The University of Arizona

QUITzone St. Mary's Hospital

Arizona Department of Health Services
presents Carondelet Health Network

Certificate of Excellence

Tucson, Ariz. (Nov. 16, 2006) – The Arizona Department of Health Services Office of Tobacco Education & Prevention today presented Carondelet Health Network with a Certificate of Excellence for its work in making its hospitals tobacco-free and for encouraging others to quit using tobacco.

“The certificate tells people that Carondelet Health Network is committed to helping tobacco users in Arizona to quit and to maintain healthy lifestyles,” said Louise J. Strayer, director of the Health Care Partnership at the University of Arizona, a program funded by the Arizona excise tobacco tax  through the Arizona Department of Health Services Office of Tobacco Education & Prevention. 

The certificate presentation coincided with Carondelet Health Network’s one year anniversary of launching a Tobacco-Free Initiative at all three of its hospitals and most of its facilities. Carondelet’s hospitals – St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s in Tucson, and Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales, Ariz., all became tobacco-free in March 2006.

Tucson Heart Hospital, which became part of the Carondelet Health Network on Sept. 1, launched its drive to become tobacco-free today, which also is the national Great American Smokeout day. The heart hospital will become officially tobacco free on March 17.

“Carondelet Health Network is dedicated to its tobacco-free initiative,” said Odette Bolano, chief executive officer of St. Mary’s Hospital. “This means availing our resources and our communications to helping our employees and our patients to refrain from using tobacco on our campus, or to assist them to make the commitment to quit use of tobacco. The certificate we received today acknowledges our continuing effort.”

Strayer and Mary Gilles, M.D, assistant professor for the Department of Psychology and Medical Director for the HealthCare Partnership, said the state office wanted to recognize Carondelet Health Network because of its extensive efforts in assisting employees with ending tobacco use through education, referrals to state-funded cessation resources and by providing reimbursements to employees who opted to use medication therapy to help quit tobacco.

Gilles also said the state department recognized Carondelet’s efforts at educating medical personnel and its encouragement of the medical community to emphasize a system-wide approach to tobacco treatment for patients.

“Really, what they did was address the recommendations from the Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines,” Gilles said. “And they included all of the Arizona tobacco control resources in that effort.”

To assist employees interested in quitting tobacco use, Carondelet accessed and promoted state supported cessation resources, such as the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, and Pima County Tobacco-Free Ways, along with offering medication therapy reimbursement. 

According to a fact sheet produced by the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s hospitals both were among the top five locations in Arizona referring people to the helpline. The helpline received a total of 387 referrals between July 1 and Sept. 30 through a fax referral program.

Carondelet Health Network, located in Tucson, Arizona, is a Catholic, faith-based,nonprofit healthcare system founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The network includes St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Tucson Heart Hospital in Pima County, Holy Cross Hospital in Santa Cruz County, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient medical malls, 16 Carondelet Medical Group primary care offices and the Carondelet Foundation. 

One of the largest employers in the Pima and Santa Cruz Counties, Carondelet Health employs approximately 4,000 and has more than 1,500 physicians on the medical staff. In calendar year 2005, Carondelet Health Network contributed approximately $25 million in community benefit to the southern Arizona region. Carondelet Health Network is a member of Ascension Health. More information is available at www.carondelet.org.

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