Head of the Class
Head of the Class
I practice at a school-based vision center.
BETH MUNZEL, O.D., CINCINNATI, OHIO
When I was in optometry school, I was passionate about pediatric optometry and vision therapy. I always hoped to one day land my dream job, a job that would allow me to mix my passion for helping children see with the flexibility I would need for family.
After much perseverance and searching, I am thrilled to say I found my dream job as the sole optometrist for the OneSight Vision Center at the Oyler School in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Center also employs an optician, technician a front desk/insurance biller and an AmeriCorp worker.
About the center
Opened in October 2012, the Center — the brainchild of an Oyler School nurse — is accessible to all Cincinnati public school students, with a special emphasis on Oyler School students.
Roughly 90% of the Oyler School students are classified at below the poverty rate. The Center committed to seeing all 800 students at this school, who range from six weeks old to 12th graders. With that goal almost completed, we have now opened our doors to other area public schools. In fact, we have school buses bring students daily.
After their exams, a majority of children are fitted for glasses at the Center’s optical. (The Center’s optician delivers finished glasses to students bused from outside schools.) Thus far, I have been surprised by the amount of hyperopic children I’ve seen. Some have corrections as high as +10. I am amazed these children were able to function in school without prescription eyewear.
As for billing, more than 70% of Cincinnati public school children are eligible for or have Medicaid or a similar insurance. If a student does not have insurance, OneSight, the charitable arm of the Luxottica Group, pays for the eyewear.
Dr. Munzel relishes working with children at the OneSight Vision Center.
Business lessons learned
For those considering starting a nonprofit vision clinic, having a number of public and private partners to work with is crucial to obtain the needed funding. The OneSight Vision Center, for example, is a public-private entity supported by several organizations, including the Cincinnati Public Schools, the Cincinnati Health Department, the Ohio Optometric Association and OneSight. (OneSight pays our first-year salaries and for all our start-up equipment.)
Although we are a nonprofit, revenue is still important: The Center’s goal is to become sustainable. Therefore, a model was created for me to see enough patients to cover salaries and all operating expenses to keep the clinic open.
Advice for others
Be patient and wait for a practice that suits your interests and lifestyle. For me, there’s no greater feeling than parents thanking me for improving their child’s vision. In changing lives one student at a time, I have truly found my dream job. OM
DO YOU HAVE A UNIQUE PRACTICE? E-MAIL JENNIFER.KIRBY@SPRINGER.COM. OM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.
Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: March 2013, page(s): 96