By Emily Stonehouse
The change in season brings on the yearly Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation AGM. The numbers in review were from 2022, with 2023 numbers still not completed until the end of the fiscal year.
“It has been an interesting year, to say the least,” said HHHSF chair Eric Recalla, referencing that 2022 was really the first year that mirrored some sense of normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting started with an annual auditors report, during which time Ali Ahmed presented the financial statements, and noted that there were “no significant items in the balance sheet.”
The meeting then shifted over to Melanie Klodt Wong, the executive director of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation, who provided an overview of the 2022/2023 year.
“The pandemic has had a major effect on giving,” said Klodt Wong, “but some of the donors are giving because they received amazing care [from HHHS].”
At this time, there are 1934 active donors, with the average revenue per donor landing at $509. She noted that the retained donors had taken a dip at -27 per cent, but the 437 new donors have provided $290,000 in revenue over the past year.
Out of that amount, the Foundation has transferred $284,279 towards capital equipment at HHHS, $50,000 towards community support services subsidies, and $12,506 to education assistance programs. Klodt Wong noted that they are seeing an increase in the latter program for the 2023/2024 season already: “people want to stay in this community based on the education they are receiving here,” she said.
Beyond the private donors, Klodt Wong also shared the successes of the fundraisers offered through the Foundation over the 2022 year; including the Matt Duchene Charity Golf Classic and the Health Radiothon, which took a dent out of the $100,000 price tag for the Smart IV Pumps needed at the hospitals.
The agenda then shifted gears to introduce Veronica Nelson, HHHS interim president and CEO, who provided a short recap on the 2022 year prior to her arrival on the scene, and moved forward with the roll out of a five year strategic plan for moving forward.
Nelson opened by acknowledging the hard work of the team. “Our staff goes above and beyond every day,” she said, noting that they would not be able to do what they do without them.
The 2022/2023 strategic priorities were driven by the notion of being leaders in innovative rural health care, with the main pillars revolving around advancing partnerships, building their capacity to thrive, and transforming the health services experiences, all while under the umbrella of investing in the people; staff, residents, and partners.
In terms of advancing partnerships, in 2022, HHHS integrated a technology called “Ocean” into their services, which is an electronic referral program to the seven Central East hospitals’ clinics and services. They also introduced a technology where patients can have access to their own records through an app, but at the time of the presentation, only five per cent of patients were utilizing the service. Nelson hopes to increase that number through marketing the program effectively.
She noted that this past year, they added accessible automatic doors at the Haliburton site, and intend to add accessible features and doors to the Minden site this coming year.
Nelson provided a breakdown of the hospital visits from 2022/early 2023, which included 14,288 to the Minden site, 10,413 to the Haliburton site, 4549 Haliburton inpatient days, and 435 Haliburton hospital discharges. “We can see that a lot of patients stay a long time at the inpatient beds,” she noted. These numbers are from the 2022 year, and prior to the Minden emergency department closure in June of 2023.
The acting president and CAO gave a nod towards the upcoming strategic plan, which will be in place from 2023 to 2028, and is in the process of a “soft launch” before it is added to the HHHS website. While the purposes and values of the previous plan will stay in place; namely the optimization of health and wellbeing in Haliburton County and the continual mandates of compassion, accountability, integrity, and respect, Nelson plans on adding some new components to the plan moving forward.
These directions include making HHHS recognized as a great place to work, understanding and securing future resources, nurturing a supportive and inclusive environment for the team to thrive, and fostering partnerships to provide more seamless and integrated care.
The overview of the 2023/2024 year will be shared at next year’s AGM.