The article headlined "Unclear visions for the future" (May 6, p. 76) discussed certain eye and ear hospitals throughout the United States and portrayed them as technologically unequipped for advancement. As president of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, the oldest continually operating specialty-care hospital in the country, I believe that if our history as an institution was included, the results would have been vastly different.
From the first successful removal of congenital cataracts in 1820 to the use of ultrasound biomicroscopy in the 1990s, research and innovative treatment strategies developed at the infirmary have saved the vision and hearing of millions of people around the world.
With 103 beds, a state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center and a network of 25 specialty and subspecialty clinics, the infirmary performs some 18,000 surgical procedures and receives more than 160,000 outpatient visits per year. This represents a 30% increase in surgeries and a 60% increase in clinic visits in less than a decade. Meanwhile, at a time when many eye and ear hospitals are suffering from drastic cutbacks in reimbursements-we have just finished our fourth consecutive year in the black. That's due in large part to the implementation of cost-saving measures in response to the shift to ambulatory care, which in turn is geared to greatly benefit patients.
Remaining competitive, yet continuing as a leader in teaching and research, requires a commitment to advance the knowledge of medicine. As technology forces many hospitals to reposition, we are using the latest technological advances to treat our patients all over the world. For instance, we are launching a highly tailored and individualized global medicine effort that reaches faraway areas in the Pacific Rim and Middle East.
As the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary concludes the celebration of its 175th anniversary year, we are looking forward to our bicentennial and beyond.
JOSEPH P. CORCORAN
President, chief executive officer
New York Eye and Ear Infirmary