The Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital Foundation is currently raising $300,000 to support the purchase of two key pieces of equipment – a pulmonary function testing cabinet, used for testing patients with breathing problems, asthma, COPD or emphysema; and an automated endoscopy reprocessor, along with endoscopy digital image capture software, used to diagnose or treat conditions affecting a person’s digestive tract. Between 1,700-1,800 endoscopies are completed each year at TDMH.
“The purpose of The Foundation is to raise money for capital equipment that is not funded by the Ministry of Health,” said David Corner, Executive Director of the Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital Foundation. “If the Foundation didn’t exist, would be short of some significant pieces of equipment.”
Past capital campaigns have included digital mammography equipment ($1 million), X-ray Room 1 ($500,000), anesthesia equipment ($400,000), and a portable digital X-ray machine ($200,000), upgrading equipment with state of the art.
“Anything attached to the medical world, in terms of equipment, is expensive.”
Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital has a catchment area of approximately 60,000-65,000 people, and as a result, said Corner, it needs ‘the tools’ in regards to capital equipment.
“The other key element of having current capital equipment is recruitment of physicians. All new doctors are trained on equipment that we now have… if you don’t have that equipment, then they wonder where your diagnostic capability is. So you must have it.”
Since 1982, the Foundation has transferred $9,408,000 to the hospital, Corner noted.
“And in the last 10 years, $5,478,000,” he added, noting that included a $1 million mammography campaign in 2011.
“Without the support of our generous donors The Foundation would not be able to make the annual transfer to TDMH,” he stressed.
A hospital the size of Tillsonburg, which has a catchment area spanning three counties, has the same challenges raising capital funds as big city hospitals.
“The challenges are the same, the numbers are just different. With a large community, a larger catchment area, you have a larger donor base. But on a percentage basis, I would put our donor base up against anybody’s. If we have a need for a $1 million campaign, we get support. I would say our donor base is very consistent.”
“We had about 1,800 donors last year,” noted Peter Burns, member of the TDMH board of directors. “That’s a phenomenal number for the size of the community. Tillsonburg has always been known to be extremely generous. And it’s always had a reputation for having a good hospital too, so it makes one proud to be part of something like that.”
“It says that we are meeting some of the needs of the community, and as a result they support The Foundation,” said Corner, also attributing it “to the awesome staff who provide excellent service at TDMH and the volunteers on our Board.”
The hospital received four-year accreditation last year, which Corner said was a great achievement for TDMH.
“We continue to replace all the critical equipment that’s required. I think we find our space to be as good as it possibly can be, and we provide the best healthcare in this area that we can,” he said, noting the saying, ‘Great healthcare close to home.’
“And we’re looking forward to continuing to service the needs of the area,” said Burns.
Corner, who will be completing a 10-year term, will be ‘retiring’ from The TDMH Foundation at the end of December, preferring to call it ‘transitioning.’
“What I’m going to do, I don’t know for sure,” said Corner, “but it will be something.”
Collectively, by the end of 2019, Corner will have volunteered at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital 26 years starting in 1981 – a lot of years served on the TDMH board, with various roles including chair and past-chair, and time with the TDMH Foundation, which was formed in 1982. Over the years he has worked with five hospital CEOs.
His current TDMH Foundation term started in 2010 when he joined as executive director.
“You can only do 12 years (on the hospital board), then you take a break,” he noted. “Then you can come back in.”
A recruitment committee has been established by the TDMH board to find a new Foundation executive director.
“We’ve been planning for it for the past year,” said Burns. “We’ve made some moves… we know we’re never going to be able to replace David, with the same skill set and connections and everything else that he brings to the table, but we’ve made some changes to some of the things that he would traditionally do so that they can be done by Board, or third parties.
“So essentially we’re looking for someone that is connected in the community, good interpersonal skills, someone who is enthusiastic about fundraising for the hospital itself.”