Arizona Daily Star readers name TMC Best Emergency Department

ContentImageHandler“You could be my mother.”

“You could be my grandfather.”

“You could be my child.”

These are some of the signs posted above patient room doors inside TMC’s Emergency Department. They’re subtle reminders that at TMC, we treat all patients like family.

TMC recently received the Best Emergency Department Reader’s Choice award by the Arizona Daily Star.

We were also named Best Hospital, Best Birthing Center and Best Surgical Weight Loss Center.

TMC’s Emergency Department has worked to streamline quite a bit over the past year. Using a “lean” philosophy to improve processes, a group of specially trained employees work with staff to identify ways to do things better. The goal is to remove any waste and add value to what patients experience day-to-day. Members of TMC’s Lean Team ask patients – what is valuable to you? They also ask front-line staff about issues that can be improved.

The Emergency Department was one of the first assignments.

One of the most noticeable improvements patients see: Gone is the glass window at check-in. A registered nurse welcomes all patients and triages them to the appropriate area. As part of TMC’s improved medical screening exam process, having a health care provider in triage allows for a quick connection with the patient directly. They’re able to order the appropriate diagnostic tests to help cut down on the total amount of time the patient has to stay in the department. Additionally, there is a dedicated provider in each pod who collaborates closely with the nurse to create an individualized plan of care for each patient.

Melissa Ritchey - Copy

Melissa Ritchey, TMC Emergency Department director 

“We know that after you’ve been treated in the Emergency Department, the last thing you want to do is have to wait to go home,” said Melissa Ritchey, department director. “TMC’s Emergency Department has dedicated nurses who focus on discharging patients in a timely manner.”

TMC also has a dedicated pediatric emergency department that is in a separate location away from the adult emergency department, which children may find scary and intimidating. TMC is considered an advanced center for pediatric emergency medicine. Specialized staff and providers care for pint-sized patients.

TMC’s highly skilled Emergency Department staff strive to make every patient’s experience a pleasant and efficient one. Did you know that TMC is considered a Center of Excellence for stroke? Additionally, TMC received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll. These designations recognize commitment and success in implementing stroke care that meets strict criteria.We earned these distinctions following an extensive and objective review of our programs. TMC is also a base hospital for rural emergency medical service agencies, which receive annual training and support from TMC Emergency Department staff.

“In our Emergency Department, we are constantly trying to improve how we do things,” said Ritchey. “We listen to feedback and make appropriate changes. This Readers’ Choice award is an indication that Southern Arizona residents have noticed. We appreciate being the hospital you turn to during a health crisis, no matter how big or small. We are mindful that coming to the Emergency Department can be frightening for some patients. We strive for compassionate, efficient care with every single patient. We are Tucson. And we are there for you in an emergency.”

Having a baby? TMC’s Labor & Delivery receives top honors by Arizona Daily Star readers

BDP35955TMC’s Labor & Delivery was named Best Birthing Center by a recent poll of Arizona Daily Star readers. Readers’ Choice awards also went to TMC for Best Hospital, Best Surgical Weight Loss and Best Emergency Department.

More than 5,000 babies are born at TMC every year. In fact, physicians at TMC delivered 5,527 babies in 2014. With all private rooms, laboring mothers can enjoy walking around the unit while using telemetry fetal monitoring.

Expectant moms know that they and their newborns are in good hands, around the clock. Labor & Delivery has dedicated perinatologists, neonatologists and anesthesiologists who are in house 24-hours a day as well as a level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit that provides advanced care for premature, low birth-weight and critically ill infants.

TMC is also the only hospital in Southern Arizona to participate in the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program, giving expectant parents the option to publicly donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood. Donated cord blood that meets a certain set of criteria will be included on the Be The Match national registry where it could save the life of someone with a life-threatening disease who needs a stem cell transplant.

