/Positive end to challenging year for HHHS  

Positive end to challenging year for HHHS  

By Sue Tiffin
set up in the hallways of Hyland Crest on the way to the auditorium
where the 23rd Haliburton Highlands Health Services annual general
meeting was held on June 20 showed the wide and ever-growing range of
health-care-related programs and services offered in the community by
both staff and volunteers, making for an active and engaged 2018 to 2019
year for HHHS.
had an incredibly busy year,” said Carolyn Plummer, HHHS CEO and
president, in her report of the corporation, of the CEO and HHHS
programs. “We’ve overcome huge challenges and despite those, we’ve had
many tremendous achievements as well.”
Just two weeks before the
meeting, Highland Wood long-term care home reopened, four months after a
roof damaged by significant snow and ice build-up forced the evacuation
of 28 residents and closure of the building. Plummer acknowledged that
the situation was disruptive and stressful and thanked the HHHS team,
community partners and families for working together to reopen “as
quickly as possible.” 
roof has now been replaced, areas of the building that were damaged
have been repaired, Highland Wood has officially opened as of the third
of June, and residents have now been repatriated back to [their] home,”
she said. 
spoke to both emergency room and inpatient clinical services, citing
11,295 visits to the Haliburton emergency department and 15,470 visits
to the Minden emergency department. The Haliburton emergency department
had a slight decrease in volume, which Plummer attributed to the walk-in
clinic available next door.
certainly made a difference in terms of our summertime volumes and
certainly … eased things up for our staff in emerg, which was really
palliative care unit marked its first full year of operation, with 103
admissions to the two beds available. Plummer said HHHS had received
“overwhelmingly positive feedback from both patients and families that
use that space.” 
spoke to the work done to improve access to local health-care services,
praising the new centralized intake initiative, which she said was
making it easier for clients to access a wide range of supports and
services available with one simple phone call.   
services enabling clients to access specialist services through
technology facilitated 1,531 clinical visits, which Plummer said had
saved nearly 500,000 kilometres of travel and about 7,500 hours of time
and was made possible through funds from the HHHS Foundation to replace
tired equipment with state-of-the-art equipment. 
makes a huge difference to people in our community,” she said, saying
the telemedicine service is extensive, ranging from cardiology,
dermatology, orthopaedics and follow-up care for surgery for clients
without having to travel.
talkers to amplify sound for people with hearing impairments,
Indigenous cultural training and a French language capacity assessment
have been implemented. An accessibility audit showed that while HHHS is
compliant with accessibility standards, there are still gaps to improve,
including more accessible parking to accommodate vans with ramps,
clearer signage for people with visual impairment, and better access to
pamphlets and information. Plummer thanked volunteers with disabilities
who did a walk-through of facilities to find where needs can better be
“Having that real-time experience is informing us on how we’re going to move forward,” said Plummer.
than 10,000 X-rays, 1,500 ultrasounds, 132 echocardiography tests and
453 bone density scans were performed throughout the year, in some cases
using new equipment such as a portable X-ray machine. Almost 115
clients, through 365 visits, accessed foot care services this year, an
increase of more than 150 per cent from last year, and mental health
visits increased by 35 per cent. More than 100 clients were supported in
their first year of grief through bereavement services which saw almost
30 referrals.
did start the first few months of a the year with a significant deficit
of over $250,000,” said Plummer. “We established working groups
throughout the year, continuing to meet regularly, and that were able to
identify several cost-saving opportunities, and we worked closely with
our partners to find innovative ways to be in a balanced position by the
end of the year and we were successful.”
noted that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Central East
Local Health Integration Network provide funding to support the
operation of HHHS, but both medical and non-medical critical equipment
is funded through the fundraising efforts of the HHHS Foundation, Minden
and Haliburton auxiliaries and what Plummer called the “extreme
generosity of the community.” 
ended the year with a slight surplus of $11,300 versus a budget plan of
$35,900. The HHHSF transferred $330,624 to HHHS this year for capital
purposes including an accessible transport van, chemistry analyzer and
nurse call system, and are halfway to their goal of $525,000 for cardiac
telemetry equipment. The Haliburton and Minden auxiliaries raised a
combined $25,367 to purchase equipment including a neonatal warming
unit, two blanket warming cabinets, an echocardiography stretcher, a
recumbent bicycle, five new beds and a lift and vital signs equipment. 

the upcoming year, HHHS will be focusing attention on the Ontario
Health Team initiative as it evolves, the next phase of master planning,
an upcoming accreditation survey, an integrated clinical information
system and a green hospital initiative to reduce HHHS’s carbon footprint
by conserving energy and becoming more environmentally friendly.