By Chad Ingram
Published June 29 2017
A tightening up of finances and a focus on employees’ well-being have been hallmarks of the past year at Haliburton Highlands Health Services.
HHHS CEO Carolyn Plummer went over a number of highlights for the organization during its annual general meeting at the Minden HHHS facility on June 22.
Among them as reported earlier this year was a balancing of the 2016-2017 budget. The organization achieved a small surplus of approximately $17000 on a budget of approximately $24.8 million.
“And we did so without having lay anybody off without having to make any cuts to any program and in fact we expanded programs and without having to request any additional special funding from the LHIN (local health integration network)” Plummer said.
The bulk of that budget about $20 million came in direct funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and about $2.2 million came from residents’ fees at HHHS’s two long-term care homes. Other revenue sources include patient services and the amortization of deferred contributions.
The largest portion of the budget about $15 million was spent on salaries wages and benefits. The rest goes primarily to supplies equipment and buildings and property.
“We also had the opportunity this year to focus on fostering a healthy work environment” Plummer said.
“Part of this included launching a brand new employee recognition program and we were also able to recognize a number of long-service employees this year highlighting the ongoing dedication of the members of our team.”
Plummer who was previously director of patient care and chief nursing executive for HHHS became CEO of the organization last summer after the previous CEO was terminated in late 2015.
Among other highlights for the year was the creation of compassionate care suites at the HHHS long-term care homes which make space for family members of those in palliative care Montessori training for employees helping patients with dementia and a number of capital projects including new flooring and sidewalks at both the Minden and Haliburton facilities.
The past year also marked the first full year of the organization’s GAIN (geriatric assessment intervention network) team which helps vulnerable seniors stay in their own homes longer. With 73 clients the team logged more than 17000 hours.
Mental health services saw an increase in usage with a 13 per cent jump in patients. Plummer said the No. 1 mental health condition mental health services deals with is anxiety and that the number of young people using the services is also increasing.
“It’s definitely on the rise” she said.
The HHHS diagnostic imaging department expanded with the addition of echocardiogram services. The department performed more than 10000 X-rays and more than 1800 ultrasounds during the year.
There were more than 15000 visits to the Minden emergency room and close to 13000 at the emergency room in Haliburton. The hospitals logged some 3800 patient days with the average length of stay for acute care at nine days.
The Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation which raises funds for capital projects at the facilities brought in more than $540000 throughout the fiscal year and also reached its $1.25 million fundraising goal for the new palliative wing at the Haliburton HHHS facility.
Recently retired longtime foundation director Dale Walker was recognized by speakers including foundation chairman Peter Oyler her successor Lisa Tompkins chief of staff Dr. Kristy Gammon and Plummer.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done for HHHS and we wish all the best your retirement” Plummer said.
The Minden and Haliburton hospital auxiliaries raised about $15000 and $10000 respectively throughout the past year. Those funds are also used for capital purchases.