By Mark Kuhlman, OD
April 15, 2020
When you sell your practice, you have many goals in mind. For me, those goals included keeping my practice a place where I would want to continue working. Here is how EyeCare Partners enabled me to meet all of my sale goals and how my patients, staff and practice have benefited.
I founded the practice 20 years ago and while the challenge of building and managing it was rewarding and exciting, it had grown too big for me to effectively run on my own. My options were to hire more staff, add an associate and continue to expand or sell to a private equity (PE) group. I chose the PE group and sold my practice to EyeCare Partners in April 2018.
Identify Your Key Sale Goals
My key goals were to find an effective partner who could grow my business, take over the business management and treat my employees fairly while maintaining exceptional full-scope medical eye care.
EyeCare Partners operates under Clarkson Eyecare in Ohio. Clarkson Eyecare already had an existing presence in our area with 15 offices. This enabled me to research the EyeCare Partners practice culture, interview other doctors and get a general sense of the company. Joining an existing group was pivotal to me choosing EyeCare Partners. They already had the employee and management infrastructure in place.
Finding a Buyer You Will Enjoy Working Alongside
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A key aspect of selling to a PE firm was finding a buyer I would want to work with long-term. I was not interested in immediately retiring. I was at a point where I needed to decide what I wanted the next 10 years of practice to look like.
Free Up Your Time to Focus on Doctoring & Ease Your Stress
Before the sale, I was fully entrenched in the business aspects of running the office. I was the human resource, accounting, marketing and insurance oversight department rolled into one. I had competent staff and the right people in place, but I was still the CEO who had to oversee operations. It was not uncommon to have vacations interrupted with office issues requiring immediate attention.
After the sale, I still oversee the general climate of the office, but not nearly to the extent as before. I have the support of an office manager and a corporate office, which enables me to leave the office and not worry about the next crisis. My overall relationship with staff members and patients reflects a more relaxed demeanor.
More Energy & Focus for Patients
I feel my relationship with patients has improved. I’m simply their doctor now, not the “office manager.” Billing problems and insurance issues are now resolved by management.
EyeCare Partners’ commitment to patient care is reassuring. My regional doctor-medical director encourages doctors to practice to the highest extent that they are comfortable. There is an emphasis on continuing to expand on the medical model of optometry by providing the latest technology to effectively manage glaucoma, dry eye and macular degeneration.
We have other doctors in our group to whom we can refer patients for scleral lenses and more advanced dry-eye therapies. I am also excited about the range of frames, lenses and contact lens options that are provided for my patients. By lowering the cost of goods for patients, EyeCare Partners is able to provide high-quality products at a reasonable price.
Good for Both Doctor & Staff
EyeCare Partners has been great for my employees. All of them have stayed. They now have the opportunity for more affordable health insurance, bonus incentives and HR support that is hard to provide as a small business.
An All-Around Win
I could not be happier with my decision to sell to EyeCare Partners. It has enabled me to set a course for the rest of my career that is beneficial to my employees, patients and me.
For more information, contact James Wachter, OD, Chief Professional Officer of EyeCarePartners: firstname.lastname@example.org