Healthcare Foundation celebrates success at 20th AGM
Two decades of dedicated efforts to keep local healthcare strong were celebrated at the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation’s annual general meeting in Swift Current.
The Foundation is marking 20 years of operation in 2019 and the annual general meeting had a celebratory tone and different format to recognize this milestone. The event took place in the foyer of the Cypress Regional Hospital. Guests enjoyed a buffet meal before the meeting was called to order. The guest speaker after the meeting was Scott Livingstone, the first chief executive officer of the new Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
Thereafter guests were taken on a tour of the hospital to see equipment in different departments that were purchased with funds raised by the Foundation. Healthcare staff provided demonstrations and spoke about the difference equipment have made in caring for patients.
Clay Thompson, the Foundation’s executive director, felt the tour was a good way to highlight the use of donor money to improve healthcare.
“This is just an opportunity to show folks where their money is being used and here are some of those stories,” he said. “We don't just gather the money, buy a piece of equipment and life goes on. These folks are using it.”
The Foundation has raised over $16 million since 1999 and generous support from the community made it possible to raise $1.2 million in 2018.
“I think it was a pretty good year,” he said. “It started really, really slow, quite frankly, but by the end of the day we were at $1.2 million gathered. We're certainly happy with that. We sort of budget to gather between $1 and $1.3 million every year. So I was glad we made budget last year.”
The goal of the Foundation is to raise funds for the purchase of healthcare equipment that are used in healthcare facilities in southwest Saskatchewan.
SHA CEO Scott Livingstone emphasized in his speech that the new organization’s goal has been to build a strong relationship with the different healthcare and hospital foundations in the province.
“One of the big recognitions very early on just before we even started was the value it takes to have community-based foundation and community-based investments so people in their own communities can see local investment and driving to change in their own community,” he said during an interview after the meeting. “We not only recognize that, we want to do whatever we can to support it, and what we were ensuring is we’re not going to break that local foundation connection, but at our end to make sure that we’re supporting the foundations at the level they need to be supported.”
One of the goals of the SHA has been to build structures to interact with all their stakeholders, including healthcare and hospital foundations. The CEOs and executive directors of healthcare and hospital foundations have formed a network to engage with the SHA.
Livingstone noted the SHA has been talking to foundations about how to recognize their independence, but at the same time the SHA has been referring to the opportunities that a single health authority has created for foundations to partner on provincial fundraising initiatives.
These opportunities exist because the creation of the SHA has brought together clinical services under a single provincial umbrella. As an example, he referred to the creation of a maternal child health model that will connect services across the province.
“That may provide the first platform for a provincial campaign to support maternal child care across the province of Saskatchewan, where you would see local care and local investment, but it would be part of a bigger provincial strategy,” he said.
Thompson felt there will be advantages for the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation to participate in a provincial level fundraising campaign that will have benefits for healthcare in southwest Saskatchewan.
“At the meetings that I've been at over the last couple of years, Scott has been adamant that funds that are gathered locally will be used locally,” he said. “When he says provincial types of campaigns I think that's what he means. Is there something we can do in Swift Current that will help the people of this area and other parts of the province all at the same time, and of course if you have five locations doing the same sort of purchasing, then they can look for deals on equipment and things like that too, which is good for everyone.”
Thompson credited the SHA for their efforts to work with the healthcare and hospital foundations, but some details still need to be sorted out.
“We've met four times now in the last year and it's a process, and it's not where we as foundations would like it to be yet, and I know it's not to where SHA and Scott's group would like it to be, but it's coming,” he said. “It's going to get there, and when it does, I think it's going to be great.”
The foundations are hoping to have a process that will help them to have a clear understanding as early as possible of the equipment needs in facilities, which will enable them to then effectively plan their fundraising campaigns.
“The sooner we get involved in that process, I think the better it is, and that's what they're working towards and that's what the foundations would like to see,” he said. “Let us get involved a little bit earlier in the process and be more pro-active than reactive.”
The Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation disbursed $1,336,526 in 2018. Funds were used for a portable digital x-ray machine, ventilator and chemotherapy pumps for the Cypress Regional Hospital, a new tub and tub room for the Climax Border Health Centre, and various other smaller purchases.
Various needs have already been identified for the Foundation’s fundraising efforts during 2019. One of the items that will be considered is a new digital mammography unit, digital x-ray upgrades for some rural sites, and a proposed campaign for Cabri and area.
SASK. HEALTH AUTHORITY CEO SCOTT LIVINGSTONE
Healthcare staff provided demos of the use of a Panda warmer in the Cypress Regional Hospital's women and children’s unit.
Dr. Michael Kapusta (at left) speaks during a demonstration in the Cypress Regional Hospital's simulation lab with a medical training mannequin.
Healthcare staff uses the medical training mannequin to give a demonstration in the Cypress Regional Hospital's simulation lab.
( Far left) Foundation Board Chair Helen Arnold speaks during the 20th annual general meeting, April 17. ( Middle photo) Board Treasurer Damone Caron does the same.