Donations paying for hospital equipment

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Community donations in an endowment fund has helped pay for hospital equipment at the Owen Sound site of Grey Bruce Health Services.

The Owen Sound Regional Hospital Foundation's $17-million Caring for Tomorrow Endowment Fund generated $478,000 in income presented to the Owen Sound site for 2017-18.

The foundation announced its latest cash transfer in a recent news release.

"We have a generous community committed to ensuring we have quality health care here in Owen Sound, right where we live," hospital foundation executive director Amy McKinnon said in an emailed response to questions. "The endowment fund is a key piece of revenue to ensure a solid base of funding for the hospital."

The fund is helping to pay for a new histology processor, used to prepare biopsy samples for examination under a microscope, and a transfusion medicine fridge to store blood, blood products and reagents for transfusion medicine program, both for the lab in Owen Sound. The fridge has alarms to alert staff if temperatures aren't maintained.

Other equipment purchases include new endoscopes for general surgery, cardiac monitors, automated medication-dispensing cabinets and new anesthesia machines for eight departments in Owen Sound hospital.

The bulk of the money -- $345,000 -- was drawn from the Emerging Needs Fund, which is donated endowment money, undesignated for any specified hospital use. The balance of the $478,000 came from designated funds in the endowment, including $10,000 for clinical staff education and training.

That training money may be applied for by any staff, whether in Owen Sound or at the five other hospital sites which form the hospital corporation.

The foundation established its endowment in 1996 to provide a secure, ongoing source of funding for new diagnostic and medical equipment, the news release said. Hundreds of will bequests and other gifts have been added to the fund, where they are permanently invested.

A portion of the income earned is what supports purchases of new equipment at the hospital each year, the foundation release said.

"This brings the total provided to the hospital from the endowment to more than $4.5 million over its 22-year history," foundation chair Derek Smith is quoted saying in the news release.

Some people contributed to the endowment through their will, life insurance policy or RRSP, the release said.

Government funds about 10 per cent of the annual hospital costs to buy new equipment every year. Donations cover the rest, McKinnon said.

The foundation has other revenue streams than the Caring for Tomorrow Endowment Fund, including a Guardian Angel direct mail campaign which raises more than $350,000 annually, and fundraising events including a golf tournament and The Owen Sound Subaru Bayshore Race, cross-country running event.

Overall, the foundation funding the Owen Sound site raises over $3 million annually.





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