Please read my blog on The Business of Eye Camps – an Introduction prior to reading this.
Why do I say that Eye Camps are a serious fraud or Scam? These are the facts:
There is no free lunch!. If an eye hospital has to conduct a free surgery for a patient, someone or something has to pay for the materials used during the surgery.
That is common sense and plain Logic.
A patient operated free of cost at an eye camp conducted by an eye hospital is subsidized by one of the following methods:
- Internal finance from the hospital”s allotted funds for charity purpose
- External finance from donors
- Service Organisations whether social, cultural, religious or political
- Sponsored by Pharmaceutical companies
- Government programs
- International programs
- Money collected from surgeons who wish to be trained (national / foreign)
Lets take a fictional patient called Robin Hood who needs free cataract surgery and see how we can arrange finance for the free eye surgery of this patient and make a huge profit.
Yes! There is a lot of money to be made from “free” service.
- Robin Hood is charged Rs. 500 ($10) for the lens to be placed in the eye after cataract surgery.
- The government gives a fixed amount of Rs. 700 ($14) towards the expenses of the cataract surgery as part of a Blindness Control Program. In the records submitted to the Government, our patient is entered as Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest, Faraway Kingdom.
- The same patient is now recorded as R. Hood, Sherwood and an amount of Rs. 1500 ($30) collected from a service organisation that supports free sight saving programs.
- The patient is again recorded as Robin. H, Faraway Kingdom and an amount of Rs. 500 ($10) is collected from an international health organisation for collaborating to prevent blindness.
Now, we see that a “free” eye surgery has netted the hospital a net gain of Rs. 3200 ($64).
The story does not stop there.
If Robin Hood was operated by a trainee surgeon who had enrolled at he hospital to learn surgery, the trainee would have been charged an amount of Rs. 500 ($10) per case.
If Robin Hood was operated by an foreign / international trainee student (never mind the illegality and ethics), the trainee would have been charged Rs. 5000 ($100) per case.
Now we can see the mind boggling amount of Rs. 3700 ($74) and/ or Rs. 8200 ($164) gained from doing a “free” surgical service.
The actual cost for a “free” cataract surgery according to published reports is below Rs. 1000 ($20) mainly on account of the sub-optimal lenses, materials and medicines used; also in part due to the re-use of operating items and the avoidance of standard blood / health tests.
But, that is the substance of another story.
In conclusion, what is this “free” service?
Is it a for-profit “free” service?
Is it an accounting fraud?
Is it a scam?