Practice Transitions

The Practice Buyer that Reset–and Greatly Improved–My Exit Strategy

The outside of Dr. Krivacic’s office. The practice was sold to MyEyeDr. in 2020, a move which Dr. Krivacic says has positively impacted his life while allowing him to continue doing the work he loves.

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By Ken Krivacic, OD, MBA

Dec. 8, 2021

Every OD must eventually consider their practice exit strategy, including whether they want to continue working after they sell their practice.

Here are the details on the buyer, MyEyeDr., that convinced me to make a decision I didn’t think I would make, and, in the process, greatly improved my work life while enabling me to continue serving patients with the same high level of care.

An Offer Impressive Enough to Reset the Plan
We sold our practice in February 2020. My initial plan was to sell my portion of the practice to my younger practice partner. We had three doctors, including myself and my younger partner, who had been buying into the practice over the last 10 years, and a salaried associate who was two years out of optometry school.

My goal was to work until age 70 (I work 3.5 days a week and have had that schedule for the last 10 years) and then sell my current 50 percent ownership stake in the practice to my partner. I am currently about to turn 65 and still enjoy seeing patients.

About three years ago we were approached by several private-equity-backed groups that wanted to acquire optometric practices in Texas, where we are based. Initially I was against it. However, our office was part of a loose-knit buying group and several of the doctors I respect wanted to learn what the PE groups had to offer. After listening to several proposals and consulting with my practice partner, it was apparent that the sale prices offered by the PE groups were better than what I would have gotten selling to him. Fortunately, he came to the same conclusion.

From there we narrowed it down to MyEyeDr. due to several reasons. The company had been in the industry for over 20 years, made an impressive financial offer and seemed highly organized.

Concentrate on What You Most Enjoy About Being an OD
It took me a long time to get used to no longer being the boss and calling the shots. I had owned the practice for over 30 years and had built a large and prosperous practice. At the time of the sale, we employed 21 staff, three doctors and generated just over 3.5 million in revenue over the previous year.

However, once I had gotten used to it, I saw that there were tremendous benefits to not being boss. I do not have to devote anywhere near the time to the practice that I used to. No longer do I take my work home with me. When I’m finished seeing patients, I am finished for the day. As an owner you are never able to fully disengage from running your practice. Now I concentrate on seeing patients, and make sure their experience in our office is the best possible.

The sale has also given me financial peace of mind. I am comfortable financially now in my current earnings and the monies that are set aside for retirement. I believe I would have gotten to this place on my own, but the sale sped up the process by about seven years.

Maintain a Workplace Your Employees Will Continue to Stick With
MyEyeDr. told us that all employees who wanted to stay would be retained, and they have followed through on that promise. We lost some people due to the change in ownership and the pandemic, but no employee was terminated by MyEyeDr. In fact, through the pandemic, MyEyeDr. continued to pay the employees for a few months while we were shut down and then eventually furloughed everyone and brought them back once operations returned to normal.

Equip Your Office for Even Greater Success
The first thing MyEyeDr. did was replace all our computer workstations with new and faster units. I was impressed because the company seemed to spare no expense. We eventually changed to MyEyeDr.’s EHR system. One big advantage of this is that if a patient has been to a previous MyEyeDr. location, all their information is accessible in the system.

In addition to technology, MyEyeDr. provides the kind of resources that positions an OD to thrive in a competitive industry. This ranges from providing yearly HIPAA certification to access to continuing education online and in-person. In private practice we could and did do that, but it required much more work and was much more time consuming.

Being a numbers geek, and using those skills in the past to grow our private practice, I have been impressed with the amount of data MyEyeDr. collects and uses to track the success of each office. From the number of exam slots filled to the number of patients who leave the practice without making a purchase, MyEyeDr. tracks it all and then provides training  to improve the areas where a practice may be behind.

One of the great resources MyEyeDr. has is an online learning center. Not only can doctors get some of their continuing education there, but they can also get training and resources to learn how to better interact with patients and staff to provide a better patient experience and a better workplace experience for all.

Selling to MyEyeDr. has been positive for myself, and also my patients and staff. It was a reset of my career plan that was unexpected, but the best choice I could have made.

Ken Krivacic, OD, MBA, practices at Las Colinas Vision Center in Irving, Texas. To contact him: kkrivacic@aol.com.

 

 

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