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.


San Diego Zoo Kids channel begins broadcasting at TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities

San Diego Zoo Kids Debra EricksonYoung patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors—including a fennec fox, a ferret, a blue-tongued skink and a snake from Reid Park Zoo—at a gathering at Tucson Medical Center this morning.

The special event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television channel, at TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative television channel with programs produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families.

The creation and development of the channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

In 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded San Diego Zoo Global an outstanding Museums for America Grant to bring San Diego Zoo Kids to 75 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald House Charities across the nation over the next three years.

San Diego Zoo Kids FoxThe generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on television monitors in every patient room at Tucson Medical Center and in the children’s play area at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational.

“TMC is thrilled to partner with the San Diego Zoo to bring to our patients a little more of what’s magical and wonderful in the world at a time when they’re not feeling their best,” said Judy Rich, TMC president and CEO.

From TMC’s long-standing support of Reid Park Zoo to its robust pet therapy program, Rich noted that the educational and entertaining channel builds on the work TMC is already doing. “This effort helps us in supporting families, offering a child-friendly environment and fostering an appreciation of the healing qualities of animals and nature.”

The channel also features animal stories from Reid Park Zoo. “We are excited to be collaborating with San Diego Zoo Global, TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities to share our passion for animal conservation and education,” said Nancy Kluge, president, Reid Park Zoological Society. “We hope this glimpse into the lives of the animals at Reid Park Zoo will bring excitement and joy into the lives of those in our community who might not be able to visit the Zoo.”

The service is also making its debut at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Frenetic Fox“We are so pleased to partner with the San Diego Zoo, Tucson Medical Center and Reid Park Zoo on this entertaining and educational program,” said Kate Jensen, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

“One of our goals is to create a sense of normalcy for children and families, even while they are going through very difficult times,” said Jensen. “The San Diego Zoo Kids channel has become a very popular diversion. It is so well produced, educational and entertaining. We are grateful for this wonderful contribution from the San Diego Zoo.”

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz and San Diego Zoo Kids host Olivia Degn.

Viewers can see best-of videos from the San Diego Zoo’s famous Panda Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos across the world.

San Diego Zoo Kids Judy Rich“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications, San Diego Zoo Global. “Parents and caregivers share that the channel, which has no commercials or inappropriate content, not only calms children but makes them happy.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 137 children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, pediatric wards and children’s hospice centers across the U.S., in 33 states and the District of Columbia; and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Singapore.

For further information about San Diego Zoo Kids, visit their website. And don’t forget to have a peek at all the fun happening locally at the Reid Park Zoo.

For more information about the Ronald McDonald House visit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona website or call (520) 326-0060.

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.

U.S. News & World Report Names the TMC Orthopaedic Center Among Best in Knee Replacement

Ortho_logoCMYKTucson Medical Center has been recognized as one of the best hospitals for 2015-16 in knee replacement by U.S. News & World Report. The annual U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, now in their 26th year, recognize hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

“The TMC Orthopaedic Center and our partners at the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute are proud to announce this important recognition of our world-class orthopaedics program,” said Judy Rich, president and chief executive officer, Tucson Medical Center. “We take pride in our busy joint replacement program, which is staffed by a care team that is best in class. This designation validates that expertise.”

TOI_Spine_Center_sqThe TMC Orthopaedic Center is a word-class facility dedicated to the needs of the orthopaedic patient and designed with the full continuum of care in mind. The four-story Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower includes 10 state-of-the-art orthopaedic operating rooms that can accommodate both inpatient and outpatient surgeries, and a dedicated 40-bed orthopaedic unit with all private rooms.

“Tucson Orthopaedic Institute collaborates with TMC on clinical and quality initiatives. That commitment has resulted in measurably better care and outcomes for our patients; and they are able to experience an improved quality of life from the orthopaedic care received here,” said Lawrence Housman, M.D., president, Tucson Othopaedic Institute.

high-performing-indicator-kneeFor 2015-16, U.S. News evaluated hospitals in 16 adult specialties and ranked the top 50 in most of the specialties. Less than 3 percent of the nearly 5,000 hospitals that were analyzed for Best Hospitals 2015-16 were nationally ranked in even one specialty.

“A Best Hospital has demonstrated expertise in treating the most challenging patients,” said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “A hospital that emerged from our analysis as one of the best has much to be proud of.”

In rankings by state and metro area, U.S. News recognized hospitals that perform nearly at the level of their nationally ranked peers in one or more specialties, as well as hospitals that excel in multiple common procedures and conditions.

U.S. News publishes Best Hospitals to help guide patients who need a high level of care because they face a particularly difficult surgery, a challenging condition or extra risk because of age or multiple health problems. Objective measures such as patient survival and safety data, adequacy of nurse staffing and other data largely determined the rankings in most specialties.

