Article Date: 4/1/2002

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Dealing With Controversy
'Big impact' solutions are often met with heated debate.
FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR, Jim Thomas

I'm sure you've noticed that at times, Optometric Management covers emotionally-charged topics, such as in our December, 2001 article, "Are There Too Many O.D.s?" This month we begin a two-part series on vision plans (see page 32), another topic of heated debate in the optometric community.

We don't cover these issues for their hype value. Rather, it's our duty as the leading practice management publication to offer the solutions that will have the greatest impact on your practice. Any presentation of "big impact" solutions will naturally generate discussions and disputes.

Finding solutions

Setting aside any points of debate, the coverage of potentially controversial subjects illustrates the complexity involved in making practice management decisions. Solutions can include any number of variables. In an evaluation of vision-plan vs. private-pay patients, for example, O.D.s are likely to consider resources (equipment, staff, chair time, facilities, etc.), revenue, profitability, marketing issues and, of course, the quality of patient care.

In our vision plan feature, Gary Gerber, O.D., expresses his view of managed care by using, as examples, two practices that each gross $1 million. Jerry Hayes, O.D., offers several "true net" examples, which calculate the profitability issues involved in managed care vision plans. In addition, a sidebar (page 40) provides step-by-step instructions on how to perform a mini-audit of any vision plan.

Using these calculations, you can crunch the numbers and determine if a particular vision plan makes sound financial sense for your practice.

Mixed emotions

Even if we simplify the calculations, there's an emotional element that adds further complexity to the decision-making process. Before ever doing the math, many O.D.s have strong opinions concerning vision plans, on both the pro and the con sides of the issue.

Where we stand

In certain forums, it might be constructive to argue such opinions and take sides. If you were to ask where OM stands on the issue of vision plans, I would tell you this: We are on your side. We believe that each practice has its own set of variables and what is gospel for one practice may not necessarily hold true for another.

So rather than publish one answer, we strive to provide the tools that allow you to arrive at your own unique answer. Our commitment to your practice requires nothing less.


Optometric Management, Issue: April 2002