The Quality Assurance department is designed to prevent, detect, and correct deficiencies that may lead to circumstances that increase the risk of introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases, and is an integral part of Saving Sight and Vital Tears operations. At Saving Sight, the Quality Assurance Department is made up of three team members: Patrick Johnson – Director of Quality Improvement and Regulatory Affairs, Kristine Kennedy – Quality Improvement Specialist and Jessica Cody – Quality Improvement Specialist. While each member has their own responsibilities and title, “in the end, we are a team and complete all task as a team,” says Kristine Kennedy.
Like any department, each day is different, but in the Quality Assurance Department you can find them in meetings, working on projects, auditing different processes, not only in our main office in Kansas City but in each of our satellite offices. “Quality Assurance is part of every aspect of Saving Sight and Vital Tears” says Kristine Kennedy. This could be helping a team understand how to complete regulatory documentation or verifying that documentation is completed correctly. It might be improving SOPs for departments to clearly understand requirements or improve a process. Quality Assurance is a vital part of helping the organizations operate to stay in compliance and improve the overall quality of the operation. They are ultimately responsible for quality improvement and assurance, making sure we are following the rules set forth by HIPAA, Non-Conformance Management, both internal and external audits, OSHA incident tracking and supply and supplier management. No day is the same, but they play and important role in making sure we are being good stewards of the gift of sight.
“The Quality Assurance department has been a very rewarding job for me. I truly love being able to help other departments grow in their learning and support them in improving their processes. This roll requires organization, problem solving, “out of the box thinking,” and teamwork, just to name a few. I am so incredibly blessed to work with such amazing people that are dedicated to our mission. I have the best teammates EVER, that are always willing to step up, have each other’s back, and support one another” says Kristine Kennedy. Saving Sight truly is lucky to have such a caring and devoted group of people, all helping us in our mission to change lives by Saving Sight.
While fireworks are a beautiful and time-honored tradition associated with the holiday, it’s important that you take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Here are some quick facts about fireworks, and some tips to keep your vision safe this year while still enjoying the festive fun.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there are 9,000 fireworks-related injuries each year in the U.S. Thirty percent of those are eye injuries, and one-fourth of those eye injuries result in blindness. What’s more, children account for the majority of fireworks-injury victims, and for children under 5, sparklers — which burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns — account for one-third of fireworks-related injuries.
For these reasons, the American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages you to follow these recommendations:
Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.
Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
Follow directives given by event ushers and public safety personnel.
Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police department.
If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.
If you do decide to shoot off fireworks yourself, be sure to follow all safety precautions, protect your eyes, and keep children a safe distance away. The staff at Saving Sight wishes you a safe and fun-filled Independence Day weekend!
Looking for More?
Want some additional Independence Day Safety tips? Check out our friends at the American Academy of Ophthalmology!
[pictured L-R: Pat Martchink passing the gavel to Larry Boettcher; Cassidy Obermark being honored for her board service; the board meeting at the Kansas City C office at the June meeting.]
Kansas City, Mo. (July 1, 2021) – Saving Sight is pleased to welcome four new people to its Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Welcome Council Chair Lion Bob Noellsch, Vice-Council Chair Lion Devin Struttmann, Lion Mike Sliger, and Wichita community board member Marc Vincent. PDG Lion Scott Sattler remains on the board and switched seats to represent Lions District M-1, Lion Larry Boettcher was re-elected to a second term, as well as community members Jeff Schaeperkoetter and Amy Leslie.
Board members are key to the organization’s success. They actively participate in long-range planning and monitor the organization’s financial health and overall performance. As highly visible members of their communities, the board members also enhance Saving Sight’s public standing by sharing the mission, accomplishments, and goals with Lions clubs, the general public, and other partner organizations. As Lion board members, these individuals also keep their districts informed about Saving Sight.
“We are able to change more lives by saving sight due to our board members engagement, leadership, support and oversight,” said Tony Bavuso, chief executive officer.
In addition to welcoming new members to the board, Saving Sight also expressed gratitude to three individuals who retired from the board of directors on June 1, 2021. We were honored to have PCC George Winkeler, Jr., PDG Roger Tiemann, and Lion Dr. Cassidy Obermark serve on our board and thank them for their valuable service.