The specialty rankings and data were produced for U.S. News by RTI International, a leading research organization based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. U.S. News used the same data, as well as the new Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings, first published in May, to produce the state and metro rankings.

The rankings are freely available at and will appear in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2016” guidebook, available in August from the U.S. News Store.

Judy Rich named one of top female hospital leaders in the country

TMC President and CEO, Judy Rich

TMC President and CEO, Judy Rich

TMC President and CEO Judy Rich has been named one of 130 Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know  for 2013 by Becker’s Hospital Review, a monthly publication offering up-to-date business and legal news and analysis relating to hospitals and health systems. 

The Becker’s editorial team says the women featured in this list have demonstrated a proven ability to lead their respective organizations in the midst of health care’s challenging environment.  They have demonstrated considerable skill and promise despite times of uncertainty and unprecedented change in the industry and therefore should be watched now as well as in years to come. 

These hospital and health system leaders were selected because of a number of factors, including awards they have won and hospital or health system performance. The team also reviewed previous Becker’s Hospital Review lists.

Hospital and health system leaders do not pay and cannot pay to be included on this list. 

Please click here to view the complete list.

beckers 2

TMC and Ventana Medical Systems celebrate continuous extraordinary advancements to TMC’s laboratory

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

TMC celebrated its state-of-the-art laboratory during a formal ribbon cutting ceremony.  TMC upgraded its laboratory in a collaboration with Ventana Medical Systems, a global leader in tissue diagnostics.  Key leadership from TMC and Ventana Medical Systems were in attendance, including TMC President and CEO Judy Rich, and Ventana President and CEO Mara Aspinall.  The event marked the significant enhancement and continuing collaboration between both organizations.  In the lab, multiple state-of-the-art technologies were connected to create the best patient results.

“This collaboration with Ventana is critical to ensuring our patients receive world class accuracy and precision from TMC’s highly efficient laboratory,” said Rich.  “This equipment is key to enhancing patient safety and improving quality.  It also helps position the hospital for growth while providing exceptional and reliable service to our community.  At TMC, we focus on delivering the best diagnostic result for every patient we serve, and this is a giant leap forward.”

The new equipment, which includes four instruments and the accompanying software, allows the hospital to perform more in-house tests.  This reduces the need for outside laboratories that could add to turnaround time.  The automation also allows for stronger management of patient identification through the process.  This reduces the opportunity for misdiagnosis and mislabeling.  Since the technologist or one pathologist works with one patient at a time through the entire process, there is greater continuity of care.

“The ribbon cutting was a great success,” said John Allen, TMC’s Director of Laboratory Services.  “Our leaders from both TMC and Ventana were gracious, and the strength of our confidence in each other across these two corporations was palpable.  We are two organizations with a vision of the future of pathology, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and a commitment to our community that is unified, thoughtful and creative.  I am proud to be a part of this partnership and am excited to see what we can do next.”

Progress report: TMC executives applaud employee’s literacy efforts

Eli Hawley TMC Laundry Equipment Operator

Eli Hawley
TMC Laundry Equipment Operator

There is no stopping Eli Hawley.

The TMC Laundry Equipment Operator will read to anyone, anywhere, at any time. 

Case in point:  Hawley was recently in Pediatrics when a mother vented to him that her young daughter was acting up.  She had tried everything to calm her down, and nothing was working.  Hawley asked, “Can I go read to her?”  “Go ahead and try it.  We’ll see what happens,” she said.  Eli popped his head in the door.  “Do you want me to read you a story?”  The tyke said yes.  She sat there with her mom as Eli read to them.  A few minutes later, he came back to check on how she was doing.  Her mom said, “She finally calmed down and went to sleep.”

When Hawley told that story to a group of TMC executives who had gathered to hear him read, there was a collective sigh.  We shared Hawley’s story in April a few months after he started a program called Literacy Connects, which is run through Literacy Volunteers of Tucson

Hawley with the group who listened to him read

Hawley with his granddaughters, the TMC executives, and their assistants who listened to him read

Now that he’s about six months into the program, he wanted to give the TMC executives who encouraged him to enter the program a little update about the progress he’s making.  Busy executives, including TMC President and CEO Judy Rich, stopped what they were doing on a Monday morning and poured into a conference room just to sit and listen to a fellow employee who has accomplished so much.

Hawley read two stories like a pro.  “I’ve never seen someone so happy to read,” said Rich.  Hawley replied, “I’ve worked at TMC for 19 years, and all that time, I couldn’t read a lick.  Now that I can, I look at the world differently.  If it wasn’t for TMC, I would have never gone back to school.  I love working here, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

TMC President and CEO Judy Rich presented Hawley with two new books

TMC President and CEO Judy Rich
presented Hawley with two new books

Rich presented Hawley with two classic Dr. Seuss books, Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.  “I could probably recite these books by heart because I’ve read them so many times,” she said.  “These are wonderful books because they have small words in them and lots of repetition.” 