TMC promotes the “Golden Hour” – an hour of skin-to-skin contact with mom and baby for the first hour after birth – as well as 24-hour rooming so that baby never leaves mom’s room unless medically necessary.

Inpatient lactation services are also available seven days a week to help new moms get the hang of breastfeeding. Seven registered nurses who are international board-certified lactation consultants are dedicated to helping women breastfeed their newborns. But the support TMC offers doesn’t stop when baby goes home. Outpatient lactation services are available seven days a week for moms who need extra breastfeeding support, regardless of where they delivered. TMC’s many childbirth classes are noted as the best in the community and are also available to all women, again – regardless of where they will deliver.

Getting babies home safely is also a priority. TMC has had a car seat program for more than 30 years. This includes a car seat loaner program, a special needs car seat program, Children Are Priceless Passengers (C.A.P.P.) in which parents receive education and an appropriate seat for their child for only $35 as well as Boost Your Booty, which offers free booster seats for children over age 5 who weigh more than 40 pounds.

For more information about TMC’s Maternity Services, please click here.

Thank you, Tucson, for trusting us with your growing family.

Arizona Daily Star readers name TMC Best Hospital

The Arizona Daily Star recently released its 2015 Readers’ Choice Winners. Tucson residents voted on their favorites in more than 200 categories including shopping, dining and health care.

We are proud to announce that TMC was well represented!

We were named best hospital, best birthing center, best emergency department and best surgical weight loss center. We’ll touch on what makes TMC unique in each of these categories in the coming months but to start, we want to focus on being recognized as best hospital.

Karen Mlawsky TMC Senior Vice President Chief Operations Officer

Karen Mlawsky
TMC Senior Vice President
Chief Operations Officer

“First and foremost, thank you, Tucson, for allowing us to take care of you and your family when perhaps you need it most,” said Karen Mlawsky, TMC senior vice president and chief operations officer. “We know you have many choices when it comes to where you go for medical care. The trust that we have earned from Southern Arizonans is something we cherish and we will work hard to keep it. It is an absolute privilege to care for patients who have immense confidence in us. Patients who write letters or come back to thank our staff in person for their quick, compassionate care is always inspiring.”

TMC has been Tucson’s nonprofit community hospital for 70 years. Our commitment to helping those inside the hospital is just as strong as our dedication to those outside of the hospital. For example, in 2014, we handed out 2,700 booster seats, 1,080 car seats, 7,000 bike helmets and 1,200 swim lessons to deserving families, along with one-on-one education.

TMC is the head of the Southern Arizona Hospital Alliance, helping independent, nonprofit community hospitals in Benson, Bisbee, Safford and Willcox stay that way – independent! The alliance exists to enhance the strengths of these hospitals, help them better serve their patients and thrive financially.

Our inclusion in the Mayo Clinic Care Network is another example of how we are going above and beyond for our patients. Doctors and surgeons who practice at TMC now have access to Mayo Clinic knowledge and expertise to give their patients additional peace of mind when making health care decisions while continuing to care for them close to home.

We are recognized as one of the Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals in the country by Truven Health Analytics for having higher inpatient survival rates, fewer complications, lower readmissions, shorter lengths of stay and lower costs per patient. TMC’s Orthopaedic Center was also recently recognized as one of the best hospitals for 2015-16 in knee replacement by U.S. News & World Report.

We are constantly working to improve and streamline patient education materials so that patients and their families know what to expect from the time they walk through our doors for a procedure or surgery, to the moment they leave to go home. From the tiniest patients in our newborn intensive care unit to those who are at the end of their lives and receiving comfort care in Hospice, TMC is there for you during all stages of life.

But perhaps where we really shine is the way our staff treats those who come to TMC. Whether it’s a patient who is fearful as they undergo a procedure, a family member who is looking for the cafeteria or a visitor who needs a shuttle ride to their car, our staff is 3,000 strong and trained to help and practice our values of dedication, community, integrity and compassion – every single day.


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