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Virtual Annual Meeting concludes hospital’s 2020/21 fiscal year - Pam Went continues as Board Chair

The Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) Board of Directors hosted a virtual Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 17th. Held on Zoom, the meeting was chaired by NHH Board Chair Pam Went, and drew approximately 50 online attendees.

Opening remarks commenced with a formal territorial acknowledgement, delivered by Hospital President and CEO Linda Davis. Pam Went called the meeting to order pursuant to the By-Laws, welcoming Board Directors and Community Committee members, hospital staff and physicians, and invited guests, including Lori Huber, the representative from NHH auditor KPMG.

The meeting opened with a look back at the three waves of the global pandemic. Staff, physicians and patient/family advisor representatives looked back at their unique experiences, the lessons learned and the positive learnings that will be carried forward with community partners as vaccines gain hold and we emerge, together, from COVID-19.

Following approval of the minutes of the June 2020 Annual Meeting, Tom McLean, Chair of the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee, presented the NHH Financial Statements for the year ended March 31st, 2021, referencing in the course of his remarks the detailed financial statements available on the hospital website.

“I am pleased to report that, despite the many challenges presented by the global pandemic, NHH finished the year in a positive position with a net surplus of $3.1 million, 3.5 per cent of total revenues and realization of a goal—identified through the 2016-17 Hospital Improvement Plan process—to maintain a modest annual surplus as a key ingredient for long-term financial sustainability.”

Revenues were higher due to late-fiscal funding received from the Ministry of Health for COVID-related expenditures, said McLean. Praising President and CEO Linda Davis for diligent advocacy and successfully highlighting the unique challenges of community hospitals, McLean reflected on the challenging financial situation of years past and thanked Davis for her efforts on behalf of the community.  

KPMG’s Lori Huber presented a positive Auditors’ Report. The audited financial statements were accepted as presented and auditors KPMG LLP were appointed again as auditors for fiscal year 2021/22.

The Board Chair’s report followed the appointment of the auditors. Pam Went referred attendees to her written message in NHH’s 2020-21 Annual Report to the Community, also released at the meeting.

In addition to her written remarks, Went recognized the contribution of the NHH Foundation over the past year. “At our NHH Board meetings, updates are shared regularly by Wendy Ito, Vice Chair of the NHH Foundation Board. We have welcomed Wendy to our Board table this past year, and have appreciated her regular reports on the Foundation’s efforts,” said Went. “In the past year alone, the NHH Foundation raised more than $3 million to support the purchase of lifesaving medical equipment to help keep quality patient care close to home. You have now accepted the biggest challenge of your history, a new capital campaign, led by an exceptional choice in campaign chair, Hank Vandermeer.”

“We simply couldn’t be the hospital we are today, or strive to be tomorrow, without the NHH Foundation’s ongoing support, and the support of all the donors you rally,” continued Went. “We are grateful to the members of your Foundation Board, your network of volunteers, your Executive Director Rhonda Cunningham, and the Foundation staff, for their tireless efforts.”

Likewise, Went also acknowledged the important volunteer role performed by the members of the NHH Auxiliary, led by President Marg Hilborn.

COVID restrictions meant volunteers could not be onsite as they would be normally for much of this past year. NHH has greatly missed the contribution of the NHH auxiliary to the patient and staff experience,” said Went. “…the team looks forward to the return of the Auxiliary volunteers in their burgundy tabards when the lifting of COVID precautions permits. The care provided at NHH is better for your contributions and we look forward to the renewed relationship with the Auxiliary as restrictions lift and your new governance structure rolls out in the year ahead.”

Also recognized for their commitment over the past year were the Board Directors and community members. ”You made the transition to virtual without missing a beat, and I know NHH is grateful for that. Likewise, the Patient and Family Advisory Council volunteers did the same,” said Went, referring the audience to the Annual Report for more on the PFAC’s ongoing work at NHH.

Two Board directors will be leaving the Board table following the Annual Meeting. Ann Logan was thanked for dedicating over 13 years of service to the hospital, through service on the NHH Foundation and, most recently, hospital Board.  Bob Carman was also recognized for almost a decade of service on the NHH Board and wise counsel.

Dr. Mukesh Bhargava, NHH Chief of Staff, was thanked for his leadership in the past year, both at NHH and in the community. Dr. Bhargava will conclude his first four-year term at the end of June, 2021. Pam Went confirmed at the meeting that he has agreed to a second term, noting: “We are very fortunate to have you at our table and we look forward to your counsel in the years ahead.”

Recognizing the work of outgoing President and CEO Linda Davis, who will retire after more than seven years at NHH at the end of July, Went said: “Linda’s achievements are many: financial stability, enhanced services to meet the needs of our growing and diverse population, strategic capital improvements, the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland (OHT-N)—an innovative model of care delivery that she championed from the start—and, finally, a culture of teamwork that is inclusive of health- and social-care providers and the patients and families we serve.”

“Linda, the Board is extremely grateful for the expertise you brought to this role, the vision you have had for continuously building on NHH’s rich history, and your tireless—and I do mean tireless—dedication. We thank you for your service.  You go with our sincere best wishes for a long and healthy retirement, and our gratitude for leaving NHH the strong and resilient hospital it is today.”

Linda Davis also delivered personal remarks at the meeting, in addition to written highlights published in the Annual Report.

Beginning with a thank you to the staff and physicians of NHH, Davis said: “you are truly my heroes. You have been steadfast through the past 15 months of the pandemic—always providing excellent, compassionate care. And all the while, coping with your own home/life challenges. Through everything you have put NHH first and for that I am deeply appreciative.”

Also recognized by Davis were the many partners NHH has worked with in the community, including “members of the OHT-N and others who supported us with personal protective equipment, assisted with the NHH assessment centre, the Canton testing centre, and the mass immunization clinic for 80+ seniors,” as well as the Board of Directors, the leadership team and the community at large. “We are truly stronger together!”

Elizabeth Selby delivered the report of the Board’s Nominating Committee.  The Board endorsed the Committee’s recommendation that Bree Nixon (Ward 1), Sharon Anderson (Ward 3) and Ross Stevenson (Ward 3) be elected for a three-year term.

Five re-appointments were also approved, all for three-year terms:

Finally, two re-appointments of ex officio Board members were approved, all for one-year terms:

At the Board meeting immediately following the Annual Meeting, Board Directors unanimously appointed Pam Went as the Board’s Chair for 2021/22 fiscal year. Also appointed unanimously were Elizabeth Selby, First Vice-Chair, and David Slater, Second Vice-Chair. Two new community members were also welcomed: Myles Noel and Laurel Savoy.

For more information on the NHH Board of Directors please see the Accountability tab of nhh.ca. As noted above, NHH’s 2020/21 Annual Report to the Community is available now on the hospital’s website. Copies are available in alternate formats on request from the hospital’s Public Affairs office (905-377-7757).

View/download the news release pdf