SEP 2022

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

Issue link: https://digital.eyeworld.org/i/1475139

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Page 86 of 90

84 | EYEWORLD | SEPTEMBER 2022 P RACTICE MANAGEMENT by Ellen Stodola Editorial Co-Director About the sources Jerome Levy, MD CEO and Chairman EyeProGPO Bronx, New York Cathleen McCabe, MD Medical Director The Eye Associates Bradenton, Florida Robert Nelson, PA-C Vice President of Business Development EyeProGPO Long Island, New York may be that you can't grow a larger ophthal- mic practice, but you can still grow in relative income terms. As described above, you might decide to increase the OD to MD ratio in your practice. Or you could narrow your patient base away from routine medical care and develop a surgical referral center rather than a comprehensive practice. Either way, your personal income per hour worked will grow, even if that growth is not MD-driven. • You may have been dreaming of a tradition- al succession event: finding a young doctor, working alongside them a few years, then riding off into the sunset. What if you can't find a successor? You are left with two basic options. First, find a nearby peer practice (even if it has been a nominal competitor) and sell your practice to them. Or second, simply wind down the practice if you can't find a new doctor or a local buyer. Interest- ingly, with falling goodwill values, you may be financially better off working on your own for your last few years and closing rather than bringing in a young doctor who canni- balizes some of the earnings you will need to retire. MDs. For some perspective, a terrific optometrist can usually be onboarded within a few months of starting your search. It might take the same practice a couple of years to find a suitable MD. At times, an optometrist may be a better fit with the needs of your expanding patient population. Here's a question we will often ask general ophthalmology clients: "What percent of your current personal monthly patient encoun- ters could be handled by an optometrist?" The average answer we get back is "About a third or more." Change your business growth and succession plans Being able to find and hire new providers is critical if you have a growing practice or are heading for retirement and need a successor. But in the years ahead, especially in non-coast- al, non-urban environments, it will become increasingly difficult and expensive to hire an ophthalmologist. Here are a couple of examples of how a surgeon's plans might change: • You may have a growing practice and strong demand for your services (as often happens in underserved, rural markets) but find it challenging to attract a colleague. The reality continued from page 83 purchasing organization at a time when man- aging costs was a critical component of nego- tiating value-based contracts with the payer community. This initial arrangement went on for several years and was financed by surgery centers paying dues. However, this model began to reach a point where some of the centers wanted to explore a better process that would bring even more benefit. This was the catalyst for creating EyeProGPO. EyeProGPO's approach, Dr. Levy said, is to collect vendor administration fees. "We decided to go in that direction and eliminate dues and membership fees. We set up a corporate mod- el where the vendors we'd had close business relationships with for years would be paying an First ophthalmology-specific GPO created E yeProGPO is a newly established, oph- thalmology-focused group purchasing organization (GPO) created to make the acquisition of ophthalmic supplies more accessible for members of the group. Led and managed by ASC executives, physi- cians, and clinicians, EyeProGPO has partnered with the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society (OOSS) to provide its services as a free member benefit. Jerome Levy, MD, and Robert Nelson, PA-C, discussed the new venture with EyeWorld and the value that such a GPO could have in ophthalmology. Dr. Levy and his executive team have previous experience in this field, having a similar organization with a clinically integrat- ed network (CIN) of nine ophthalmic surgery centers. The idea, he said, was to form a group continued on page 85

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