We Are Champions initiative boosting community’s health care knowledge

We Are Champions patio

We Are Champions is an initiative created by the TMC Foundation to build a healthier Southern Arizona by bringing the community and health care knowledge together.

The group organizes in-depth health care presentations that cover important information regarding health and the health care system – helping each member champion stronger wellness and knowledge throughout our communities.

The presentations are conducted by health care leaders, offering the most current information about the technologies being used at Tucson Medical Center and the opportunity to ask questions and share experiences.

Luis LeonA recent discussion featured accomplished vascular surgeon Dr. Luis Leon, where the crowd learned details about the body’s vascular system and new advancements being used to treat complex vascular challenges.

Members will also receive guided tours of TMC, with information about each department and service line.

“This is a great way for our community to come together and share health care knowledge throughout Southern Arizona,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer.

Future presentations are planned throughout the year, with the next being held by Dr. Michele Boyce Ley, a fellowship-trained breast surgical oncologist.

We Are Champions Adaline KlemmedsonAdaline Klemmedson, steering chair of We are Champions also shared her enthusiasm, “It is my privilege to be a part of Tucson Medical Center’s We Are Champions and I look forward to watching it grow in the future, particularly with your participation. We are excited to present a lecture series, facility tours and much more.  Please join us to learn more about TMC, your community hospital.  And through this experience, you will become a more healthy and informed you!”

For more information about We are Champions, call (520) 324-2296, email Krissy King or visit the We are Champions website.


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.

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