Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Brian Foster, Executive Director

Through the eyes of a committed donor


We are continuously amazed by the dedication and passion of all of our donors. Today, we’d like tell you about one of our loyal supporters, Brian Lee.

From left to right: Liyakath Ali, Assistant Manager – Finance and Administration; Brian Lee; Daniel Franklin, Assistant Director of Community Eye Health; Kashinath Bhoosnurmath, Senior Director of International Programs; Santosh Moses, Country Manager of India;  Arvind Babu, Head of Finance and Administration; and Sai Ramanna, Office Assistant and Driver outside Operation Eyesight’s office in Hyderabad, India

From left to right: Liyakath Ali, Assistant Manager – Finance and Administration; Brian Lee; Daniel Franklin, Assistant Director of Community Eye Health; Kashinath Bhoosnurmath, Senior Director of International Programs; Santosh Moses, Country Manager of India; Arvind Babu, Head of Finance and Administration; and Sai Ramanna, Office Assistant and Driver outside Operation Eyesight’s office in Hyderabad, India

Brian is a Certified Speaking Professional known for his expertise in improving the patient experience in hospitals and health clinics. We were delighted when he approached us last fall and offered to donate his services to Operation Eyesight.

In December 2013, Brian set out on a personally-funded trip to meet our international staff. He spent 10 days in India and a week in Ghana. He delivered seven presentations, speaking to hospital staff and community health workers on how to provide a caring, compassionate experience to patients.

He shared his belief that Operation Eyesight’s work – and the work of its partners – is not just about eliminating blindness and preventing loss of sight; it’s also about the patient experience.

Why? In order for the hospitals Operation Eyesight supports to be successful – in order for them to provide free treatment to those who cannot afford to pay – they need to attract paying patients so they can generate revenue to offset some of their operating costs. This is called cross subsidization.

Brian visits a slum in Hyderabad, India

Brian visits a slum in Hyderabad, India

Over time, the goal is for Operation Eyesight-supported hospitals and programs to become less dependent on external funding by charging user fees to those who can afford to pay. It is this model of cost-recovery that helps our partners build the capacity to serve their own people in a sustainable manner. However, we must emphasize that no one will ever be turned away from our eye care programs because they cannot pay.

For example, our partner LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India works to ensure that 50 percent of their services go to those who cannot afford to pay. They monitor their cost-recovery system closely, allowing them to provide quality, sustainable services to all of their patients. Operation Eyesight has also adopted this model.

From left to right:  Leenika Rohatgi Tandon, Trustee of Jawahar Lal Rohatgi Eye Hospital; Brian; Kashinath; and Vijay Tandon, Administrator at Jawahar Lal Rohatgi Eye Hospital

From left to right: Leenika Rohatgi Tandon, Trustee of Jawahar Lal Rohatgi Eye Hospital; Brian; Kashinath; and Vijay Tandon, Administrator at Jawahar Lal Rohatgi Eye Hospital

Brian reiterated that health care organizations cannot focus solely on clinic care; they need to transform themselves to be patient-driven.

“Patients don’t care about the clinic as a whole,” he says. “They care about their personal experience. And a positive personal experience will attract paying patients, allowing not-for-profit health care to compete with for-profit health care.”

Brian spent time visiting various hospitals and villages and observing Operation Eyesight’s work.

“I spoke with a staff member who works with VIPs,” explains Brian. “He told me that a man committed to sending monthly cheques to the hospital because of his satisfaction with his experience.”

Brian was impressed with Operation Eyesight’s high-calibre staff.

“I thought staff were very innovative and creative in their delivery and development,” says Brian. “For them, it’s more than just a job; it’s a calling.”

Thank you to our international staff for the incredible work they do every day! And a big thank you to Brian Lee for donating his time and sharing his expertise with Operation Eyesight! You can read more about Brian’s trip in our latest SightLines newsletter.

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