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Community fundraising of increasing importance to hospital

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Dryden Rotary President Brian Braid (left) and Rotary’s Rena Madden present a cheque for $30,000 to Dryden Regional Health Centre’s Chuck Schmitt and Adam Moir (middle right) at a luncheon meeting May 27.

$30K Rotary donation to support ultrasound purchase at DRHC
By Chris Marchand

A sizable donation from Dryden Rotary to the Dryden Regional Health Care Centre (DRHC) shed some light on the rising importance of community fundraising in local health care, May 27.

The local service club handed over $30,000 to Dryden’s hospital, which will be used towards the purchase of an additional ultrasound unit. Rotarians heard from Physician Recruitment and Fundraising Coordinator Chuck Schmitt as well as Dr. Adam Moir.

Schmitt says shrinking provincial budgets are making it difficult for the hospital to maintain its own budget.

“The province is hurting,” says Schmitt. “They’re looking for ways to save dollars and create efficiencies. We’ve been getting annual one per cent increases to our operating budget as a hospital. When you think about inflationary pressures, which typically run at three per cent — every year we’re losing ground. After five years you can be down seven to 10 per cent.”

Schmitt adds that annual surpluses, which were commonly rolled into things like doctor recruitment and capital expenditures are shrinking as the institution seeks to balance its budget under tightening economic conditions. The problem is not an isolated one with hospitals in Kenora and Thunder Bay both recently posting multi-million dollar deficits.

“The gap is shrinking,” said Schmitt. “Wade (Petranik, DRHC CEO), seeing that trend happening has come to me as fundraising coordinator and said that we need to start looking at even more community support so that we can stay ‘in the black’. It’s hugely crucial to continue to provide the same level of service “

Schmitt says the hospital foundation raises $120,000 to $140,000 per year and will continue to seek more regular streams of funding.

Dr. Adam Moir offered some insights on the need for an additional ultrasound unit at DRHC, citing advancements in diagnostic technique using the technology in recent years.

“We had fundraised for an emergency department ultrasound device that is also used in oncology,” said Moir. “If you ask oncology, they’ll say it’s an oncology ultrasound that’s also used in emergency. It’s become such a vital tool that we’re using it continually in our emergency department. It’s made a profound impact in some patients lives.”

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