Hawley can hardly wait to dig into them – motivated to continue working hard, and determined to keep improving.  He says in a few months, he’ll be back in front of the same group – only this time, with books that are even more challenging.

Report to Our Community event highlights TMC’s new Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower

report5Tucson Medical Center hosted this year’s Report to Our Community event, which provides an overview of the annual report to community leaders, public officials and the media, detailing the many community benefit programs TMC has spearheaded in the prior year.

This year’s event was special, as it was held in the lobby of the soon to be open, Tucson Medical Center Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower.

It was only appropriate to host the release of the Report to Our Community in the tower, as the tower is part of a strategic investment in the future of TMC and its ability to continue providing quality health care to the community.

Community tours of the four story building kicked off the event providing a first look at the new medical offices, clinics, private patient rooms and state-of-the-art surgical suites.

The tower is on schedule to open May 6 and will be the only orthopaedic and surgical facility of its kind in Southern Arizona.

“This building really speaks for itself, demonstrating the solid foundation and stability of Tucson Medical Center,” said TMC Board of Trustee Chairwoman, Louise Francesconi.

Francesconi joined TMC President and CEO Judy Rich during the Report to Our Community to discuss how TMC has strategically positioned itself to service the health care needs of the community for years to come.

“Charity care is part of what we do as a community hospital. We take care of everyone who comes to us for care,” said Rich.

In 2012, TMC recorded $48 million of community benefit costs, of which a large portion is charity care. On a net operating revenue of $448 million, TMC’s community benefit was 10.8%, well over the 5% average expected to maintain non-profit status.

And the majority of this uncompensated care, which refers to charity care and bad debt, is a result of the thousands of people who were dropped from AHCCCS in 2011.

“Medicaid restoration, for us is critical. So we’re going to be watching closely to see what happens with that,” explained Rich.

TMC’s stable leadership has been able to withstand the challenges of current legislation changes and tough economic environment, while establishing a framework to ensure the vitality of the hospital.

Over the last 5 years, TMC has invested $200 million dollars building the Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower, renovating hospital units, and adopting Electronic Medical Records (EMR) as standard practice, to name a few.

“We know that our roots grow very deep into this community and every decision we make is made on behalf of being here in the future. We’re very well positioned with the technology we need, resources we need, and the facilities we need,” said Rich.

Francesconi added that the investment TMC is making extends across a broad spectrum that begins and continues through TMC’s employees and the health benefits that are necessary for the hospital to provide to the community.

Becoming an Accountable Care Organization and establishing Arizona Connected Care is one of the major ways in which TMC can improve care management, developing special measures to discharge patients with all of the information they need keeping hospital readmission rates low.

“It’s extremely important to us, as a hospital, that we keep people out of here and at home and healthy,” said Rich.

TMC has also taken notice and became involved in the Canyon Ranch Institute’s Life Enrichment Program. This program was originally developed to help people who don’t have the financial resources to go the Canyon Ranch Institute and be immersed in a curriculum promoting healthy lifestyle choices.

“We’ve training 11 of our own TMC staff to become mentors and coaches in this program, and selected our first group of patients in the community – patients who would not have otherwise had the opportunity to experience such a program,” said Rich.

She went on to share an expression she’s coined, ‘nothing to me without me.’

“This means that we are here to serve people who have something to say about how we do that. We recognize that as a patient you have something to say about how we take care of you, what your needs are, and what the most important thing to you is. Our patients have a lot to add in how we provide care.”

The Patient Family Advisory Council is in place to support the very thing that Judy’s phrase addresses. This committee gathers information from families of patients and TMC professionals, and provides solutions so that the hospital cares for patients in a different more focused way.

The event wound down with a few questions from attendees and announcements that select tours of the orthopeadic tower and surgical tower would be offered immediately after the talk.

Francesconi and Rich offered a few closing remarks.

“The leadership and Board are confident in the partnerships and programs that TMC is engaging in, and that they truly are in the best interest of our patients and the people in our community,” said Rich.

Literacy Connects helps TMC employees reach their full potential

Eli Hawley and his granddaughter Natalie Sigala

Eli Hawley and his granddaughter Natalie Sigala

“Tata, can you read this book to me?”

When 5-year-old Natalie Sigala asked her grandpa, Eli Hawley, this question, his heart sank. “No,” he said.

That’s all it took.

Hawley has been a Laundry Equipment Operator at TMC since 1994, but has been unable to read his entire life. The disappointment of having to refuse Natalie’s request propelled him to do something about his inability to read. He admits that, at first, he was mortified to reach out to anyone. Perseverance ultimately took over. “I knew I needed help. I was determined to get help one way or another. I got it – thanks to TMC,” he said.

