By Darren Lum
The sun shining perfectly reflected much of the bright positive picture of the past year outlined in reports and the financial audit for the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation at the annual general meeting on Thursday Sept. 5 at the Haliburton hospital.
Before the audit was presented HHHS Foundation board chairman Peter Oyler gave thanks to Gary Pike who has stepped away from his presidency duties this past year due to illness for his service and commitment.
John West of auditor Grant Thornton said the foundation had a good year and the future financial position of the foundation is strong as he provided an overview of the financial statements for this past year.
“As I reported in prior years the foundation has great service and products you sell in the community and the projects that you’ve undertaken certainly have captured the interest of the community. It’s aligned with what they want to see happen. They obviously have confidence in staff and leadership not only here at the foundation but also the corporation” he said.
West pointed out fundraising is within several hundred dollars of the previous year.
“That’s amazing. That’s great” he said.
He added the three main sources of fundraising are the Matt Duchene Charity Golf Classic the Cash for Care Lottery and the sale from stuffed animal toys.
The amount received under the foundation’s Special Gift Program which can include bequests in wills had nearly tripled compared to the previous year.
“While it can vary it shows a good trend. People are getting more aware of that option to give shares and obviously it’s working and people feel they want to do that to make a difference to the foundation” West said. “Good work on the Special Gift Program and keep at it because it’s a long-term project. It does pay off in the long run.”
He finished by stating there are not any recommendations for changes. Audit testing did not uncover any significant issues or problem areas.
“What you see is what you get. There are no skeletons in the closet so it’s been a good year for the foundation” he said.
HHHSF executive director Lisa Tompkins credited the foundation’s various events for the amounts they contribute.
She reminded everyone at the meeting about how at the end of the last past fiscal year the foundation is “better than halfway” towards raising the necessary $525000 for the cardiac telemetry equipment. She added the foundation is on track to meeting the fundraising goal by this fiscal quarter.
Tompkins pointed out after a four- year hiatus the Hike for Hospice event returned in partnership with HHHS. It helped to raise more than $7000 but also raised awareness for hospice and palliative care.
The Bee’cause We Care event was held for the first time and will continue.
It helped to raise $3518 and included the showcase of local teen entrepreneur Morgan Burke of Birds and the Bees.
Tompkins highlighted the more than $3.2 million raised from the Special Gift Program since it started.
“All of these types of events are very important to us and we are grateful to those who contribute to them and to those who manage them for us” she said.
The executive director thanked the volunteers service clubs lake associations organizations and businesses that support the foundation recently and in the past.
She also acknowledged the foundation’s board of directors for their dedication skills and leadership.
The board has welcomed three new members: Susannah Moylan Angela Jones and Cathy Mack. The board now has a full complement of 14 members.
HHHS president and CEO Carolyn Plummer offered highlights about a year of firsts such as the new palliative suites the implementation of telemedicine equipment and the bone densitometry equipment.
There were 103 admissions to the palliative suites during their first full year of operation.
“Clearly very much needed” Plummer said. “We received and continue to receive extremely overwhelming positive feedback from families and patients and staff as well who really appreciate the space and everything it offers those who are reaching the end of their life.”
The numbers for the telemedicine equipment demonstrate the value of its availability.
There were 1531 clinical visits and almost 500000 hours of travel time saved and close to 7500 hours of time saved she said. The bone densitometry equipment had 453 visits.
Also there has been a new position added for acute care in emergency departments.
“It’s one of the first of its kind in the province” Plummer said. “It’s an initiative aimed at really helping older people and their caregivers where responsive behaviours associated with cognitive impairment are an issue particularly related to dementia and other neurological conditions. We now have a nurse with specialized training in that environment to help provide that additional support there. That’s very exciting for us.”
Starting with a deficit of close to $250000 and then being able to end the year with a surplus of a little more than $11000 is a “a major accomplishment” she said.
“On behalf of the HHHS I would like express our heartfelt thanks to the foundation board staff and volunteers for all your hard work and dedication without which we wouldn’t be able to provide the top quality health services for this community. Thank you all very very much” said Plummer.