As the new Chief Administrative Officer of Northwest Medical Center Sahuarita, I write today with hope for the future and gratitude for the resilience of our provider team. Opening a hospital during a pandemic wasn’t the timing we had in mind, but COVID has demonstrated how interconnected we all are, the impact each one of us can have and the benefit of working together for a common cause. We care deeply about our community and remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver safe, quality healthcare services.

The arc of life is always present in a hospital, but its frailty has been very clear this past year. After opening our doors in November, many of our friends and neighbors received the medical care they needed thanks to our physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, lab techs, housekeepers, and other providers who have worked tirelessly to maintain a safe environment. Our family of caregivers put aside their personal fears and concerns and came to help every single day, with bravery and courage.

In the past nine months, thousands of patients walked away from our hospital and emergency room in better shape than when they came in – with less pain following an orthopedic procedure or a smile of relief when their colonoscopy was clear. With pride and relief we cheered patients who left for home after beating COVID-19, and comforted family members when their loved ones needed a higher level of care.

Helping people get well and live healthier is rewarding work, and we are grateful for the trust every patient places in us. And we feel the support of the community as you’ve extended your thanks and encouragement through so many acts of kindness during our first few months serving you.

Led by a local administration and advisory board of community leaders and physicians, we are so proud of the commitment we’ve made to the community. Northwest Medical Center Sahuarita was a $31 million project, but as part of the Northwest Healthcare system – which includes Northwest Medical Center in Tucson, Oro Valley Hospital, and soon, Northwest Medical Center Houghton – we’ve spent $125 million on expansions and upgrades to expand access to high quality care throughout the entire region. In addition to the hospital, we’ve continued to expand access to care in other ways, adding full-time primary care providers and specialists who are dedicated to Sahuarita and Green Valley. Many of our physicians are now offering telemedicine, and some offer same- and next-day appointments, making it easier than ever to see the doctor.

We value our relationship with Sahuarita and Green Valley. As a tax-paying member of the community, each year we help support critical infrastructure such as first responders, schools and roads. Wages and benefits for our provider team generate buying power for local goods and services and help drive the local economy. And we deliver care for our most vulnerable residents, last year providing more than $52 million of charity and uncompensated care at our hospitals throughout Pima County.

Hope is on the horizon – COVID-19 vaccinations are readily available and many in our community have already been vaccinated. On a personal note, my family and I have felt so welcomed in the short time we have lived here and we look forward to attending church functions, school events and community celebrations as we settle in. Little by little, life is returning to normal, and we are hopeful for strong future for our community.

Brett Lee is the Chief Administrative Officer for Northwest Medical Center Sahuarita.