At the June Board of Directors meeting, the board elected its 2021-2022 leadership team.
These board members were elected to leadership roles for the new fiscal year:
President: PCC Larry Boettcher, MD-26 M4
Vice President: Lion Pat Martchink, MD-26 M2
Treasurer: Lion Mike Oldelehr, MD-26 M7
Secretary: PDG Scott Sattler, MD-26 M1
At the June board meeting, past president Lion Pat Martchink ceremoniously passed the gavel to newly elected president PCC Larry Boettcher. Pat will serve as vice president for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to ensure a smooth leadership transition.
New technology allows Saving Sight to stay on the cutting edge as an innovative eye bank. Saving Sight recently upgraded our lab equipment to a new optical coherence tomography (OCT) microscope. It also allows us to be better stewards of the gift of sight while delivering the highest quality to our partner surgeons.
“The OCT is a big microscope that measures the thickness of the cornea, and we use it to measure our corneas before we start processing for our DSAEK or ALK processing. We also take images after processing so the surgeon can see what the processed tissue actually looks like. It gives us more insight on the quality of the tissue and if it will be suitable for the surgery type we are offering it for. We can be proactive in what we offer to the surgeons,” says Debora Van Klinken-Muntz, Lead Laboratory Technician.
“Using it as an eye bank saves us a lot of time. It also lets us be good stewards of the tissue we receive. I don’t know how we could do eye banking without an OCT machine.”
Saving Sight continues to partner with KidSight, a Missouri-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free vision screenings for children. At our June 2021 board meeting, the Saving Sight board voted to donate $35,000 to KidSight to support their work. This brings the total amount Saving Sight has donated to KidSight during the 2020-2021 fiscal year to $65,000.
As an organization with a mission to change lives by saving sight, supporting organizations like KidSight with a similar mission is vital.
The KidSight program was founded in St. Louis, Missouri in 1995 as a part of Saving Sight with a handful of volunteers screening a few hundred children a year. Today, KidSight’s program has grown to screen the vision of more than 67,000 kids throughout Missouri each year with the help of trained staff and volunteers operating across the state. Using a photoscreening device, they quickly and noninvasively screen children ages 6 months to 6 years for common causes of childhood vision loss. KidSight then refers at-risk children to eye doctors for examination, necessary treatment and follow-up to ensure kids get the care they need. KidSight has held its own 501(c)(3) status since August 2016. You can learn more or make a donation to KidSight at www.kid-sight.org.
Wichita, Kan. (June 1, 2021) – Two Kansas-based eye banks have partnered, increasing their impact to save sight in communities throughout the state and beyond. As of June 1, Saving Sight and the Kansas Eye Bank & Cornea Research Center, Inc. have integrated operations and now operate a Wichita location as Kansas Eye Bank, a division of Saving Sight.
This partnership brings together two nonprofit organizations with a rich history of serving the community, ocular transplant physicians, vision researchers, and area hospitals. The two organizations have a shared mission to restore vision to individuals needing a corneal transplant while also fulfilling the wishes of Kansans to become eye tissue donors upon passing.
“We’re excited about what this new partnership means in providing sight to even more people across Kansas, the Midwest, and beyond,” said Tony Bavuso, CEO of Saving Sight.
Saving Sight provides donated corneal tissue for transplant, restoring sight to approximately 8 individuals each day. The addition of the Kansas Eye Bank’s Wichita facility to the Saving Sight system will add new donor hospitals to its network, setting the stage to increase the number of tissues the nonprofit provides to physicians for transplantation. Additionally, the new partnership will allow Saving Sight to expand its efforts in supporting the choice of eye donors and their families to leave a legacy through eye tissue donation.
Saving Sight currently operates four other facilities apart from its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., including locations in St. Louis, Columbia, Mo., Springfield, Mo., and Springfield, Ill.
About Saving Sight
Saving Sight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to change lives by saving sight. Founded in 1960, Saving Sight has grown to become one of the nation’s leading eye banks and is focused on providing innovative solutions to its clinical partners. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Saving Sight facilitates eye donation in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, impacting the lives of those both near and far through transplantation.