that what happens will make all the difference in whether he can continue to get the medicine he so desperately needs.  “I want to get healthy, get out of the hospital, and put my history of poor health behind me.  I want to get back to work,” he says.  “While I may not physically be able to be a security officer again, I will do whatever job I am able to do in order to support myself.”

If the Arizona Legislature passes the expansion plan, it would take effect in January 2014.

Please click here to learn how we got to the new plan for restoring and expanding AHCCCS.

Please click here to contact your legislators and tell them that you support the AHCCCS expansion.

Contact your legislature if you support Medicaid expansion

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, R, calls for the expansion of Medicaid, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2013 in Phoenix with healthcare and business leaders at Maricopa Medical Center. An expansion would call for $8 billion in federal assistance for the State over three years. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, R, calls for the expansion of Medicaid, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2013 in Phoenix with healthcare and business leaders at Maricopa Medical Center. An expansion would call for $8 billion in federal assistance for the State over three years. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Due to the continued struggles of many Arizonans, Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed the expansion of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act.

Since the state government froze the eligibility of the childless adult population in July 2011, nearly 141,000 people have been dropped from state health insurance. Coupled with the economic downturn of the last several years, Arizona’s health care system has suffered significantly. For TMC, as well as hospitals across Arizona, uncompensated hospital care has risen by 81 percent since the freeze and shows no signs of slowing.

The restoration of the childless adult population and the additional expansion would provide 240,000 Arizonans with health insurance.

While Gov. Brewer has included the expansion in her budget, it is still necessary for the  state legislature to approve it. If you support the expansion, please contact your legislators. They must hear from the healthcare community and others impacted by the decision to expand.

Please click here to contact your legislators and tell them that you support the AHCCCS expansion as the most financially viable way to lift the enrollment freeze on Prop. 204. Expansion will allow low-income Arizonans to access care at the right time in the right setting. This will reduce overall per patient healthcare costs and improve the quality of life for patients suffering from debilitating illnesses and injuries. With the right care and treatment, many of these patients will be able to maintain employment or return to the workforce, thus strengthening our economy and greatly improving individual lives.

Hospitals Collaborate to Assess Community Needs

What are Tucson’s greatest health care needs?

To identify the answers to that question, Tucson Medical Center, Carondelet Health Network and The University of Arizona Health Network have worked together this year to create a Pima County Community Health Needs Assessment.  The results are jointly published for everyone to see as of Friday, Aug. 17.

The study identified the top health concern for Tucson as access to care – specifically, lack of insurance coverage, cuts in AHCCCS funding, limited coverage for behavioral health and lack of access to medications and funding for primary care.

Briefly the key areas that require our focus and collaboration as a community include:

  • overcoming barriers that inhibit access to care
  • providing more mental and behavioral health services
  • increasing education and activities to reduce obesity and diabetes
  • addressing shortages in primary care providers

Many other factors, including poverty, offer ample room for improvement in the county’s overall health status.  More information on the report is posted online at https://www.tmcaz.com/TMCHealthcare/CHNA

This type of collaboration is essential in identifying the critical needs of our community and developing coordinated plans to address them. The Community Health Needs Assessment was completed as a joint effort among the three local hospitals, and now each organization will complete its own community benefit report and adopt separate implementation strategies to address those needs.  The three hospital systems also will work on a common issue that they can address together.

TMC HealthCare has issued its own Report to the Community each year describing TMC’s mission to meet community needs. Review the latest version at https://www.tmcaz.com/TMCHealthcare/Report_to_our_Community

TMC helps, reminds people to re-enroll in AHCCCS

KGUN-9 TV reports that TMC helps, reminds people to re-enroll in AHCCCS:

More than a 100,000 Arizonans are expected to lose their Medicaid coverage this year, after lawmakers to implemented an enrollment freeze on the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state’s Medicaid program, to help balance the budget.

Childless adults who are below the poverty level and currently on AHCCCS may renew their coverage, but the state will not accept new applications or provide coverage for those who forget to reenroll.

Tucson Medical Center (TMC) is hoping to stem the tide of people allowing a lapse in coverage with a workshop, by reminding them to reapply and providing experts to guide them through the often confusing process.

TMC  hosts another workshop to help guide people through the redetermination paperwork, Saturday, Aug. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pima Conference near the TMC Southeast Entrance. No appointment is needed.

Workshops to help with AHCCCS renewals Aug. 13, 27

The State of Arizona is starting to send letters to AHCCCS patients, especially childless adults, asking them to complete paperwork to continue their coverage. With recent changes to AHCCCS, people who don’t renew may be prevented from later re-entering the state’s Medicaid program unless they qualify in a different category. Tucson Medical Center will provide staff experts for two informal Saturday workshops to help people complete their AHCCCS redetermination paperwork, on Aug. 13 and Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Pima Conference Room (near TMC Southeast Entrance). Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.


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