Health services corp balances budget

By Jenn Watt

Published May 30 2017

The following are brief reports of items discussed at the May 25 meeting of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services board.

Haliburton Highlands Health Services is in the black this year. Finance committee chairman David Gray gave a presentation to the board in which he detailed the “clean bill of health” the corporation had been given by the auditor.

“We’ve managed to move from a deficit last year of $420000 or so to a small surplus of $17004” Gray told the board. Sick time lack of government funding and increasing hydro rates has made balancing the budget a challenge.

Gray thanked CEO Carolyn Plummer and chief financial officer Kathy Newton for their work on getting the budget back into surplus territory.

Board chairman Dave Bonham gave the finance committee a hearty thanks for their work.

“On behalf of the board this is an incredible accomplishment that you’ve managed to achieve” he said. “To be honest with you I wouldn’t have predicted that we would be able to do it this time last year but in fact it’s been done and it’s an enormous achievement. Well done.”

Local physicians are getting creative with staffing in order to reduce wait times at the emergency department.

Chief of staff Dr. Kristy Gammon told the board that the medical advisory committee had discussed having non-emergency room doctors help out during the busy summer months.

“We had a discussion around how to support the emergency room physician staff during high volume time particularly summer holidays” she said.

A suggestion from her committee was that for “lower acuity” patients some physicians who don’t normally work in the emergency department would come in to help out.

“I think some form of that will occur this summer” she said noting discussions were ongoing.

The Haliburton Family Medical Centre on Gelert Road in Haliburton will be running a walk-in clinic this summer which Dr. Gammon said would alleviate pressure on the emergency department in


It will be open to both rostered patients and anyone else in the community with non-emergency medical needs. The days and hours will soon be advertised.

Despite regular dissemination of information about health-care services through multiple platforms including local media tax inserts and social media there are still many people who don’t know the scope of services available to them Dave Coulson chair of the community advisory committee said.

During a conversation about developing a Rural Health Hub in Haliburton his committee went over some of the community’s needs which included more information and easier access to that information.

“Using social media is great for those who use social media but for the older population in the community who don’t for a large extent use social media it’s a problem getting access to the information” Coulson said.

The committee suggested that community groups and churches be used to give out health service information in addition to other methods.

His committee also identified specialty services as an area of growth for the Highlands.

“People have to leave the community to a large extent for any of the specialists” he said mentioning dermatology and cardiology clinics as examples.

“Some of these have been here from time to time” he said.

A topic that comes up regularly for the community advisory committee is “patient navigators” or staff specifically tasked with helping patients find the services they need. These navigators would simplify the health-care system for those who aren’t sure of exactly what services they need or who to contact.

“People on our committee said you know if we could have one number to phone where there was a real person there we could talk to and explain what our problem was … that would be really helpful” he said.

Board member Jan Walker said there was potential to use the upcoming amalgamation of Community Care Access Centres with Local Health Integration Networks to put CCAC case managers in the community.

“As part of the CCAC rolling into the LHIN one of the things they’re talking about is moving some of the CCAC case managers out to the community and … perhaps attaching them to a primary care physician’s office” she said.

Coulson said his committee was aware of that and thought it was a good idea.

The HHHS Foundation represented by Peter Oyler said the organization was $100000 from its goal of $1.25 million for the palliative care suite teasing a big announcement on Friday.

In addition the Cash for Care draw was a sell-out this year with 4000 tickets sold. That had a lot to do with what the money was going to Oyler said. (See page 2.)

The new HHHSF executive director Lisa Tompkins was present at the meeting as was Dale Walker who is retiring from that role as of May 31.

The Minden Health Care Auxiliary has a full roster of fundraisers this summer Mickey Bonham told the board. There will be a booth set up at Canada Day in Minden on July 1 where people can get information and make donations. On Saturday July 15 the auxiliary will be hosting its first Paint Night in the auditorium at the Minden HHHS site. There will be wine pizza and “valiant attempts at creativity” she said.

July 21 is Tag Day for both of the county’s auxiliaries where members of the public can find out more about the auxiliary and make donations.

The Wine on Wheels raffle ticket sales are going well. Tickets can be purchased at the gift shop in the Minden hospital. Winner gets a new wheelbarrow donated by Canadian Tire and 48 bottles of wine.

The Hoedown for Health is coming up on Nov. 18. Tickets go on sale in September.

Haliburton Hospital Auxiliary

The Haliburton Hospital Auxiliary will be setting up a booth at several major events in Haliburton this summer including Trash N Treasures (June 17) Tag Day (July 21) Midnight Madness (Aug. 4) the boat races and Colourfest. This year’s international dinner will feature Canadian cuisine in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. It’s being held Saturday Oct. 21. Tickets go on sale in July.