Hawley entered a program called Literacy Connects, which is run through Literacy Volunteers of Tucson.

TMC has teamed up with the non-profit to encourage adult literacy among employees. The programs are free for adults who would like assistance with learning English, or improving English skills including speaking, reading, writing and basic math. They offer small or large group classes, tutoring and resource centers with on-site assistance.

“When I first went to school, I couldn’t read anything. Now that I’m back in school, I’m reading. It’s not at the level I want to be, but I’m getting there,” he said. “It’s helped me on the job, and it’s helped me at home. I couldn’t ask for a better place to work.”

TMC President and CEO Judy Rich said she is impressed with the courage Hawley showed. “To speak up and say ‘I need help’ is very brave,” she said. “Eli has sent me some of his papers. He gets all A’s. One of these days, he’s going to read a book to me too.”

“I’m not scared anymore, and I’m not embarrassed – because I’m doing something about it. I’ve already read five books,” he beams. “From now on, when my granddaughter says, ‘Tata, can you read this book to me?’ I can proudly say ‘yes.'”

New program helps domestic violence survivors find stable housing

emergeTucson Medical Center CEO Judy Rich serves on the board for Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, and is excited to share that Emerge! has launched a new Housing First program – three months ahead of schedule.  The program will help domestic violence survivors find housing, a big step in achieving stability in their lives, but a step that is difficult for many who lack financial resources or support.

A recent story by KVOA News 4 Tucson about the program has generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm about the project.

“Emerge! strives to stay ahead of the curve, and focuses on looking into the future to identify potential trends.  This will allow us to research, plan and develop programs,” Emerge! CEO Sarah Jones said.  “As it turns out, we are one of a few places in the state doing rapid re-housing.  This includes service providers for the homeless.  This is resulting in some additional funding for Emerge!” 

The program recently accepted $96,000 from the City of Tucson.  “They had some one-time money for housing first and we are the only agency (outside of the Red Cross) with a full program up and running eligible in the city,” said Jones.  Emerge! has a year and a half to spend it. 

For more information on Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, please click here.

TMC’s Live Well recognized with “Process and Leadership” award

Last week, an award for Process and Leadership in Worksite Healthcare Promotion was presented to Judy Rich. The award was issued by the Wellness Council of Arizona and the National Partnership for Wellness in recognition for the work done this year with TMC’s new Live Well initiative.

Last spring, the leadership at Tucson Medical Center noted that chronic diseases make up a disproportionate amount of money that the hospital spends on employee health care.

So Rich issued a challenge. If employees could cut their health-care costs by a half million dollars, TMC would get an employee gym.

To support the employees in this endeavor, the TMC Live Well initiative began rolling out. The initiative, a robust program that is headed by a committee comprised on staff members across the hospital, supports employees in living a healthier lifestyle through various fitness activities, programs and incentives.  To date, employees can earn rewards for exercising, qualify for a 2012 health allowance and obtain free personal health coaching sessions for joining a 12-week fitness challenge.

The initiative has been very successful in a short amount of time. Employees have already cut health care costs by the half million dollars, and over 200 employees are currently participating in the pilot fitness challenge.

“Earning this award shows TMC’s long-time commitment to employee wellness as well as highlights recent initiatives to integrate wellness until TMC’s culture and benefits. This recognition would not be possible without the commitment from Executive Leadership and management. We are fortunate to work at a place that cares about our well-being,” says Senoir Benefits Analyst Andrea Lightfoot.


Judy Rich Named the 2012 Healthcare Leader by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) today presented Judy Rich, president and CEO of TMC HealthCare, with the Association’s 2012 HOPE (Honoring Our Professionals for Excellence) Healthcare Leader Award.

Selected by AzHHA’s HOPE Awards Committee, Ms. Rich is an exceptional president and CEO with an impressive record of giving back to the community and motivating others to do the same. She has led the creation of Arizona Connected Care, a southern Arizona Accountable Care Organization, whose purpose is to bring providers together to improve the quality of care to area residents. Ms. Rich is a patient advocate first and she ensures quality of care is the top priority by creating an open environment regarding adverse events and identifying and correcting the root causes.

“Judy Rich is well-deserving of this honor as she is highly regarded among her peers in the healthcare industry,” said Laurie Liles, AzHHA president and chief executive officer. “She brings energy, vision and inspiration motivating others to strive to achieve the highest level of patient care.”

Ms. Rich served as the United Way Chair for 2011, and is also on the board of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, board member of Volunteer Hospitals of America and board member of EMERGE, the center for domestic violence.

As an AzHHA board member for four years, Ms. Rich has shown great leadership and the ability to unite hospital executives with the goal of improving the health of Arizonans. She is the current AzHHA vice-president and has served on numerous AzHHA committees.




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