Wednesday, 06 May 2015 16:07

Healthcare Foundation reflects on fundraising success

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The Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation reported on a successful year of fundraising efforts to support health care in southwest Saskatchewan at the 2015 annual general meeting.

The meeting took place at the Pharmasave meeting room in Swift Current April 23. Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Clay Thompson said the organization had another profitable year.
“I always hate the word profitable when we’re talking about what we’re doing here, but we had total donations very close to a million dollars, which is what we budget for every year,” he told the Prairie Post. “Very close to $400,000 of equipment purchases were made last year plus our annual contributions to scholarships and so on.”
The financial statements for the year ending Dec. 31, 2014 were presented at the meeting. It showed total revenue of $1,173,851 for the year, which consisted of $877,750 in income from fundraising and gifts in kind and $296,101 in investment income.
Total expenses were $753,169 during 2014, with $570,405 directed to healthcare support and $182,764 in administration costs.
The Foundation received financial contributions from 1,200 individuals and businesses across the region, which is similar to support received from the community in previous years.
“With the exception of the years when the capital campaign was on for the new hospital, which is about seven years ago now, that’s about average for us now,” he said. “It’s been a little higher at times and a few numbers lower at times, but right around 1,200 is pretty much on track with what we’ve done.”
The Foundation provided funding for the purchase of a number of significant pieces of medical equipment during the past year. The most important purchase was a new holmium laser for the Cypress Regional Hospital at a price of about $130,000. This surgical tool makes it possible for Cypress Health Region's urologist Dr. Francisco Garcia to treat kidney and bladder stones locally.
“So that really is exciting for me personally and for us at the Foundation,” Thompson said. “We’re able to provide services that people had to go out of town to get until this point in time.”
The Foundation provided $62,000 to purchase a pre-natal monitoring system for Cypress Regional Hospital. He noted around 400 babies are born every year at the hospital and this equipment is used to monitor mothers and babies through childbirth.
An allocation of about $34,000 from the Foundation was used to purchase a new treadmill and stress monitoring machine for the cardiac care unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital. This unit does an average of 695 stress tests, 4,433 electrocardiograms, 421 pulmonary function tests and 316 ambulatory pressure monitoring tests every year.
An amount of $5,000 was used to purchase a new dishwasher for the Cypress Regional Hospital. The nutritional services department prepares and serves around 100,000 meals in the hospital every year.
The Foundation also worked with the communities of Shaunavon and Ponteix during the past year to raise funds for the purchase of laboratory equipment for their facilities.
“In both cases the communities realized that they want to keep basic lab testing services in their own towns and in order to do that they would need to make some financial contributions,” he said. “Both projects have been completed and both labs have been renewed.”
According to Thompson, the Foundation faces similar challenges every year to put together successful fundraising programs to purchase health-care equipment. While diagnostic equipment is usually attractive to potential donors, it is not so easy to gain a positive response to a campaign to raise money for a dishwasher.
“So the challenge is trying to put donors together with equipment needs and fill it,” he said. “That’s a challenge that we face every day and that’s a challenge that we face every day in the future.”
The largest portion of the Cypress Health Region’s annual budget is allocated to staffing expenses, which gives additional importance to the fundraising efforts of the Foundation toward equipment purchases.
“That’s where the Foundation gets involved,” he said. “We help to fill that shortfall. The health region and we work very closely to identify where they need support and we try and gather the funds to fill that need.”
The Foundation has been working with the community of Maple Creek over a number of years to support their efforts to raise funds for equipment in the new Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility.
“We will be continuing that relationship going forward,” he said. “Certainly, there is enough money available now to purchase the equipment that needs to be purchased for the new facility, but they want to keep the fundraising going. Stuff wears out. They want to be able to replace it when the time comes.”
During 2015 the Foundation will support the fundraising efforts of a number of communities.
“Local people will do a lot of the heavy lifting but we’re certainly going to help out as much as we can,” he said.
The community of Ponteix is raising funds for upgrades in the X-ray department of the local health centre. There will also be fundraising to equip the new integrated facility in Leader and the new long-term care facility in Swift Current when these capital projects are completed.
“That’s going to be a fairly significant campaign for us,” he said about the equipment needs of the new Swift Current facility. “What the public at large need to understand and know is that the model of care that is provided in the existing long-term care facilities in Swift Current is going to change dramatically when it moves over to the new place. A lot of the equipment that will be on the list that needs to be purchased is absolutely critical to allowing that change in the model of care to happen.”

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Matthew Liebenberg