Cornwall hospital posts $982 surplus; ‘This is not getting any easier’, says CEO

Cornwall Community Hospital CEO Jeanette Despatie delivers her report Thursday, June 16, 2016 during the hospital's annual general meeting at Ramada Cornwall. The hospital finished its fiscal year with a $982 surplus on a $116 million budget. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The Cornwall Community Hospital finished its fiscal year with a minuscule surplus – $982.

During the CCH AGM Thursday afternoon at Ramada Cornwall, the hospital’s auditing firm, KPMG, shared its findings on the $116 million operating budget.

Two-thirds of the operating budget’s expenses are for compensation of medical staff, while another 20 per cent goes to supplies and building expenses.

It’s the fifth year the hospital has had a surplus – albeit the tiniest one to date – even though CCH faced fewer sources of revenue.

Nearly three-quarters of its funding comes from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and revenue was down $831,000 in 2015-16 compared to the year before.

“I assure you that this is not getting any easier. As our provincial sources become more scarce, the demand for service grows,” CEO Jeanette Despatie said of the budget.

Despatie highlighted a number of achievements over the last year, including the opening of the new chemotherapy unit at the McConnell Avenue facility and the building of a new mental health and addictions center next door.

“With its opening in October of this year, we know that patients will benefit from improved access,” she said. The hospital saw 27,475 community mental health visits in the past year.

A new electronic medical records system, which was a priority for CCH last year, will go live on October 18, 2016. “This project will have a tremendous impact on our delivery of care,” Despatie said.

Hospital Chief of Staff, Dr. Lorne Scharf, also highlighted the increasing number of babies being born at CCH.

“More people are having babies at the Cornwall Community Hospital and our high quality of care is driving this trend. We’ve made progress with elective C-section rates, formula supplementation is down, virtually all quality measures of obstetric care have improved,” Scharf said.

Scharf also noted that the intensive care unit (ICU) started working as a closed unit in July 2015, meaning “its staffed fully by physicians who are ICU experts,” Scharf added in noting that fewer patients are being transferred to Ottawa.

Dr. Scharf said quick access to medical care and information will be a key point in the upcoming year.

“The patient experience depends on timely access to this type of quality care. Going forward into the next year we are well positioned to use our team, our technology, our strategic affiliations and our focus on high quality, to deliver exceptional care in every case.”

Here are some of the other highlights from the AGM:

  • Diagnostic exams: 129,929
  • Clinic visits: 49,103
  • Emergency Room visits: 59,037
  • Surgical cases: 9,366
  • Patient days: 50,660
  • Pieces of equipment purchased for chemo unit: 90
  • Cornwall Hospital Foundation money raised: $1.2 million
  • Number of CHF donors: 1,829