Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of the opening of Marianas Eye Institute. It's hard to believe it's been nine years! Mara and I were both working for the CNMI Department of Public Health at the time, and decided to quit our jobs and undertake building a world-class eye clinic on Saipan. We took our life savings, borrowed money, and entered the world of private health care. Having given away our government jobs, we had no place to live, so we just put a door in the hallway of the clinic, and lived in half the building. Mara was six months pregnant with our first child.

We would be over there until midnight every night trying to sort through all the business stuff -- accounts receivable, billing, chart of accounts, all the details of running a medical practice that no one teaches you. But we did it! It's been an amazing journey.

Over the years we've had visiting medical people from Australia, Hawaii, Japan, and the mainland US who have universally been struck that such advanced technologies and systems have been put in place on this remote island. Very few practices in the mainland US have the broad combination of advance technologies that we have at Marianas Eye Institute. I'm a tech freak, and I like to keep up on things, but I think the main driving force has been the fact that there is nowhere close to send patients for specialized testing. We purchase the new technologies simply to give our patients the highest standards of care available.

I'm proud of what we've accomplished. We have a team of really talented people, starting with Mark Robertson, who sees most of the patients and Russ Quinn, who serves as CEO, and great locally trained eye care team, technicians and administrative staff. I feel lucky to work with them all.

Yesterday was an opportunity to pause and think about where we started and how far we've come. And because new stuff is always in the pipeline, we are in the midst of adding even more advanced technologies over the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted.

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