The good news… The 2016 Charity Golf Classic raised another $230,000 towards the St. Anthony’s Hospital Building Fund on Monday.
The reality check… The goal posts have moved. Esterhazy now has to raise a lot more money in order to meet their share of the development costs of the new hospital and care home project.
How can this be? Well, simply put, as health care continues to advance in the province, it seems the government wants to encourage the development of integrated health projects as opposed to only individual hospitals and care homes. From all the indicators, whether economic or logistical, financial or in terms of practical health care, it just makes better sense to push toward an integrated hospital and care home complex instead of only building a new hospital.
Time to dig deep Esterhazy, we’re not there yet!
OK, to the events of Monday. It was a great turnout again for the Charity Golf Classic, and it was nice to see it returning to Esterhazy after the woes that befell the course in previous years due to flooding. But, it was cold, unseasonably cold. Most golfers were dressed for the occasion, but this reporter was not, hence the limited photos this year of the game itself.
What warmth was lacking in the air temperature, was certainly made up for by the sense of camaraderie and spirit however. People were clearly having fun, and when that is combined with a good cause, there can be no doubt that it’s a win-win situation.
The evening’s proceedings were held in the Boreen Hall, with a superb meal catered by Esterhazy Bowlarena, door prizes, a slide show playing in the background, and of course speeches. It is in these speeches that we learn about the shifting goalposts when it comes to the financial target and nature of the project. Here is what was said.
WARREN KAEDING – MLA Melville-Saltcoats
“Good evening Charity Golf Participants and organizers, and I think it’s another successful but quite chilly event. But in your participation you showed the dedication that this community has towards this health project. And, I want to acknowledge that I do have an appreciation for the hard work and the diligence that not only this community has, but also your extremely dedicated group of health care professionals that you have in the Esterhazy area.
I have met with your hospital board, I’ve met with doctors and nurses, your lab tech people, and tomorrow I’m going to meet with your long-term care people, and you really truly have people who demonstrate the utmost professionalism under some very archaic conditions. So I really want to thank everybody for their patience in trying to get this project off the ground. And, I understand your frustration in not seeing anything concrete, but I really want to re-assure you that we are diligently working behind the scenes, and we’re going to make this project happen.
So, thanks to the Esterhazy District Charity Golf fundraiser for I think another successful fundraising day.”
DON HOOD – Chair of the Esterhazy & District Charity Golf Executive
“Good evening everyone. Thanks for taking the time to be here, I know everybody has a busy life, and thank you for being here. Charity golf is the major fundraiser for the hospital. This is where rubber hits the road, support is wonderful from right down to grandmas and grandpas, small business, large business, and especially businesses that are in the area working mainly at the mine. They do a very good job of supporting us.
Just to talk about the numbers for a minute. The hospital and the care home, what we need to raise is ten and a half to 11 million dollars. We’re sitting at eight. Sounds pretty good, but it’s still a pretty huge number left for us to raise. And that’s our 20% of the project.
When we were going to do the project, we were thinking, alright it’s a big bite for us and the government, we’ll do the hospital then come back and do the care home. The government at the last meeting said guys we want them both done at the same time. So, we’re okay with that, but we have work to do.
So, we need to understand that the government’s got some serious issues with money. And it’s mainly potash revenues and oil revenues that are causing the trouble. But we also need for the government to understand that we want to project to move forward, and we don’t want it to move forward a long time down the road. We need it to happen in the short term. So, we need to be the squeaky wheel. We need to push the government to make the project happen. Believe me, they have a lot of projects on their plate. There are times I feel sorry for them for all these different groups asking for money. But that’s the challenge for them to figure out, how do they make it work.
So, appreciate your support. Hopefully you can be back again next year and have another successful year. Maybe a little warmer wouldn’t hurt… Thank you.“
Dr. Mandi Nel
“Good evening everyone. It’s wonderful to be part of this community which has once again stepped up and showed their support for this wonderful cause. As you have heard, our fundraising goals have changed. We are now fundraising for a hospital and a care home complex together, and as Don has mentioned our efforts so far have gotten us eight million, and I think that’s wonderful. For a community our size I can just say wow!
We need to stay committed though. Now more than ever to get this project moving forward. Both our care home and our hospital are showing their age, and they are currently barely sufficient for our needs.
The hospital has had some serious issues in the past couple of years. Flooding to name one, broken air conditioning unit for instance. And, practically speaking we are looking at bathrooms that are too small and in some instances are not wheelchair accessible. Something as simple as oxygen supply to the room can be an issue. We need a new hospital.
Our patients deserve to receive high-quality care in a sparkling facility. That is the most important reason. But another benefit in having a new facility would also be potentially attracting new physicians long term. We all are aware how hard it is to recruit and retain physicians in small communities.
Having a care home attached to the hospital also has some major benefits. Currently we have patients that need lab and x-ray, and we have to transport them by ambulance to the hospital for these tests. This is not just costly, but it is also very time consuming. With one facility the patient can be wheeled over immediately to get the necessary tests. That would cost a lot less in time, resources and patient discomfort. We have come so far, and every year it seems our goal is within reach, and then the line gets moved. Please don’t get discouraged.
Our ultimate goal is to get a new hospital building, but along the way this community has been benefiting from the fundraising. Because of the partnership between physicians, community and patients, we (the Esterhazy physicians) have been able to fulfill our mission of giving high-quality medical care. We have access to medical equipment that has been supported or financed by this cause. For instance we have better hospital beds in the emergency department of the hospital, we have high-quality defibrillator equipment, and equipment rarely available in small community hospitals that helps us give better care to our patients.
The care home has also received equipment like a lift system to assist staff with moving patients safely. All the equipment that has been funded is written in the back of this booklet (Note:- Event program). Please take note of this and now that we appreciate all of the fundraising efforts.
Thank you once again for making this a wonderful community to practice in, and for your support of this cause. Let’s get this hospital built.”
Following the speeches, the event continued with:-
- Recognition of the sponsors of various levels.
- Recognition of people and companies who helped organize the golf.
- Announcement that the 2016 total was $230,000
- Recognition of individual fundraisers.
- Recognition of individual golf awards (closest to pin, lost balls award, etc)
- Recognition of team awards
- Final thanks to all supporters, helpers, and the golfers.
While it could be discouraging that the new hospital seems to get further and further away, as do the financial targets, it is important to see this in light of a long term perspective. There is no doubt that an integrated hospital/care home complex would serve this area better than a new hospital alone. In years to come we will be glad of it.
However, it is the “years to come” that is concerning. Now that we need to raise another three million dollars or so, just how long is it going to take to raise it? And even if it is raised, will having it in the bank make the slightest difference to the priorities of the government of the day as they try to balance their budgets and disperse limited financial resources?
The bottom line is this. There are NO guarantees folks. We cannot control how the oil and potash industry revenues will impact the government’s coffers in the future. We cannot control how long it will take for Esterhazy’s cause to rise to the top of the government priority list.
Therefore we must carefully control the ONLY thing we have control over, and that is how WE THINK about this situation. If we throw our hands up in defeat and say “God, another three million, it’ll never happen” then we’ll have a harder time of advancing than if we say “Let’s pull up our sleeves, get creative, and see what we might have missed as fundraising options or possibilities.” Our future may not be in our hands, but our current reaction or response is.
Here is the PDF-format file of the event program.
Below are some pictures. Open the gallery by clicking any image.