/HHHS Foundation welcomes new executive director

HHHS Foundation welcomes new executive director

By James Matthews
The cash flow in and out at Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation has been steady in its consistency.
Andrea Hewlitt, an auditor with Grand Thornton, provided a look into the foundation’s financial books for the period ending March 2022 during its annual general meeting on Sept. 20.
“Our audit report is consistent with last year,” she said.
Indeed, the word consistent was … well, consistent throughout her report to the board of directors.
She said there was an uptick in cash that came into the foundation, but then there was also an uptick in payments.
The foundation’s unrestricted funds remained consistent year over year. And there was very little activity in the restricted funds.
“Revenues are consistent, as are the expenses,” Hewlitt said.
The gathering marked the 20th and final AGM for Lisa Tompkins, the foundation’s retiring executive director.
Tompkins said there are more than 2,000 unique donations to the foundation each year. The organization received more than 5,700 gifts and transactions from the community.
Over the past year, there was $364,000 raised for capital equipment. And as much as $50,000 went toward supporting community programming.
The annual year-end fundraising campaign has been very successful annually. The Christmas season is a time of giving for many people in the community.
“It’s continued to make health care a top-of-mind priority,” Tompkins said. “We are very grateful to a generous and supportive community.”

Melanie Klodt Wong, the incoming executive director, can’t wait to get face-and-eyes into the foundation’s work.
During a few words delivered to the board, Klodt Wong said she is honoured to serve the community and help ensure the health and wellbeing of Haliburton County residents.
She said she’s inspired by the dedication of the foundation team and by the crop of health care professionals that provide such an essential service.
She won’t take lightly the responsibility of being at the helm of the charitable organization, she said.
Carolyn Plummer, CEO and president at the Haliburton Highlands Health Services, described how residents and health care professionals have benefited from the foundation’s work.
Two more clinical information systems went live during the past year. One provides a personal health record for every resident.
“It’s going to be a game-changer,” Plummer said.
The other information system supports the plethora of community programs the health service runs.
“It’s taken years to plan for the implementation of those systems,” she said, and threw a bouquet to health care staff at both HHHS sites for their resiliency while waiting for the improvements.

Plummer said significant energy and focus was devoted to the recruitment and retention of health care professionals.
“For us, these shortages have been felt more acutely in our emergency departments,” she said, adding the Minden and Haliburton facilities continue to be a challenge.
She said the corporation remains in a precarious staffing situation, even while avoiding service disruptions or emergency department closures as seen across Ontario and the country.
The staff crunch has meant more over-time to existing staff, which leads to stress and a hit to the financial bottom line, she said. Food and medication costs have increased. Despite all that, the corporation ended the year with a surplus of about $71,000.
Plummer said the challenges presented by the pandemic have become the norm. As such, it’s paramount to provide the support required by staff.
“The people are the most important pillar of this organization,” Plummer said. “They certainly deserve all the accolades. I’m so grateful for each and every one of them.”