By Diana Gilbert, OD
May 20, 2020
Independent practices have found their financial survival threatened during the COVID-19 shutdown of routine eyecare. This has been a difficult time for my family and me, as it has been for all of us, but professionally, I feel secure. The sale of my practice in 2017 to EyeCare Partners has made the difference for me between financial distress and strength.
A Great Partner, Even Before the Crisis
Key advantages of being a part of EyeCare Partners include the ability as a doctor to focus more on patient care and less on administrative duties and having a network of experts in the areas of business, billing, credentialing and human resources to rely on.
Strength in Numbers
The difficult decisions that would have to be made as an independent OD during this crisis are frightening. There is no doubt that strength in numbers in belonging to a larger company allows for more flexibility and support, especially with difficult issues surrounding unemployment for staff and cash flow challenges.
Facilitating Continued Connection with Patients
EyeCare Partners has a call center that makes it easier to stay in touch with patients. It allows for quick and efficient messaging. Also, EyeCare Partners has developed a strategic plan involving the managers and key staff of each office to effectively rebuild patient care schedules and communicate with patients.
Lifeline of Support to ODs & Support Staff
We have been receiving regular updates from the Eyecare Partners leadership team outlining the plans that have been developed in the best interest of our doctors, staff and patients. Also, we have received helpful instructions and training in areas such as telemedicine, personal protective equipment (PPE) and human resources.
Helping Us Get Back to Our Patients
The process of re-opening is now underway. The EyeCare Partners management team is responding to the recommendations of the state governments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and preparing to equip the offices with the appropriate safety measures and PPE necessary to avoid COVID-19 spread among the staff and patients. We also have a series of training videos to prepare the doctors and staff for the re-opening.
Hours of operation have been extended in some EyeCare Partners offices, and the company is planning to offer discounts on both eyeglasses and contact lenses to help our patients through this difficult economic time.
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Being a part of EyeCare Partners helps us provide continuity of care to our patients. We have been able to show our patients that we are still there for them, even when our offices were closed for routine eyecare. Thanks to EyeCare Partners, we are primed for a strong reopening.
For more information, contact James Wachter, OD, Chief Professional Officer of EyeCarePartners: email@example.com
Diana Gilbert, OD, practices with Clarkson Eyecare, an EyeCare Partners practice with locations across Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Georgia and Florida. Dr. Gilbert also is President-Elect of the Ohio Optometric Association. To contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org